A Time To Kill
By John Grisham
Reviewed by Dom
This is where it all began. No, it wasn’t John Grisham’s first hit, but it was his first published novel. Once his follow-up, The Firm, became not only a smash bestseller but a hit movie to boot, publishers dug up this earlier work.
And, in the twenty-three years since, Grisham has had almost two dozen international bestsellers and nine films produced from his writing. Today there are more than 200 million copies of his work in print.
A Time To Kill was written during Grisham’s down time. He was an attorney in Mississippi, and one day he overheard the story of a 12-year-old girl who’d been raped. He’d always carried around a love of writing, so he began crafting a novel based on this true-life tale.
In his debut novel, Carl Lee Hailey guns down two white men who raped Carl’s young daughter. Because Carl is black, emotions and bigotry begin to turn the town into a battleground. Sides are drawn, and while some people defend Carl for his vengeful act, others - including the Klan - are out for blood.
Grisham does a masterful job of painting a town divided, with characters that ooze realism and grit. Defense attorney Jake Brigance has his own demons to deal with, and being at the center of the county’s most dramatic case takes a toll.
If you’re looking for an entertaining summer read, this fast-moving legal thriller is the one. It’s always fun to go back and rediscover the book that started a great writing career, and even Grisham himself gives a nod to A Time To Kill as one of his all-time favorites.
Pick it up for 20% off at any of the three Tattered Cover Book Store locations
in the Denver metro area. Just ask for The Dom and Jane Book Club selection.