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The Appeal (BBC Audiobooks)

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John Grisham is now an institution -- a writer whose bestselling status is assured, So assured, in fact, that expectations for each new book are as high as can be imagined. Does The Appeal make the grade? And will it appeal to Grisham admirers -- or disappoint them?The stakes in the novel's plot are high: corporate crime on the largest scale. The duo of lawyers at the cent John Grisham is now an institution -- a writer whose bestselling status is assured, So assured, in fact, that expectations for each new book are as high as can be imagined. Does The Appeal make the grade? And will it appeal to Grisham admirers -- or disappoint them?The stakes in the novel's plot are high: corporate crime on the largest scale. The duo of lawyers at the centre of the narrative are Mary and Wes Grace, who succeed in a multimillion dollar case against a chemical company, who have polluted a town with dumped toxic waste. A slew of agonising deaths have followed this, but lawyers for the chemical company appeal, and a variety of legal shenanigans are employed -- and it is certainly not clear which way the scales of justice will be finally balanced.As ever with Grisham, the mechanics of plotting are key, and the characterisation is functional rather than detailed. But it is (as always) more than capable of keeping the reader totally engaged. Given John Grisham's much-publicised conversion to born-again Christianity, it's intriguing to note here the implicit criticism of the moral majority's religious values, but that is hardly central to the enterprise. What counts is the storytelling, and while the writing is as straightforward and uncomplicated as ever, few readers will put down The Appeal once they have allowed it to exert its grip on upon them. --Barry Forshaw


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John Grisham is now an institution -- a writer whose bestselling status is assured, So assured, in fact, that expectations for each new book are as high as can be imagined. Does The Appeal make the grade? And will it appeal to Grisham admirers -- or disappoint them?The stakes in the novel's plot are high: corporate crime on the largest scale. The duo of lawyers at the cent John Grisham is now an institution -- a writer whose bestselling status is assured, So assured, in fact, that expectations for each new book are as high as can be imagined. Does The Appeal make the grade? And will it appeal to Grisham admirers -- or disappoint them?The stakes in the novel's plot are high: corporate crime on the largest scale. The duo of lawyers at the centre of the narrative are Mary and Wes Grace, who succeed in a multimillion dollar case against a chemical company, who have polluted a town with dumped toxic waste. A slew of agonising deaths have followed this, but lawyers for the chemical company appeal, and a variety of legal shenanigans are employed -- and it is certainly not clear which way the scales of justice will be finally balanced.As ever with Grisham, the mechanics of plotting are key, and the characterisation is functional rather than detailed. But it is (as always) more than capable of keeping the reader totally engaged. Given John Grisham's much-publicised conversion to born-again Christianity, it's intriguing to note here the implicit criticism of the moral majority's religious values, but that is hardly central to the enterprise. What counts is the storytelling, and while the writing is as straightforward and uncomplicated as ever, few readers will put down The Appeal once they have allowed it to exert its grip on upon them. --Barry Forshaw

30 review for The Appeal (BBC Audiobooks)

