Book Review: The Appeal

AppealAuthor: John Grisham

Publisher: Doubleday, 2008

Genre: Legal Thriller

My Rating: A

I set a goal for myself for 2013. I promised myself I would try to write my own summary of every book I review this year. When it came to this book, The Appeal, I really did try. The plot is very complicated and, in my summary, I failed to make it coherent and concise. So, here’s the story’s description via the publisher:

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.

The chemical company is owned by a Wall Street predator named Carl Trudeau, and Mr. Trudeau is convinced the Court is not friendly enough to his interests. 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.

There are many things I always enjoy in a John Grisham’s legal thrillers:

  • I always learn something new about the law and the variety of ways it affects ordinary people.
  • The legal system is as flawed as the people who create it, often by people with power and for their own self-interest.
  • All the characters involved are usually not all bad nor all good. In The Appeal, however, there was one really Evil guy. (Yes, evil with a capital E.)
  • Politics are usually intricate to the story, but seldom comes off honest.
  • The good guys don’t always win. Many people don’t experience justice or happily-ever-after.
  • There are numerous sides to every legal problem. John Grisham will introduce the reader to every side.

The Appeal is one of John Grisham’s best stories. He’s written twenty-five novels now, and this one has joined my list of Grisham Favorites. Other favorites are The Firm, Pelican Brief, Runaway Jury, The Brethren, and A Time to Kill. If you are a John Grisham or a legal thriller fan, give The Appeal a try. Don’t expect a happy ending. A happy ending wouldn’t have fit. This way the reader (me) closes the last page knowing that this is how things often work. It’s maddening and frustrating.

I just picked up The Racketeer, Grisham’s latest. I can’t wait to get going on it. I think the adrenaline in legal thrillers is addictive. How about you – are you addicted to legal thrillers? Have you read this one?

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7 Responses to Book Review: The Appeal

  1. Sounds like one I’d enjoy — especially on audio. Glad u liked it Margot.

  2. JoAnn says:

    I’ve given up writing my own summaries, so I admire you for trying. It’s been many years since I last read Grisham, but this sounds like a good one.

  3. I didn’t realize Grisham has written so many novels. His old ones are the best!

  4. Barbara says:

    I like a Grisham occasionally but I haven’t read this one yet. Must see if our library has it. Legal thrillers are among my favorite reads because I love following what happens in the real justice system – except for Jodi Arias. I’m so sick of that trial.

  5. At one time I read lots of Grisham’s books. I actually have this book and it’s sat on my shelves unread for about 4 years!!! I must read it soon – I can’t think why I’ve not read it, just too many books to read, I suppose.

    I know what you mean about writing summaries – sometimes it’s just too much.

  6. Staci says:

    I haven’t read this one but if you gave it an A, I think I should look it up!! I find trying to write my own summaries are just way too hard!! 🙂

  7. kelley says:

    Oh, I do like John Grisham. I’ll have to bookmark this one. Nice Review.

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