Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Runaway Jury by John Grisham

Author: John Grisham
ISBN # 0099410214
Publisher: Arrow
1st published: 1996
484 pages

Every jury has a leader, and the verdict belongs to him. In Biloxi, Mississippi, a landmark tobacco trial with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake begins routinely, and then swerves mysteriously off course. The jury is behaving strangely, and at least one juror is convinced he's being watched. Soon they have to be sequestered. Then a tip from an anonymous young woman suggests she is able to predict the jurors' increasingly odd behavior. Is the jury somehow being manipulated, or even controlled? If so, by whom? And, more important, why?

This is the first Grisham I’ve read & I’ll admit, I only picked it up in the first place because I rather enjoyed the movie (which starred John Cusack – I’m a big fan!). I wasn’t disappointed. The film was rather a faithful adaptation & so there weren’t too many surprises, still, this remained an interesting study in manipulation.

Grisham is masterful when it comes to building suspense & the characters in this book are particularly well drawn, giving an exciting glimpse into the lives of ordinary people & their psyches, showing how it is all too easy to sway someone simply by being personable, charming & clever. Despite the sly aspect to the lead characters, they were still portrayed sympathetically &, even though their motivation is kept under wraps till the very end, you never doubt that they have good reason to be acting in such an underhanded way & you want to see them succeed.

The villains of the piece are also written in such a way that you love to hate them, still, you can also see their point of view – in many cases, they are simply doing their job, though there are some who will perform above & beyond the call of duty. Grisham has skilfully blended all the elements to create a wonderfully believable work of fiction based firmly on something you can believe could be possible in the real world.

As an introduction to his work, The Runaway Jury can stand proud – I think I will certainly pick up more of this work, should I spy a bargain on the bookshelves.

Rating: 8/10


Blogger rohit said...

Must be an enjoyable read The Runaway Jury by John Grisham. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.

4:05 pm  

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