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Librarian's Note: Alternate-cover edition for ISBN: "https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4..." 0385338600 / 9780385338608 Before "The Firm" and "The Pelican Brief" made him a superstar, John Grisham wrote this riveting story of retribution and justice. In this searing courtroom drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the savage depths of racial violence, as he delive Librarian's Note: Alternate-cover edition for ISBN: "https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4..." 0385338600 / 9780385338608 Before "The Firm" and "The Pelican Brief" made him a superstar, John Grisham wrote this riveting story of retribution and justice. In this searing courtroom drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the savage depths of racial violence, as he delivers a compelling tale of uncertain justice in a small southern town, Clanton, Mississippi. The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. That is, until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes matters into his hands. For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client's life, and then his own.


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Librarian's Note: Alternate-cover edition for ISBN: "https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4..." 0385338600 / 9780385338608 Before "The Firm" and "The Pelican Brief" made him a superstar, John Grisham wrote this riveting story of retribution and justice. In this searing courtroom drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the savage depths of racial violence, as he delive Librarian's Note: Alternate-cover edition for ISBN: "https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4..." 0385338600 / 9780385338608 Before "The Firm" and "The Pelican Brief" made him a superstar, John Grisham wrote this riveting story of retribution and justice. In this searing courtroom drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the savage depths of racial violence, as he delivers a compelling tale of uncertain justice in a small southern town, Clanton, Mississippi. The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. That is, until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes matters into his hands. For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client's life, and then his own.

