Grisham Pens “The Appeal”

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.

UPDATE (1/30/08):  Prawfsblawg writes up Adam Liptak’s coverage of the Tulane Professor’s article.


  • Tami Cowden

    I’m with you, Greg, when it comes to Grisham. I found The Client to be so beyond my willing suspension of disbelief that I never went back. (Until, oddly enough,Skipping Christmas, which I received for free, and liked quite a lot.)

    I confess, though, that the subject of The Appeal – judicial elections — is so near and dear to my heart, that I’ll probably pick this one up.

  • D. Todd Smith

    I read the book and and posted about it on my blog. As a lawyer, suspending disbelief is a prerequisite to enjoying Grisham novels, but they’re usually worthwhile if you take them with the appropriate grain of salt.

    As for Grisham’s “non-legal” works, I didn’t read Skipping Christmas, but I enjoyed A Painted House.

  • Don Willson

    For me the Appeal did not end right.
    As for “The Client”, the book was OK but in the movie changing the defendant from the tobacco company to the gun manufacturer really was a sellout. If you use tobacco, a legal product, the way it is designed to be used, it will kill the user and maybe others. If you use a gun, again a legal product, in the proper manner it will not kill and likely either put food on the table or protect the user from being killed.