  1. 5 out of 5

    babyhippoface

    This book has made me angrier than any I've read in years. Okay, first off --what is with the absolutely horrid neon orange color of the jacket back? Who picked this? Must have been colorblind. Each time I reached for this book my eyes felt violated. *SPOILER ALERT* If you haven't read it yet, stop reading now... Second, well, let's just say it: the ending was even more offensive than the neon orange jacket back. The book was well-written, compelling (and yes, possibly completely undeserving of tha This book has made me angrier than any I've read in years. Okay, first off --what is with the absolutely horrid neon orange color of the jacket back? Who picked this? Must have been colorblind. Each time I reached for this book my eyes felt violated. *SPOILER ALERT* If you haven't read it yet, stop reading now... Second, well, let's just say it: the ending was even more offensive than the neon orange jacket back. The book was well-written, compelling (and yes, possibly completely undeserving of that one-star rating up above), and I understand what Grisham was trying to do, but I hate what he did. Hate. H-A-T-E. Made me forget all the previously compelling stuff and just hate the book completely. To echo the comments of another goodreads member, Grisham should've stuck to writing an entertaining legal thriller rather than trying to make a statement. I got his message early on. As I read closer to the end, more and more I was looking forward to seeing Carl Trudeau get his. That's what usually happens in Grisham's legal thrillers, and that's one of the reasons I enjoy them.(Ugly of me, I know. But this is why I read--so I can wish bad things on characters I don't like instead of real people!) I was so utterly disappointed in Ron Fisk. I thought he was beginning to see how he'd been manipulated, and was going to turn the tables on all of them. Boy, was I wrong, and boy, was I disappointed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    2 generous stars. I am so quick to admit being late to the party, and also to being so dumb at times. This was one of them! I was alerted to the fact that Mr Grisham could be the male version of Danielle Steel. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I honestly do love a good DS at the right time, I do. This did connect the dots for me in a way. I wonder if John Grisham left the legal profession because he saw too much rorting – dubious Judges too respecting of their own pockets and big busine 2 generous stars. I am so quick to admit being late to the party, and also to being so dumb at times. This was one of them! I was alerted to the fact that Mr Grisham could be the male version of Danielle Steel. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I honestly do love a good DS at the right time, I do. This did connect the dots for me in a way. I wonder if John Grisham left the legal profession because he saw too much rorting – dubious Judges too respecting of their own pockets and big business and none for the ‘little people’?! There was waaaay too much politics in this one for me. Almost ranting about guns, gays, liberals. I’m not anti-gay marriage by the way, I hate the prejudice displayed in real life (and here) but I thought I was reading a court room thriller!! It wasn’t!! I enjoyed the storylines at the beginning and end, but the majority was too bogged down in political content. Most of the unscrupulous Judges, ‘pay-offers’, all round bad guys, of which there were too many, ended up swimming into each other and it was a bit lost on me. Lots of effort to build up a character, for nothing to be gained (Judge McCarthy). I found portions of the medical scenario at the end unlikely, and also so much new info to take on board at the end also. As a side issue, the narrator was excellent, very methodical, which helped, but on the flip side the Southern accent provided a ‘Hicksville’ tone for me. Wes and Mary Grace were great gutsy characters, they also were lost in the end (to me) and there was no reward for my reading investment. Don’t forget this is only my opinion. I just can’t not say how it is. Loved others of Mr Grisham, not this one.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Karl Marberger

    This book was a strong dose of reality with an important point to make. I know that some readers thought it was far too agenda-driven, but I found it to be absorbing and having a lasting impression. I was particularly fascinated to witness the machinery of a heavily coordinated corporate-funded campaign.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Sue

    I'd like to appeal the ending to this shitty book. I'd like to appeal the ending to this shitty book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jason Miller