30 review for A Time to Kill

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Considered Grisham's best novel by many readers far more perspicacious than moi, this well-written, emotionally-charged thriller certainly delivers. While it doesn't rank as my eye's own personal apple, I can certainly see why it is esteemed by fans of both the legal-thriller and Grisham. Despite being fast-paced and a true page-turner (what I would call a popcorn-read), there's a gravity and social conscience that pervades the story and adds a weight to the narrative. There is depth here, more Considered Grisham's best novel by many readers far more perspicacious than moi, this well-written, emotionally-charged thriller certainly delivers. While it doesn't rank as my eye's own personal apple, I can certainly see why it is esteemed by fans of both the legal-thriller and Grisham. Despite being fast-paced and a true page-turner (what I would call a popcorn-read), there's a gravity and social conscience that pervades the story and adds a weight to the narrative. There is depth here, more than I expected. Setting aside for the moment my gripes over some of the language used in the book (one vulgarity in particular), Grisham does a nice job of capturing the setting and providing an authentic feel and voice to his characters. Overall, a satisfying read that held my attention throughout. PLOT SUMMARY: Despite its brisky pace, Grisham’s Mississippi-based legal thriller deals with some tough, serious issues (e.g., race-relations, vigilantism and “justice versus lawful”). The plot centers on the trial of a poor black father who murders the two white shit stains who raped, tortured and brutalized his 10 year-old daughter. The crime and the subsequent trial triggers a firestorm of racial tension as factions on both sides become vocal and volatile. From the opening pages that describe the brutal rape (which was gut-wrenching in the extreme to experience, especially as a dad) through the final reading of the verdict, Grisham drives the narrative effortlessly and keeps the reader hooked and engaged. His story-telling is excellent. THOUGHTS: However... ...now that I have both seen the movie version and read the book, my final verdict is that the film is both more enjoyable and the higher quality product of the two. I say this despite the fact that the movie is arguably the “sweatiest” most lathery film in American history and my wife and I crack up about that every time we see it. Those pictures don’t do credit to the muggy, perspiration-overload of the real thing, but if you haven’t seen it, trust me…the movie dripped sudor from every pore like a hooker in church. Words like sheen and glistening are too understated. It was more like the actors showered, got dressed without drying off, walked through a “mister” and then wiped down with a moist towelette before every...single...scene. Now, not everyone was complaining about the drenchiness since it was Matthew McConaughey, Sam “it’s the one that says Bad MF” Jackson, Ashley Judd and Sandra Bullock doing the sweating, but still...hilarious and a bit distracting. BOOK GRIPES: Keep in mind that I liked the book, so my gripes below really point towards why I didn't rate the book higher than 3 stars. 1. Too much fluff: When you can take a 528 page book and condense it into a 2+ hour movie that captures perfectly the essence of the story and manages to be even more emotionally powerful, it indicates that the novel was a little thin in the story department. This is the case here. While the expanded story and segues are interesting, the central plot contained too much unnecessariness that could’ve been easily discarded without touching the heart of the story...as the filmmakers did. 2. Excessive use of "N" word: Given that the novel is set in 1984, I had a real problem with the significant use of the “N” word* in the story. *(No, South Park fans, I am not referring to “nagger.”). Had this been set in the 50’s or 60’s, I would have seen it as a product of the times and swallowed my uncomfortableness. However, it just seems odd that as late as 1984, the word (and the frame of mind that goes with it) would be used so casually and regularly. Given that Grisham is from the South and went to school in Mississippi, he may be spot on with his characterization, and he probably is. If true, this is just very, very sad. Still, its constant use grated on me and I thought the movie did a much better job with the dialogue. This is coming from someone who does not normally favor filtering words through the PC processor. 3. The Main Character: Jake Brigance is not nearly as likeable in the book as he in the movie and I found it hard to engage with him. Now I think we can all agree that Matt McConaughey is not exactly a high level thespian. However, he did bring the right tone to this role and I found myself comparing the novel’s version unfavorably. 4. The Ending: Again, I liked the movie version so, so, so much better. While the main outcome is the same, I really liked the way the movie handled the climactic closing argument and was disappointed in the novels path to the verdict. I also really enjoyed the last scene in the movie where Jake and his family go to a barbeque at Carl Lee’s house where their two daughters can play. I thought it was perfect. Okay, so enough griping. I thought the book was good. I thought the movie was very good. If you've seen the movie, I don't think you are missing much by skipping the book. However, if you haven't seen the film, I would recommend reading the book first and then watching the adaptation. I think you will enjoy both. 3.0 stars. Recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    A Time to Kill (Jake Brigance, #1), John Grisham A Time to Kill is a 1988 legal thriller by John Grisham. It was Grisham's first novel. In the small town of Clanton, in fictional Ford County, Mississippi, a ten-year-old African-American girl named Tonya Hailey is viciously raped and beaten by two white supremacists, James "Pete" Willard and Billy Ray Cobb. Tonya is later found and rushed to the hospital while Pete and Billy Ray are heard bragging at a roadside bar about their crime. Tonya's distr A Time to Kill (Jake Brigance, #1), John Grisham A Time to Kill is a 1988 legal thriller by John Grisham. It was Grisham's first novel. In the small town of Clanton, in fictional Ford County, Mississippi, a ten-year-old African-American girl named Tonya Hailey is viciously raped and beaten by two white supremacists, James "Pete" Willard and Billy Ray Cobb. Tonya is later found and rushed to the hospital while Pete and Billy Ray are heard bragging at a roadside bar about their crime. Tonya's distraught and outraged father, Carl Lee Hailey, consults his friend Jake Brigance, a white attorney who had previously represented Hailey's brother, on whether he could get himself acquitted if he killed the two men. Jake tells Carl Lee not to do anything stupid, but admits that if it had been his daughter, he would kill the rapists. Carl Lee is determined to avenge Tonya and, while Pete and Billy Ray are being led into holding after their bond hearing, he kills both men with an M16 rifle. Carl Lee is charged with capital murder. Despite efforts to persuade Carl Lee to retain high-powered attorneys, he elects to be represented by Jake. Helping Jake are two loyal friends, disbarred attorney Lucien Wilbanks and sleazy divorce lawyer Harry Rex Vonner. Later, the team is assisted by liberal law student Ellen Roark, who has prior experience with death penalty cases and offers her services as a temporary clerk pro bono. Ellen appears to be interested in Jake romantically, but the married Jake resists her overtures. The team also receives some illicit behind-the-scenes help from black county sheriff Ozzie Walls, a figure beloved by the black community and also well respected by the white community who upholds the law by arresting Carl Lee but, as the father of two daughters of his own, privately supports Carl Lee and gives him special treatment while in jail and goes out of the way to assist Jake in any way he legally can. Carl Lee is prosecuted by Ford County's corrupt district attorney, Rufus Buckley, who hopes that the case will boost his political career. It is claimed that the judge presiding over Carl Lee's trial, Omar "Ichabod" Noose, has been intimidated by local white supremacist elements. This proves true when, despite having no history of racist inclinations in his rulings, Noose refuses Jake's perfectly reasonable request for a change of venue, even though the racial make-up of Ford County virtually guarantees an all-white jury. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه اکتبر سال 2001میلادی عنوان: زمانی برای کشتن؛ نویسنده: جان گریشام؛ مترجم هادی عادلپور؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، کوشش، 1378، در 526ص؛ شابک 9646636145؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - سده 20م عنوان: زمانی برای کشتن؛ نویسنده جان گریشام؛ مترجم جواد سید اشرف؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، زرین، 1378، در 640ص؛ شابک 9644070178؛ داستان وکیل جوانی به نام «جیک بریگانس» است، که دفاع از یک متهم سیاهپوست، در برابر هیئت منصفه ای سفیدپوست را، بر دوش میگیرد، جریان بسیار پیچیده، اما جذاب و شیرین پیش میرود؛ البته از نظر کسی که به سیستم قضایی آمریکا علاقه هم داشته باشد؛ «زمانی برای کشتن»، نخستین کتاب «جان گریشام»، و گویا نزدیکترین اثر، به شخصیت ایشان باشد؛ «تونیا»، دختر دهساله ی «کارلی هیلی»، کارگر سیاهپوست شهر «فورت کانتی»، برای خرید از خانه خارج می‌شود، ولی دیگر باز نمی‌گردد؛ پس از جستجو، تنها سبد خرید دخترک پیدا می‌شود، و اثری از او نیست، تا اینکه «کارل هیلی»، از «اوزی والز»، کلانتر شهر، یاری می‌خواهد؛ کلانتر نیروهای خود را برای یافتن دخترک به کار می‌گیرد، ولی موفق نمی‌شوند او را بیابند؛ ماهیگیران دخترک را در حالیکه دست و پایش طناب پیچ شده و به شدت مورد آزار و اذیت قرار گرفته، پیدا می‌کنند؛ «تونیا»ی مجروح از دو جوان سفیدپوست و وانتی زردرنگ حرف میزند و...؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 24/10/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    This 1988 first Grisham novel is outstanding. 10 of 10 stars!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Original Mid-90s Star Only Review – 5 Stars Re-Read in 2020 Review – 4 Stars You will notice a drop in the stars above, but you can take that with a grain of salt. It is still a great book that will pull you in and not let go. If you are familiar with Grisham’s work, this is where it all began, and I think some consider it mainly downhill from here. Not necessarily a big downhill – but it sure does seem in some aspects like he was at the top of his game for his first few novels. He mentioned in hi Original Mid-90s Star Only Review – 5 Stars Re-Read in 2020 Review – 4 Stars You will notice a drop in the stars above, but you can take that with a grain of salt. It is still a great book that will pull you in and not let go. If you are familiar with Grisham’s work, this is where it all began, and I think some consider it mainly downhill from here. Not necessarily a big downhill – but it sure does seem in some aspects like he was at the top of his game for his first few novels. He mentioned in his forward that this one almost did not get published, but the success of The Firm helped generate interest, and I am very glad it did. This is not an easy book to read, but fiction based on hard truths never is. There is very graphic and shocking sexual assault and racism. So, while they add to a powerful story, some may find it difficult to read. Knowing this, be sure to proceed with caution! The reason for the slight downturn in stars for me is that it just didn’t feel as smooth to me as I remembered. Maybe I was looking at an old favorite through rose-colored glassed before I re-read. The thought that kept going through my head, especially after reading the forward and seeing that it almost didn’t get published, is that it felt like it was a bit rough with a lot of coincidences, drawn out scenes followed by rushed scenes, etc. Nothing that was severe enough t ruin the experience, but enough that it was noticeable to me. If you are a Grisham fan, it is likely that you already read this. If you are a Grisham fan and you haven’t read this, I am actually not really sure you can call yourself a Grisham fan! So, you should remedy that right away!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Fabian {Councillor}

