Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I can’t stomach most of the John Grisham I’ve read. Maybe it’s because The Firm was the first book of his that I read, and I found it (and the movie) excellent, that the others I tried seemed so bad. I thought A Time to Kill was horribly written, The Pelican Brief was inane, and I lost interest in The Client around ten or twenty pages in. After that, I gave up on Grisham, so I’ll concede there’s a possibility I’ve missed some good novels since then.
But the title of his latest novel caught my eye. The premise of The Appeal, based on my reading of Random House’s web page for the book, is that the owner of a chemical company appealing from a huge verdict against it in a “cancer cluster” case decides to finance its own candidate for election to the Mississippi Supreme Court. As publisher Random House describes:
Through an intricate web of conspiracy and deceit, [the chemical company owner’s] 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.
Thanks to How Appealing, who also provides a link to a review of the book.
UPDATE (1/29/08): Here’s a post at WSJ.com Law Blog discussing real life corruption and the intersection of judicial campaign contributions and judicial decision-making: Tulane Law Prof Examines Whether Justices are for Sale.