    John Grisham's books have been getting steadily worse, ever since the Painted House (another lame book). What happened to the excellent author that produced such books as The Client, The Pelican Brief, The Street Lawyer, and Runaway Jury? I think he's out to lunch. I keep reading his new books, hoping he'll come back, but so far, no luck. This is his worst in a long line of bad books. Stay away from this one, as well as his other latest, The Innocent Man. They are boring, long, and a chore to get John Grisham's books have been getting steadily worse, ever since the Painted House (another lame book). What happened to the excellent author that produced such books as The Client, The Pelican Brief, The Street Lawyer, and Runaway Jury? I think he's out to lunch. I keep reading his new books, hoping he'll come back, but so far, no luck. This is his worst in a long line of bad books. Stay away from this one, as well as his other latest, The Innocent Man. They are boring, long, and a chore to get through. Plus, the Appeal has THE WORST ending, of any book, ever. Don't read it. It's a waste of your time.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    For once this is not a courtroom thriller, there are courtrooms but not many. This book is more about the pursuit of power, greed and corruption. The greed and corruption of the judiciary. The greed and corruption of politicians. And at the top of the heap, the greed and corruption of big business. Underpinning all this greed and corruption lies the most potent aphrodisiac known to mankind MONEY. In the immortal words of MR. Gekko "greed is good". No matter how much you have you always need more. For once this is not a courtroom thriller, there are courtrooms but not many. This book is more about the pursuit of power, greed and corruption. The greed and corruption of the judiciary. The greed and corruption of politicians. And at the top of the heap, the greed and corruption of big business. Underpinning all this greed and corruption lies the most potent aphrodisiac known to mankind MONEY. In the immortal words of MR. Gekko "greed is good". No matter how much you have you always need more. A chemical company has been dumping chemical waste, for years. In the small community where the dumping has occurred people are dying in unprecedented numbers of cancer. One woman, now a widow, brings a lawsuit against the company for the death of her husband and her little boy. She wins her case and is awarded the incredible amount of $40,000,000. This sounds great for the widow and the community but the company is going to appeal. The length the company goes to to win their appeal is astonishing. The people that they trample on, the lives they ruin are of no consideration whatsoever. Winning the appeal is all that matters. I found this book compulsive and disturbing. This book is a work of fiction but I have no doubt that the bribery and corruption as portrayed in the book is real and happens more than we think. Entertaining and thought provoking. I give it a 4 star recommendation

  7. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    By the end of this novel, I hoped someone would come by and pour salt on my wounds. Seriously. At least then I would feel something. After I found out I passed the bar exam over twenty years ago--{{with slithering colours}}-- my wife actually gave me this t-shirt as a gift. I never wore it, of course. I found it a couple of weeks back and gave it to my son to do something with it for Halloween up at his university. Be an extra-creepy lawyer I guess. By the end of this novel, I hoped someone would come by and pour salt on my wounds. Seriously. At least then I would feel something. After I found out I passed the bar exam over twenty years ago--{{with slithering colours}}-- my wife actually gave me this t-shirt as a gift. I never wore it, of course. I found it a couple of weeks back and gave it to my son to do something with it for Halloween up at his university. Be an extra-creepy lawyer I guess.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Alright...well, I admit that I read a few one and two star reviews before posting mine because I wanted to read what the nay-sayers had to say about the book. I was pretty sure I knew what they wouldn't like, and I was pretty sure I would disagree. I was right. I understand others' chagrin with Grisham's choice of ending, but I thought it was refreshing. It's about time someone bucked the system and didn't give us a patented ending, all tied up with a pretty bow. So here is the deal. Mississippi Alright...well, I admit that I read a few one and two star reviews before posting mine because I wanted to read what the nay-sayers had to say about the book. I was pretty sure I knew what they wouldn't like, and I was pretty sure I would disagree. I was right. I understand others' chagrin with Grisham's choice of ending, but I thought it was refreshing. It's about time someone bucked the system and didn't give us a patented ending, all tied up with a pretty bow. So here is the deal. Mississippi just happens to be one of many states that elects it judiciary, including the members who sit on the supreme court of the state. Now you may think this is a good thing - leave it in the hands of the voter to decide who should make judicial rulings. But it is NOT! Judges, you see, should be free from the shackles of political biases so that they can make fair rulings without any pressure - decisions based on the merits of a case and the correct application of the law. The story explores what might happen if a supreme court judge just happened to be elected by a group hired by a man with money - billions of dollars, to be exact - and an agenda for winning a particular case. I do not want to spoil the ending, and perhaps it is true that Grisham is making a political statement. Okay, so it's pretty obvious. Even if he is, so be it. He still tells a fast paced and satisfying story of the type that I had once come to expect from Grisham. And while the book deals with torts and mass tort litigation, unlike The King of Torts, the book has some meat on its bones. Instead of decrying mass tort litigation involving large corporations (product manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and the like), Grisham delves into the one on one cases where such companies should be held liable for polluting the water and creating dangerous products in cases involving just one plaintiff. Tort litigation is the seedy underbelly of the law. Still, there are several law suits out there - think Erin Brockovich - that deserve attention in our courts. Huge conglomerates should be held responsible when they skirt the law and poison the water, create dangerous drugs, or manufacture products that are unsafe. Of course, you want the bad guy to get his due here. Maybe he does and maybe he doesn't. But Grisham leaves the reader feeling uncomfortable and perhaps a little guilty for playing into the game of big political campaign spending...naively believing everything one hears on t.v. about a candidate and his or her record based on a thirty-second commercial that takes sound bites completely out of the context in which they were meant to be be heard. He even makes one a bit uncomfortable with the idea the a judiciary is elected and that a judge would feel beholden to those who paid for his or her election. And in the end, I liked that he gave me something to think about. It reminded me of The Client and The Rainmaker, and that is a good thing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Johnny

