Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Review: The Appeal by John Grisham

The Appeal by John Grisham

Year: 2008
Genre: Legal political thriller
Pages: 368

Politics has always been a dirty game.
Now justice is, too.

In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town’s water supply, causing the worst “cancer cluster” in history. The company appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it.

Who are the nine? How will they vote? Can one be replaced before the case is ultimately decided?

The chemical company is owned by a Wall Street predator named Carl Trudeau, and Mr. Trudeau is convinced the Court is not friendly enough. With judicial elections looming, he decides to try to purchase himself a seat on the Court. The cost is a few million dollars, a drop in the bucket for a billionaire like Mr. Trudeau. Through an intricate web of conspiracy and deceit, his political operatives recruit a young, unsuspecting candidate. They finance him, manipulate him, market him, and mold him into a potential Supreme Court justice. Their Supreme Court justice.

First I thought, is this the same Grisham, where are my courtrooms, I thought about that for a while and soon enough I got sucked into this book. Not that much about lawyers but more about justice and the political game, and Grisham knows how to tell a story.

The book starts in a little town, where many now have cancer, or are sick in other ways, if not dead. A case have been built and the big chemical company is trying to prove that they sure didn't have anything to do with the fact that this town is a cancer cluster, and no place in the US even comes near the numbers. The lawyers representing a woman who lost her husband and son, wins, and the company is to pay. Here the real story starts. Carl Trudeau can burn 20 million on a painting but he does not want to pay 41 million to the woman in question. The case is to be taken to the Mississippi supreme court, and what if they could get just the right person there. A conservative, Christian, gun loving, gay hating, trial lawyer disliking, white male.

Soon enough I started to go insane, I was so upset with certain characters and I just wanted to go and yell at them, or play real dirty too. Because politics is a dirty game, and towards the end i could only read a couple of pages before I hate to stop and bite my tongue. It gets really intense, and I only grew more angry.

Justice can be bought easily, and Grisham shows what could happen with the right money. What he is saying is that the juridical system should not have anything to do with justice and he makes the point clear. He also shows how the people can be lead to think a certain way, perhaps they don't think at all that this candidate is the best. But he has the best coverage, most money, and his opponent is getting crushed in lies.

I enjoyed this book a great deal, and I am sure I could have liked it even more if it hadn't been for the end. It sure awakened a lot of emotions in me, mostly anger, but still that is what a good book should manage to do.

There is no action, but it builds up to something intense. Who will win the seat on the Supreme court and what will happen to the people in "cancer county"?

For people who like Grisham this is a book to read, his legal thrillers are always the best. For the rest, if you haven't tried a Grisham then there are many to choose from, and they are very addictive. He has a certain way of writing, something you would think is so boring comes alive with his writing.


  1. Hmm, I've never read one of his books though my brother has them all. Of course my brother is studying law so its understandable heh. But they don't trigger any interest in me.
    Great review, however.
    You're liking of books is so wide. You like a little bit of everything, huh?

  2. I have never been drawn to John Grisham at all, I just think they might not interest me, but really I should try one. I loved The Pelican Brief when it was made into a film, so maybe I would enjoy the books.

  3. Hilda,
    Your brother has great taste then :) But yes if he studies law then I get it cos these books are filled with it. All those things that are so boring, but he manages to capture me time after time...well at least when he is writing about law and such.

    Hehe thanks, it's what I am known for, a little bit of everything is just my kind of taste in books.

    I know what you mean, if someone told me to read these I would hesitate cos honestly they are so not for me. But Grisham makes them for me, other books, nope, those in the same genre I will skip. I have seen most of the movies made, and I say the books are better ;)

  4. I've read a lot of Grisham's books and have enjoyed them for the most part. I really liked your thoughts on the so-called justice system. Great review!

  5. Glad to see you had a very enjoyable read with Mr. Grisham. My dad and brother both love John Grisham's books, I usually watch the movies based on his books. *sly grin* I have to have my paranormal/scifi/fantasy twist in the books I read. :)

  6. Hey Sweetie,

    A friend of mine is asking our loop of authors to ask friends for post cards for her childs school project.

    If you can, and you find a minute, can you drop her daughter a post card from where you live? All you need to do is introduce yourself and tell "Jackie" where you are.
    Here's where to send it too.

    Trinity School for Children
    Jackie Figueredo - Ms Sara's 2nd grade class
    2402 W Osborne Ave
    Tampa Fl 33603

    If you can that would be great...but don't worry if you can't.

    Grisham sounds like the kind of writer I would like...I might have to go get his books. I love details...and he sounds like a writer who does that.

    Great review!

  7. Staci,
    Thanks, I do like when I can go on about something in a review, and this I could really have discussed. Oh how I wished I was in a book club. Most are good, but then there are some, i like when he writes his legal thrillers.

    You know me, I like a lot of books. So strange I like these books really, I started on them when I was like 12, and not really something that would capture a 12year old but I have been stuck ever since.

    of course I will send a postcard, I doubt they will get one from my town, or even Finland for that matter. I already bought one today so will post it tomorrow.

    He sure has got details, give him a try, he is certainly not for everyone but he is a great writer

  8. "The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.

  9. I can't get into his books. Maybe because I watch all those LAw and Orders shows. I get my fill of legal dramas :)
    Good review B!

  10. ML Kiner,
    Sounds like an interesting book, I will go and have a look at it.

    Jenny Girl,
    He is sure not for everyone. I can actually not get into legal shows since I find them boring, how weird isn't that?! :)

  11. Sounds like an emotional read. I've only read one Grisham book, A Painted House, but none of the courtroom stuff. I'll keep this one in mind.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  12. Anna,
    Oh the one I haven't read I think, since I like his legal stuff. Maybe I should have a look at them.
    but yes his legal stuff is just great!



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