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June 2023

The AppealGrisham returns to his roots with a classic courtoom/legal drama.  At stake this time is a 40 million plus verdict, handed down by a jury against a negligent chemical company, which is of course appealed to the state supreme court.   Lawyers, politicians, businesspeople and ordinary citizens are pitted against each other, all trying to win for their side.

Although I enjoyed the book on the surface (who doesn’t like a classic good guys vs. bad guys story?), Grisham seemed to be “preaching” in this book much more so than I remember him doing in his previous novels.  (Maybe I’m wrong–it’s been awhile since I’ve read his earlier books).  An example:  At one point, a conservative group is questioning a potential candidate.  The conversation goes like this:

Abortion?  Opposed.  All abortions?  Opposed.

Death penalty? Very much in favor.

No one seemed to grasp the contradiction between the two.

There are many other not-so-subtle digs in the book against conservatives in general, and big business in particular.  In contrast, of trial lawyers, Grisham says, “No one fought as hard for the little guy.”  Grisham’s point in writing the book was to illustrate the influence that private money has when it is allowed in judicial elections.  He could have made this point just as effectively without tarring all businessmen as corrupt, and all conservative Christian groups as blindly supporting anyone who claims to be pro-life.

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