    The Appeal wouldn't make a successful film. At times, it appears to accede to the Hollywood formula, but then, it retreats to Grisham's forte'--realism. Oh, I know Grisham's work isn't as gritty as the descriptions of the world of meat-packing in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, the vivid characterizations of a couple fighting in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned, or the depiction of blatant sexism in Sinclair Lewis' The Job (or even in Ann Vickers, his thinly veiled roman a clef ba The Appeal wouldn't make a successful film. At times, it appears to accede to the Hollywood formula, but then, it retreats to Grisham's forte'--realism. Oh, I know Grisham's work isn't as gritty as the descriptions of the world of meat-packing in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, the vivid characterizations of a couple fighting in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned, or the depiction of blatant sexism in Sinclair Lewis' The Job (or even in Ann Vickers, his thinly veiled roman a clef based on his relationship with Socialist activist Dorothy Thompson). I simply find that, whenever he stays away from his tendency toward sentimentalism, Grisham can conjure up images of the South of not so long ago with a vividness reminiscent of Faulkner and blend those images with stark, insightful looks at the humanity we see everywhere. I could feel the heat and humidity as I read these pages (though perhaps it was because I was exercising as I read) and practically itched all over from his frightening depiction of the pollution in the region. I think Grisham's most realistic characters have been Troy Phelan, the billionaire who commits suicide in The Testament, and the young, conservative Christian lawyer tapped to run for Supreme Court Judge in Mississippi in this novel. With both characters--though they are in distinctively different novels--we get the sense that they are acting with the integrity of their convictions, even though we may not agree with their convictions or how they arrived at them. And, even though I don't consider The Appeal to be one of Grisham's more sentimentalist efforts, I would be dishonest to imply that there weren't times when tears came to my eyes as I considered the plight of many of the characters and certain "no win" situations. If you are any kind of political junkie (the "Karl Rove" character running the campaign for the judge's race is uncannily true-to-life), this is a "must read." It says as much about political campaigns as it does about jurisprudence. If you've ever invested years of your life and portions of your possessions (or all of them) in what others tell you is throwing your life away on a hopeless cause, this is a "must read." Frankly, I think this may be the best book I've ever read by this author. It may well be his masterpiece, even though I don't think it will be his most successful by any means.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yanwen

