Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Last Juror review

Some may say that John Grisham has departed from his old court tales when he came out with titles such as Skipping Christmas, Painted house and Bleachers. True it gave a breather in between heated court battles, screwball lawyers and brutal killings but his style and passion was always for the courtroom. The Last Juror details the chronicles of a Willie Traynor who decided to purchase the local county papers of a small town in Clanton. Things were tough at first but his first break came with the murder of Rhonda Kassellaw and soon the quiet town was abuzz with the impending trial of murder for Danny Padgitt who hails from a powerful family of sleazy reputation. Thus you journey through the life of Willie as he explores the small town life of rural America and Grisham lays his old fashion writings on the Mississippi Delta, the slavery days of blacks and whites where segregation was a way of life and as usual he cannot avoid the courtroom battles, this time focusing on the loop holed parole system of the past.

Readers of his other novels would note that this story is not about the court but more on Willie and more importantly his relationship with the Callie Ruffin and her family and they developed together. Also a change from his fast paced of A time to kill, he breezes through the Last Juror at a leisurely pace, leaving very slow reads and occurrences as years pass by in his novel. Impatient readers might want to give it a skip and if you’re not comfortable with the writing style he employs in A Painted House, this might not be the book for you. But the character development, though slow is a good one, we see how Willie and his paper matures, how life in the Bible belt of America is and how small town America has changed with the development of sprawls and most heartfelt is how a small town black family manages to shine even with all odds against them. Maybe Grisham is putting too many elements in this book, opening too many angles and issues for the reader to address but I still enjoyed it. (Possible spoiler) It may be a bit predictable for the ending and even a bit of an anti-climax, you would most probably be able to guess what will happen in the end about three quarter of the way through.

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