    "A Time to Kill" is a riveting story of retribution and justice ... so does the title imply. Replace riveting by frustrating and you know what I felt while reading this doorstopper of a book. On more than 500 pages, John Grisham delves deep into the schemes and entanglements of a trial in the Southern USA. The premise was so interesting that it was impossible not to pick this book up: A ten-year-old girl is raped by two drunken men, and her father takes the law into his own hands by killing the r "A Time to Kill" is a riveting story of retribution and justice ... so does the title imply. Replace riveting by frustrating and you know what I felt while reading this doorstopper of a book. On more than 500 pages, John Grisham delves deep into the schemes and entanglements of a trial in the Southern USA. The premise was so interesting that it was impossible not to pick this book up: A ten-year-old girl is raped by two drunken men, and her father takes the law into his own hands by killing the rapists of his daughter. The major problem in this case: The girl and her father are black, and the two rapists are white. If there is one thing Grisham manages to implement perfectly in his story, then it is the exploration of arguments about why the father should be sentenced to death or declared innocent as a result of the circumstances. The reader always bears in his mind how the jury would be reacting in case the roles were reversed - if two black men had raped a white girl of ten years -, but the fact that acquitting the father of his crime would encourage many other people to commit self-administered justice too also needs to be taken into account. Might this premise deliver storytelling material for so many pages? Yes, it might. Only ... it didn't. Shortly after Gary Su Jake Brigance assumed his duty of defending his client, the novel drifted away into long-winded, boring and insignificant rambling. Many people claim this story to be very realistic for how the situation for black people in Mississippi during the 1980's was like. I have never lived there, so I have no idea how real it really was, but the way Jake Brigance acted and behaved definitely did not feel realistic to me. Because who doesn't get royally dunk three days before an important trial? Never before have I been that frustrated by a protagonist who behaved like an asshole towards his wife and just about everyone else he encountered, but was still portrayed like the absolute hero. Throw an incapable prosecutor into the game to make Brigance's light shine even brighter, and you have the perfect Grisham version of Fleming's James Bond. And let's not even address the lack of emotions during the entire novel. You might think that a ten-year-old girl being raped by two drunken men will leave you feeling sorry for her and her family, on the edge of shedding tears? I have to disappoint you, because Grisham's writing deprives every single emotion from every potentially touching scene. You never know how a character feels inside his soul, because Grisham only tells, only allows his reader to guess what his characters might feel at this very moment. 1.5 stars, rounded up due to the interesting premise and the very relevant topic down due to me reconsidering the relevance of the rating system Goodreads suggests (1 star equaling "didn't like it"). Also, just to clarify things a bit: I didn't dislike the story; the plot was extremely interesting to me and had so much potential, must of which was explored vividly in a very tight and well-structured novel. I also really liked the film adaptation; it may not be a masterpiece, but it's a very well-adapted movie. My main source of frustration is the writing, so in the end I guess I just can't get into John Grisham's writing style, even though I would appreciate the contents of his novels.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    2.5 stars. One of my least favorites of Grisham's books, and that's saying something. Actually I kind of liked The Pelican Brief and one or two of his others, but mostly they strike me as mediocre writing combined, more often than not, with pulpit-pounding and breast-beating about some particular legal issue. In this case the setting is a murder trial for a African-American man who gunned down his 10 year old daughter's rapists, who are stereotypical Southern white trash racists who tried to mur 2.5 stars. One of my least favorites of Grisham's books, and that's saying something. Actually I kind of liked The Pelican Brief and one or two of his others, but mostly they strike me as mediocre writing combined, more often than not, with pulpit-pounding and breast-beating about some particular legal issue. In this case the setting is a murder trial for a African-American man who gunned down his 10 year old daughter's rapists, who are stereotypical Southern white trash racists who tried to murder this little girl and left her for dead. The legal question is whether jury nullification is sometimes justified, since the father's defense lawyer, Jake Brigance - having no other legal options - is trying to convince the jury to find the father not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. Grisham, as par for the course, loads the dice on that issue. (Biggest clue: the KKK getting involved.) I've only read as many of Grisham's books as I have because my father-in-law (another voracious reader) thought that because I was a lawyer I would automatically like Grisham's books, so I regularly received them from him as birthday and Christmas presents. I never had the heart to tell him I'd prefer another author. My FIL is gone now, may he rest in peace, so no more Grisham for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    This is my first John Grisham book, I am embarrassed to admit. I felt like I was in Clanton, Mississippi reliving this gruesome murder. His writing and knowledge on the law system is pretty amazing to read. Makes you realize all the politics and behind the door negotiations going on. This is a story of two pothead white trash drug dealers that rape a 10-year-old black girl. They urinate on her, tie her legs and hands to a fence and tree, beat her, pour beer on her while she is calling for her da This is my first John Grisham book, I am embarrassed to admit. I felt like I was in Clanton, Mississippi reliving this gruesome murder. His writing and knowledge on the law system is pretty amazing to read. Makes you realize all the politics and behind the door negotiations going on. This is a story of two pothead white trash drug dealers that rape a 10-year-old black girl. They urinate on her, tie her legs and hands to a fence and tree, beat her, pour beer on her while she is calling for her daddy to save her. This is not a spoiler. Now what happens when black daddy is pissed at the system and takes these two white guys into his own hands? Will the color of his skin get him convicted in KKK town or will the jury understand that he was a loving angry father? (I personally rooted for Carl Lee. Sometimes our system just fails us and we want to be the vigilante except Carl Lee actually had the balls to do it) "At eleven-fifteen it rang again, and Jake received his first death threat, anonymous of course. He was called a nigger-loving son of a bitch, one who would not live if the nigger walked." (pg. 85)

  8. 4 out of 5

    W

    This was John Grisham' s very first book.He dreamed of getting it published,and went through innumerable rejections.It was largely ignored,when it was first published.Grisham was inspired by an actual court room case to write it. It is about rape,retribution and racial violence,in the American South.A young black girl is raped,and her outraged father takes justice into his own hands.A young defence attorney tries to save his life,only to find himself in danger.And then comes all that racial viole This was John Grisham' s very first book.He dreamed of getting it published,and went through innumerable rejections.It was largely ignored,when it was first published.Grisham was inspired by an actual court room case to write it. It is about rape,retribution and racial violence,in the American South.A young black girl is raped,and her outraged father takes justice into his own hands.A young defence attorney tries to save his life,only to find himself in danger.And then comes all that racial violence,which resembles what has been happening recently in the US. It is a first book,and it rambles. At over 500 pages,it is too lengthy.This story could have been told so much better in half the number of pages,or even less.

