Grisham: Master of Legal Thrillers!

by on October 3rd, 2015
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“Master of the legal thriller” aptly describes John Grisham’s novels. Grisham was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on February 8, 1955. As a young child, his family relocated to DeSoto County, Mississippi. He received his BS from Mississippi State University (1977) and his JD from the University of Mississippi School of Law (1983). Grisham also served in the Mississippi State Legislature (1983-1990). He began writing his first novel, “A Time to Kill” (1989), subsequent to observing a legal case. From that point onward, Grisham produced at least one book per year (26 total). He has homes in Oxford, MS, Charlottesville, VA, and Chapel Hill, NC.

Grisham provides vivid descriptions of both characters and settings. Characters often face ethical dilemmas requiring them to expose various types of corruption. In his compilation of short stories, “Ford County” (2010), Grisham delves into the psyche of his characters. The reader becomes emotionally involved in the lives of these everyday people as a result of his ability to convey the deepest thoughts and feelings of characters.

As a library work-study student, I began reading Grisham in1996. Starting with “A Time to Kill (1989), I voraciously read every Grisham novel in the stacks. His depiction of streets, restaurants, events, and other locations familiar to me makes him my favorite novelist.

My favorite Grisham novel is “The Last Juror” (2004), set in fictional Ford County, Mississippi. A vicious murderer, Danny Padgitt, vows to kill the jurors who convicted him to life in prison for the rape and murder of a young woman. “The Last Juror” has twists, turns, and surprises, yet still provides me with a “homey, comfortable” feeling. It is a must read!

A gracious member of The Book Club invited me to a John Grisham event (8/2009). I asked him a question regarding “The Rainmaker” (1997) which deals with insurance company corruption. In light of President Obama’s Health Care Plan proposal, I inquired as to the relevancy of the book to the discussion. His humble response indicated that he was not presumptuous enough to offer any advice about health care. What an evening to remember!

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