  9. 5 out of 5

    James Thane

    I confess that when one of my book clubs made this our monthly selection, I approached it with more than a little trepidation. I knew that this was Grisham's first book and that when it was first published as a hardcover, he could hardly give it away. Sales were so poor that there was initially no paperback release. Only after the success of The Firm and other of Grisham's books was this one finally resurrected and released in paperback. Like most of Grisham's other readers, I jumped aboard the t I confess that when one of my book clubs made this our monthly selection, I approached it with more than a little trepidation. I knew that this was Grisham's first book and that when it was first published as a hardcover, he could hardly give it away. Sales were so poor that there was initially no paperback release. Only after the success of The Firm and other of Grisham's books was this one finally resurrected and released in paperback. Like most of Grisham's other readers, I jumped aboard the train with The Firm and never looked back. Though I've enjoyed most of his later books, I simply took it for granted that this first effort was probably his "practice" novel, that it was not very good, and hence the poor sales. I further assumed that his publisher, anxious to milk the Grisham brand for all it was worth, only finally published A Time to Kill in paper simply to cash in. Accordingly, I've avoided it all these years until I was finally forced to read it. I'm very happy that I was. The book turned out to be a gripping story with better-defined characters and a much more interesting setting than many of Grisham's later books. In fact, it may be one of his best. The tiny town of Clanton, Mississippi, is shocked when two drunk and drug-addled thugs viciously assault a ten-year-old girl, failing to kill her only because they could not find a bridge from which to throw the child. The two are quickly arrested and charged with various crimes related to the attack, when the girl's father, a decorated Vietnam vet, takes the law into his own hands and kills the men who so gruesomely violated his daughter. The father hires a young, up-and-coming lawyer named Jake Brigance to represent him. But this is Mississippi and the case is complicated by the fact that the victim and her father are black while the two dead thugs were white. The population of the town is evenly divided between blacks and whites and, while most people irrespective of race, condemn the actions of the two thugs, they are divided, mostly along racial lines, over the issue of whether the father should be convicted of premeditated murder or be given a medal for ridding the town of the two scumbags. Grisham plays fair with both sides, and it's clear that he knows very well the setting, the people and the dynamics of the situation. There are a number of great characters in this novel and very few of them are pure of heart. These are much more complex characters than those usually served up in books like this, and the story grabs you from the start. It also raises a lot of thought-provoking questions. It's a great read, and I'm only sorry that it took me so long to get to it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brina

    Read when it first came out. I really ought to reread this prior to reading Sycamore Row. I remember being captivated with the story of Jake Brigance but I details are sketchy at best at this time. Seems like a summer reread is on the horizon.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    A courtroom thriller published 1989 This is John Grisham’s first novel but not his first published. The setting is in Mississippi where, even in 1989, the divide between the white and the black communities was still very obvious. And guess what, here we are 41 years later and what’s changed, not much it would seem. A little ten year old black girl is brutally raped and beaten. She is found and taken to the hospital where the doctors put her back together physically but her emotional condition is no A courtroom thriller published 1989 This is John Grisham’s first novel but not his first published. The setting is in Mississippi where, even in 1989, the divide between the white and the black communities was still very obvious. And guess what, here we are 41 years later and what’s changed, not much it would seem. A little ten year old black girl is brutally raped and beaten. She is found and taken to the hospital where the doctors put her back together physically but her emotional condition is not so easily fixed. When the doctors tell the family that she will heal but she will never be able to have children of her own her daddy swears he will make the monsters that did this pay and pay dearly. Two men, both white, are soon caught and charged with the crime. But this is a predominantly white town and the chances that they will get what they deserve is remote. To make sure that justice is truly served Carl Lee, the father, decides to take the law into his own hands and shoot the accused men. This he does and by the time he was finished they were both well and truly dead. Carl Lee is of course charged with murder on two accounts. Enter Jack Brigance, a young white lawyer and the man charged with getting Carl Lee acquitted of the charge of murder. What follows is courtroom thriller with racially fuelled violence from both sides of the racial divide. I enjoyed this book although I found it to be overly long and suffered from a bit too much irrelevant information. But over all an entertaining read. A 4 stars recommendation

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andre Gonzalez

    This book totally rocked my world! I had asked for a legal thriller as a recommendation and I'm glad to have this one suggested! The racial tension in this story felt as real as it did in To Kill A Mockingbird. I felt I was right there in Clanton, Mississippi trying to dodge the KKK and marching with everyone else. This is my first Grisham novel, and I'll definitely be exploring more! This book totally rocked my world! I had asked for a legal thriller as a recommendation and I'm glad to have this one suggested! The racial tension in this story felt as real as it did in To Kill A Mockingbird. I felt I was right there in Clanton, Mississippi trying to dodge the KKK and marching with everyone else. This is my first Grisham novel, and I'll definitely be exploring more!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Fred Shaw

    In my humble opinion, this is Grisham's finest work. Not only are his characters stirring and unforgettable but the story is powerful. In my humble opinion, this is Grisham's finest work. Not only are his characters stirring and unforgettable but the story is powerful.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tara Rock

    I first read this sensational novel over 30 years ago; a banned book in some southern states at the time. Since Mr. Grisham published, in October of 2020, the third novel depicting our street lawyer Jake Brigance I decided to start from #1. It is a gripping, captivating story embedded with violence and a large dose of humour and compassion.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    This was the very first Grisham book I read - loved it! Brought back memories of To Kill a Mockingbird. I read this author's next few books, but after a while, his books stopped appealing to me. This one had me glued to each page, swept away by the gripping action and the hero's determination to defend his client come what may - and boy, did he and his family pay a big price for his unwillingness to back away from his client. Hats off to him! A truly heroic lawyer in the image of Atticus Finch. This was the very first Grisham book I read - loved it! Brought back memories of To Kill a Mockingbird. I read this author's next few books, but after a while, his books stopped appealing to me. This one had me glued to each page, swept away by the gripping action and the hero's determination to defend his client come what may - and boy, did he and his family pay a big price for his unwillingness to back away from his client. Hats off to him! A truly heroic lawyer in the image of Atticus Finch.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    This one was really good. Hard to believe it was John Grisham first novel. This is a legal thriller and much more. The story took place in Mississippi. Two rednecks rape a ten year old black girl. Her father shot them dead in front of the courthouse and Jake Brigance is the criminal defense attorney who represented him. I read Sycamore Row a while back but didn't know it was second in the series. The third book, A Time for Mercy will be released on Oct 13th, 2020. I really like this book although This one was really good. Hard to believe it was John Grisham first novel. This is a legal thriller and much more. The story took place in Mississippi. Two rednecks rape a ten year old black girl. Her father shot them dead in front of the courthouse and Jake Brigance is the criminal defense attorney who represented him. I read Sycamore Row a while back but didn't know it was second in the series. The third book, A Time for Mercy will be released on Oct 13th, 2020. I really like this book although it drags a little at times. Audio was great despite the info said Michael Beck is the narrator I think it was Grover Gardner (The Stand - Stephen King, Andy Carpenter series).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

    A satisfying legal thriller. Grisham gives the reader much to ponder in this story of a black man who kills two men who raped and brutally beat his 10 year-old daughter. It's hard not to root for the father. It also makes one wonder if the story would have worked as well had it been his wife or sister who had been raped instead (probably not), which in and of itself is worth thinking about. It certainly makes one wonder if and when murder is ever justifiable, and exactly how we draw those lines i A satisfying legal thriller. Grisham gives the reader much to ponder in this story of a black man who kills two men who raped and brutally beat his 10 year-old daughter. It's hard not to root for the father. It also makes one wonder if the story would have worked as well had it been his wife or sister who had been raped instead (probably not), which in and of itself is worth thinking about. It certainly makes one wonder if and when murder is ever justifiable, and exactly how we draw those lines in the sand as individuals and as a society. That said, there were times the characters felt one dimensional. Lots of stereotypes. Occasionally, the story and the characters bordered on satire. Toward the end I grew weary of the tongue-and-cheek dialogue between characters. I also felt Grisham offers a very cynical view of lawyers and the legal process, which at times adds to the story and at other times takes away from it. Overall, an incredibly well-written story, with relevant and important themes.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Terence M

    Audiobook - 12:21 hours - Narrator: Robert Petkoff 3.0 out of 5.0 stars - "I Liked It" (Second "reading") My GR friend Tim read this a few weeks ago and awarded it a very rare, for him, 10 out of 10 stars. Because of this, I decided to read listen to it for a second time. I first read "A Time to Kill" as a paperback in the early 1990's, following John Grisham's huge success with "The Firm", "The Pelican Brief", and those that followed annually in his first decade as a top-line author. As I tuned in Audiobook - 12:21 hours - Narrator: Robert Petkoff 3.0 out of 5.0 stars - "I Liked It" (Second "reading") My GR friend Tim read this a few weeks ago and awarded it a very rare, for him, 10 out of 10 stars. Because of this, I decided to read listen to it for a second time. I first read "A Time to Kill" as a paperback in the early 1990's, following John Grisham's huge success with "The Firm", "The Pelican Brief", and those that followed annually in his first decade as a top-line author. As I tuned into this audiobook, I realised how little I remembered about Jack Brigance and the rather motley crew he surrounded himself with in Mississippi as he mounted a defence for black Carl-Lee Harley's killing of two white men who had raped, beaten and left his ten-years old daughter to die. I am not surprised that I "liked" (3-stars) rather than "really liked" (4-stars) "A Time to Kill" because there wasn't much to "really like". Jack Brigance was hardly a likeable character and there was plenty not to like about his treatment of some of the women in the story. His dismissive attitude towards his wife, his downright rudeness towards his secretary and his holier-than-thou attitude towards "Ro-Ark" (sp?), the highly unlikely and (literally) unbelievably skilled and precocious clerk who worked for him for free, producing 'outstanding' briefs and other paperwork in (metaphorically) no time at all. The fate of this "Northerner" and also of the various KKK members and the local Klavern were left dangling as Grisham seemed in a rush to finish this already wordy and over-long novel. My GR friend Tim and I seem to have similar attitudes towards John Grisham novels. We either "loved this one", "liked that one", "couldn't finish the other one", but not always referring to the same novels. I have 34 novels in my Grisham collection (including "The Reckoning" released this month) and 10 are unread or unheard. Of the 24 read or listened to, 16 are rated three stars or more and eight are rated one star or dnf. So, at the moment I enjoy two out of every three Grisham novels and that is a pretty good average. Note: not all my novels are listed in my Goodreads profile.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    Continuing with my reading of all Grisham titles. This is the first I've read of the southern trial novels. Extensive use of the N word was disturbing but it's used for an accurate portrayal of the voice of white southerners of the period, not gratuitously. Much more disturbing was the scene of the violent attack on a little girl that's the basis of the story. Again, not gratuitous. This novel was based on a true story. A thoughtful and thought provoking reminder of the cruelty and racial prejud Continuing with my reading of all Grisham titles. This is the first I've read of the southern trial novels. Extensive use of the N word was disturbing but it's used for an accurate portrayal of the voice of white southerners of the period, not gratuitously. Much more disturbing was the scene of the violent attack on a little girl that's the basis of the story. Again, not gratuitous. This novel was based on a true story. A thoughtful and thought provoking reminder of the cruelty and racial prejudice in our not-so-far past. Really interesting descriptions of the trial and the jury and its deliberations.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jack Heath

    5 Stars. Not as great as "To Kill a Mockingbird" when it comes to the issues of race relations, society, and the law in the southern US, but both deserve a 5. Maybe "Mockingbird" a 5.3? One difference is the point of view; a young girl, now a woman, is the narrator of the story set in the mid 1930s. It's endearing and full of love for her father, Atticus. "Time to Kill" is novel of our times, the 2020s, although it focuses on the 1980s. It's a courtroom drama which reels from a string of brutal 5 Stars. Not as great as "To Kill a Mockingbird" when it comes to the issues of race relations, society, and the law in the southern US, but both deserve a 5. Maybe "Mockingbird" a 5.3? One difference is the point of view; a young girl, now a woman, is the narrator of the story set in the mid 1930s. It's endearing and full of love for her father, Atticus. "Time to Kill" is novel of our times, the 2020s, although it focuses on the 1980s. It's a courtroom drama which reels from a string of brutal events. The resolution is less nuanced. Both expose attitudes prevalent in the white community - ignorance, condescension, and among many, hatred. Yet if you look carefully, a touch of progress, no more than that, can be found. The argument which wins the day in the trial of black Carl-Lee Hailey likely could not have been made fifty years earlier. He murdered two despicable white supremacists who raped and beat his 10-year-old daughter Tonya. They bragged about it! "Kill" is replete with KKK burning crosses and a tolerance for racism by some that will make you cringe. Lawyer Jake Brigance does his best but it's uphill all the way! For once the movie version is just as good. (September 2020)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Before returning to Clanton Mississippi and Ford County, I took some time to refresh myself of my first journey here, to see where the Grisham journey had its humble roots. While it is likely this novel is not the traditional 'must-read' before diving into SYCAMORE ROW, I chose to remember the powerful novel that Grisham admits barely made a blip on the radar until after THE FIRM pushed him to the top of all the reading lists. This is a wonderful book that introduces readers to a Mississippi whe Before returning to Clanton Mississippi and Ford County, I took some time to refresh myself of my first journey here, to see where the Grisham journey had its humble roots. While it is likely this novel is not the traditional 'must-read' before diving into SYCAMORE ROW, I chose to remember the powerful novel that Grisham admits barely made a blip on the radar until after THE FIRM pushed him to the top of all the reading lists. This is a wonderful book that introduces readers to a Mississippi where desegregation is no more than a word in the dictionary. When the brutal rape of a 10 year old black girl makes small ripples amongst the vast majority of Ford County's white population, the townsfolk continue with life as usual, leaving the black population to mourn the injustice. All, that is, but Carl-Lee Haley, father of the victim. The two white men accused of the rape are charged and the legal process begins its slow march. When Haley takes things into his own hands and shoots both men while they are in the courthouse, the ripples turn to tidal waves, dividing the town along racial lines. After Jake Brigance, town lawyer and admitted liberal, agrees to take the case, all eyes are on him and how he will argue a case that appears cut and dry. Using an insanity angle, Brigance tries to sway popular opinion in a county where black rights are all but nil. This small county soon has the eyes of the entire country as support on both sides heightens. It is only when the Klan begin enacting their own form of justice that violence and retribution stain the Mississippi legal process. Brigance begins building a defence, using the meagre $900 offered to him while his family chooses to protect themselves when he refuses to follow. Using an odd patchwork legal team whose interest in the case outweighs their desire for payment, Brigance brings the case forward. Before a jury of his peers, Haley is presented as a grieving father and man whose mind was completely altered by the acts of two drug addicts. As the city is torn apart, Brigance can only hope that justice is truly colour-blind in the racist south. Grisham planted the seed of legal literary excellence with this novel and it should be required reading for the legal thriller fanatic. Grisham does so much in this novel on so many levels. From addressing the ne'er-spoken race divide in the South as it relates to legal equity to the nuances of courtroom thrillers for which he will become famous, to the formulaic storyline of the lawyer swimming against the tide on the side of justice all issues come out front and centre throughout the novel. Grisham tackles all these as a complete unknown in the literary field and does not stray away from strong social commentary throughout. While I will admit my mind flashed to the wonderfully done film based on the novel throughout the reading, I could see and feel the characters develop on the page and take life. Without throwing punches, Grisham dispels the rumours that desegregation stopped the race riots and that all is well throughout the country. Speaking about what he knows best--the law and Mississippi--Grisham brings the reader into the fold and captures them with riveting narration, stellar legal description, and a set of characters whose perfection within the story has them fit like the proverbial glove. This was surely the novel that got the Grisham craze started and, to me, proves to be one of his timeless classics. As an added aside, I cannot leave this review without presenting what may seem like quite the far-fetched claim. As I listened to the audiobook version of this novel, I could not help but wonder if Grisham sought to create a newer version of the Harpee Lee classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, bringing the injustice of the law between the races to the forefront. While Brigance is no Atticus Finch, this parallel cannot be disregarded as the reader sees the tension building and the complete despair of the defence counsel as the evidence pours forward. While I am almost certain Grisham would deny its connection, the reader who has taken the time to read both will surely see some similarities in both. Have things changed much since 1960? Since 1989? Surely some steps have been made in this regard, but I would venture to say that the two novels, which act as strong social commentaries, are not far off from what is still going on. Kudos, Mr. Grisham, for allowing me such a raw glimpse into the realm of justice in the South and not candy coating it in the least. Onward to SYCAMORE ROW... with a plethora of characters in my quiver and a passion for Ford County once again!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bryce

    My favorite Grisham, and I've read almost all of them. He states in his own words that sometimes he gets "a bit verbose" - but I really liked it because of the depth that he goes into on the characters, which is mostly absent from his other stories. My favorite Grisham, and I've read almost all of them. He states in his own words that sometimes he gets "a bit verbose" - but I really liked it because of the depth that he goes into on the characters, which is mostly absent from his other stories.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karl Marberger

    I liked it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    There are 104 pages of review on this book, and I read two pages worth and agreed with a dozen or so. I always wondered why cheap thrillers like this book never get discussed in great literature classes and I think I can answer that question. 1. Because there is no interpretation. Books like this are no brainers. Little thinking is required. That's really it. Now for the book review. First of all, Grisham needed like 1 or 2 more pages to close out. He rushed the ending. Sure it was a great thrill There are 104 pages of review on this book, and I read two pages worth and agreed with a dozen or so. I always wondered why cheap thrillers like this book never get discussed in great literature classes and I think I can answer that question. 1. Because there is no interpretation. Books like this are no brainers. Little thinking is required. That's really it. Now for the book review. First of all, Grisham needed like 1 or 2 more pages to close out. He rushed the ending. Sure it was a great thriller. It posed a great ethical question- Is it ever right to take the justice system in your own hand? Grisham evidently thinks so and the reader most likely will feel sympathy for the "killer"- Carl Lee. This is my third John Grisham book- I agree with the readers who say once you've read one Grisham book, you've read them all. He makes practicing law sound very appealing, like CSI flaunts investagaters. I read the Firm first- absolutely loved it. The Runaway Jury was definately a 2 star rating. This was a thriller, so I gave it a 3. I don't know. The whole book left me feeling really empty and thinking what am I doing wasting my time reading these types of books?

  25. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Reading this book again was still a fast and thrilling ride. I haven’t read it in years and ha e only seen the movie once many years ago so the story was not boring to re-read at all. Now reading to read Sycamore Row and then I will be prepared for the third book of the Jake Brigance novel when it releases.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cody | CodysBookshelf

    My first John Grisham novel was his latest release, The Whistler: a capable, if not entirely thrilling, read. Because I give every author two chances to 'wow' me, I decided to take a stab at Grisham's debut, A Time to Kill. Wow. Wow wow wow. Was I impressed! Set in northeastern Mississippi (an area I've ridden through many times, and have a certain affection for), a young black girl is kidnapped and brutally raped by two white rednecks, both career criminals despite only being in their twenties. My first John Grisham novel was his latest release, The Whistler: a capable, if not entirely thrilling, read. Because I give every author two chances to 'wow' me, I decided to take a stab at Grisham's debut, A Time to Kill. Wow. Wow wow wow. Was I impressed! Set in northeastern Mississippi (an area I've ridden through many times, and have a certain affection for), a young black girl is kidnapped and brutally raped by two white rednecks, both career criminals despite only being in their twenties. The two are caught and arrested, but that does not make the girl's pain go away, of course — so her father takes matters into his own hands, and murders the two rapists in cold blood. Jake Brigance, a young lawyer who is desperate for the big time, takes the case despite its daunting nature. What unravels is something that thoroughly impacts the entire fictional town of Clanton, Mississippi, and the reader as well. There is no black or white here, only a world of gray; while most readers can sympathize with the girl's father, was it right of him to murder the men? What is morally justifiable? What role does the court system play in our lives, and even when juries make the 'right' decision, is it still wrong? These are questions Grisham leads the reader to, never fully answering them but instead inspiring thought and meditation. I know I certainly look at the American justice system in a new light after reading this fabulous novel. This was a journey that had me glued to the pages, and I would have read it much faster had life not intervened. I was shocked by how fleshed out the town of Clanton and its inhabitants really are, in the pages of this weighty story; Grisham is one who can tell a tale, and had that talent from the very beginning . . . as is evident here, in his debut novel. I was not sure what I wanted the final decision to be — guilty, not guilty, mistrial — because of all the twists and turns and new revelations that come to light during this volume's 480-ish pages. That's a good thing. The person who begins reading this novel and the person who finishes this novel aren't the same, not completely; this is one with true potential to impact, all these years later. It really stands up. John Grisham is one of America's most popular authors, and I can now see why. I cannot wait to work my way through the rest of his releases, but I don't know if any of them can top this one.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paul Eckert

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A young black girl is raped by two rednecks in Mississippi. She survives and is able to identify the two men. Before their trial begins, the girl’s daddy shows up at the court and mows them down with an M16. Now the black dad is on trial for his life, and attorney Jake Brigantz (the archetype of all Grisham lawyers to come in future novels – young, cocky, inexperienced lawyer takes on an evil entity, in this case racism) has taken on the case in order to keep the well-meaning father off death ro A young black girl is raped by two rednecks in Mississippi. She survives and is able to identify the two men. Before their trial begins, the girl’s daddy shows up at the court and mows them down with an M16. Now the black dad is on trial for his life, and attorney Jake Brigantz (the archetype of all Grisham lawyers to come in future novels – young, cocky, inexperienced lawyer takes on an evil entity, in this case racism) has taken on the case in order to keep the well-meaning father off death row. At the heart of the novel is the question, “Would you convict a man for killing the men that raped and beat his daughter?” Grisham effectively sets the stage for a theme of conditional morality that carries really well throughout the book. At every plot point, someone is facing a morally ambiguous decision that affects the lives of other people. Many of them have no problem bending the rules, or being downright unethical. Our hero, Brigantz, seems to have the most difficult decisions to make, as his decisions affect more people than anyone else. He doesn’t spend a lot of time considering whether his decisions are right, but he certainly suffers the consequences of the decisions he makes. As in his other novels that I’ve read, Grisham does the morality tale well within the confines of the legal system. He shows how our legal system, theoretically our most fair and objective institution, is full of gaping holes that are not easily fixed. It’s a classic prisoner’s dilemma (no pun intended) wherein one must be willing to sink to the lowest ethical rung of the opposition in order to have a chance of winning. A system of justice that is supposed to be based on a judgment of the facts instead hinges on so much more. This was Grisham’s first novel, and it shows in a lot of ways (and not all of them are bad). For one thing, the story is way too long. Grisham drags the reader through every painstaking point in the legal process, even those moments which have little or no impact at all on the case or the story at large. Subplots are carried for three quarters of the book, only to be conveniently discarded near the end. As for the characters, Jake Brigantz is too good to be real. I don’t know much about being a lawyer, but I’m willing to bet that it is nearly impossible to run a successful law practice with just yourself and a secretary, and even less plausible that one could take this bare bones practice and defend one of the biggest capital murder cases in state history with just the help of a couple of lawyer friends and a gorgeous stranger that literally just shows up at the front door. Luckily, Grisham’s brush with sex scenes are brief, because they’re almost too embarrassing too read, like a horny fourteen-year-old boy’s idea of sex. Every time Jake’s wife is on the page, Grisham never fails to mention her ‘bronze’ legs and arms, and in one paragraph mentions ‘bronze legs’ at least three times. There are many plot holes and inconsistencies, though many are forgivable for the sake of the story. Fortunately, the court scenes are rather short, and the story is propelled by everything happening around the trial. The end is satisfactory enough, and I think it’s the right ending for this story. A Time to Kill is a story of competing interests, and in the end no one is truly a good person. The fun is trying to figure out one’s own position amongst the many presented in the story, and thankfully there are few easy answers.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    Reading Sycamore Row took me down the memory lane to its prequel, A Time to Kill. And I realized that I haven't written a review for this much beloved book. So here I'm trying to rectify that omission. A Time to Kill is one of the few emotional contemporary books that I have read. Based on the theme of racism and set in mid-eighties in a southern town in Mississippi, Grisham tells the tale of a black man who murdered two white men who raped his child and one white lawyer's heroic struggle to d Reading Sycamore Row took me down the memory lane to its prequel, A Time to Kill. And I realized that I haven't written a review for this much beloved book. So here I'm trying to rectify that omission. A Time to Kill is one of the few emotional contemporary books that I have read. Based on the theme of racism and set in mid-eighties in a southern town in Mississippi, Grisham tells the tale of a black man who murdered two white men who raped his child and one white lawyer's heroic struggle to defend him in a racially prejudiced society amidst great personal losses. Jake Brigance, the young hero, is undoubtedly my favourite Grisham character; and it will forever be so. Being a lawyer myself, he represents many ethical and professional qualities that we lawyers revere. Perhaps, he was modeled on the author himself. In the story, Jake represents the future, the liberal promising mind of a racially prejudiced southern town. His struggle to make the jury look beyond the colour of the man and into the heart of the man to understand (not to condone) his action, is a fight for equality and justice in the eyes of law irrespective of a person’s skin colour. And the all-white jury decision is a victory of humanity; a promise that humanity is preserved in average citizens no matter how much division the extremists may create. Although this story is set in a bygone era, it is still relevant for today, for prejudices based on skin colour, gender and religion are still in store. So in that light, A Time to Kill is a timeless tale. And before I end my short review I must say a few words about Grisham's writing. It is his first attempt at a novel, so perhaps the writing is not yet at his best. But it is written with sincerity, compassion and with much feeling that I personally feel that this is the one novel (although his debut) in to which the author has poured his heart and soul. I've read quite a few Grisham work, and to me, A Time to Kill is his best; and it will always be my favourite Grisham novel. .

  29. 4 out of 5

    The Bursting Bookshelf of a Wallflower

    4 stars! Die Jury - A Time To Kill in English – was the first Grisham I have read. I’ve heard about him and his books a lot, but somehow I kept going back for other authors I already knew. But I have to say that I enjoyed this one a lot. I won’t write anything about the plot itself – most people know it anyways, either because there are tons of good summarizing reviews out there, or because they have read or seen the movie (which isn’t nearly as good as the book) themselves. So let me just say a 4 stars! Die Jury - A Time To Kill in English – was the first Grisham I have read. I’ve heard about him and his books a lot, but somehow I kept going back for other authors I already knew. But I have to say that I enjoyed this one a lot. I won’t write anything about the plot itself – most people know it anyways, either because there are tons of good summarizing reviews out there, or because they have read or seen the movie (which isn’t nearly as good as the book) themselves. So let me just say a little about what I liked: American law is always something a little mysterious and – let’s just say it – a little crazy for me. It is very different from what we know in Europe and I was super curious to get a little information on the American system in this book and I have to say that the parts of the book set in the courthouse were by far the ones I enjoyed the most. It was very interesting to see how the process developed and what possibilities the different parties had to act and react. The selection of the jury and its discussions afterwards was very well done. It took a little to really get into the book – the first scene was of course heartbreaking and totally catchy, but the introduction of so many characters in such a short time made my head spin. I still kept mixing up some of them during the book. I really liked our main character Jake Brigance, he might not be the usual super hero and has some serious character issues, but that made him very credible. I also had a few problems with the pace of the plot. I had the feeling that we had a furious start, followed by a very slow middle part which ended in a too fast ending. I guess that such things come with experience and we have to keep in mind that this is Grisham’s first novel. Well, I will definitely keep my eyes out for other Grisham books!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    My favorite Grisham book & movie showing Jake Brigance defending Carl Lee Hailey with southern prejudice still existing. The movie can be watched over & over many times. IMDb - credit to Grisham book for movie YouTube - Official Movie trailer Matthew McConnelly stars as the Jake Brigance character Cast & Actors Matthew McConaughey ... Jake Tyler Brigance Sandra Bullock ... Ellen Roark Samuel L. Jackson ... Carl Lee Hailey * interview (added 10/4/2020) Matthew McConaughey talks with Joe Le My favorite Grisham book & movie showing Jake Brigance defending Carl Lee Hailey with southern prejudice still existing. The movie can be watched over & over many times. IMDb - credit to Grisham book for movie YouTube - Official Movie trailer Matthew McConnelly stars as the Jake Brigance character Cast & Actors Matthew McConaughey ... Jake Tyler Brigance Sandra Bullock ... Ellen Roark Samuel L. Jackson ... Carl Lee Hailey * interview (added 10/4/2020) Matthew McConaughey talks with Joe Leydon about 'A Time to Kill' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp_1B...

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