    This is the fourth Grisham book that I have read lately, The Litigators, The Whistler, Rogue Lawyer, and The Appeal. So far, I like all of his books. They are shockingly realistic. Corruptions within American legal system used to be my blind spot prior to this reading experience. Not anymore, thanks to Grisham's novels. I like this book and recommend it to all who want to learn about American politics and legal system. This is the fourth Grisham book that I have read lately, The Litigators, The Whistler, Rogue Lawyer, and The Appeal. So far, I like all of his books. They are shockingly realistic. Corruptions within American legal system used to be my blind spot prior to this reading experience. Not anymore, thanks to Grisham's novels. I like this book and recommend it to all who want to learn about American politics and legal system.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I just finished and it left me so mad! This author used to just write a good story. He would have action and definite good guys and bad guys . . . lately though he has a good enough following that he has decided that he is going to write whatever the heck he wants because he knows that people will buy and read his books anyway. I suppose I am an example of that! This book is about a lawsuit against a big company that has dumped toxic waste into the town's water supply and has caused cancer and de I just finished and it left me so mad! This author used to just write a good story. He would have action and definite good guys and bad guys . . . lately though he has a good enough following that he has decided that he is going to write whatever the heck he wants because he knows that people will buy and read his books anyway. I suppose I am an example of that! This book is about a lawsuit against a big company that has dumped toxic waste into the town's water supply and has caused cancer and death among the residents of the town. Well, I expected therefore that the lawyers and the plaintiff were going to be the main characters and "good guys" of the story. Not what I got! He doesn't stick with these characters really, he jumps each chapter to talk about another set of people and there really isn't a main character. He moves from the main story and ends up on a soapbox about the state supreme court and getting someone elected onto that court and how the liberals are all bought/elected /controlled by trial lawyers who want big verdicts. Conversely, the conservatives are all bought/elected /controlled by big business, religious, and right to bear arms groups. What started out to be a nice little story about a women who lost her husband and child to cancer and won a $41 Million verdict became a diatribe about legal processes and politics in the judicial system. The book ended with the case being reversed at the state level, the Company getting off scot-free and then to make the point even more clear, the ending is the owner of the company (the one who knowingly dumped toxic waste) earning several billion dollars in market share because he made his company look bad so that the stock plummeted, then bought up millions of shares of his company, all the while knowing that he bought a supreme court justice so that the verdict would be reversed and the stock would skyrocket! Further insult - the final chapter is the multi-billionaire on his brand new mega-yacht (which sleeps 200) having a party!! I just wanted a nice little story! What in the heck?! I should have just stuck to episodes of Law and Order on TNT - at least I know what to expect and in the majority of cases, the ending turns out right!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    As I began reading this book, I was very worried that it sounded too familiar. It reminded me of "Law & Order" episodes that are "ripped from the headlines." Whenever I hear that, I think, come on, can't you guys think of anything new? Saying that, the storyline of Grisham's latest began in that similar sort of way. I was pretty convinced that it was going to be boring. I was very pleasantly surprised that only after a few chapters, I started to find it pretty interesting. While the trial portion As I began reading this book, I was very worried that it sounded too familiar. It reminded me of "Law & Order" episodes that are "ripped from the headlines." Whenever I hear that, I think, come on, can't you guys think of anything new? Saying that, the storyline of Grisham's latest began in that similar sort of way. I was pretty convinced that it was going to be boring. I was very pleasantly surprised that only after a few chapters, I started to find it pretty interesting. While the trial portion may have been "ripped from the headlines," the remainder of the plot, and the basic premise for the book were interesting and really captured my attention. I was really enjoying it, in fact, until the last few pages. I am SO disappointed with the ending. So much so, that after finishing the last page, I decided that I didn't like the book at all and it was a complete waste of my time! Grisham could have had a great legal thriller but instead he chose to write a political commentary that tricked me into thinking I was reading for pleasure and enjoyment. At this point, I have no desire to ever read a Grisham novel again.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    The Appeal is a book every American should read. It essentially explains how wealthy companies can literally buy judges - as in, have one taken out and a new one installed - in order to make decisions in their favor and protect them from having to pay damages to the people they maim with their practices. It also goes over the importance to the average citizen of being able to sue for malpractice or damages from defective or unsafe products. It was so dead-on that when i bought the hardcover (used) The Appeal is a book every American should read. It essentially explains how wealthy companies can literally buy judges - as in, have one taken out and a new one installed - in order to make decisions in their favor and protect them from having to pay damages to the people they maim with their practices. It also goes over the importance to the average citizen of being able to sue for malpractice or damages from defective or unsafe products. It was so dead-on that when i bought the hardcover (used) there were zero quotes or blurbs on the book talking about how great it was. If you go to Grisham's site there are quotes, but none on the back of the book itself! Very bizarre for one of Grisham's books. This is likely why (from wikipedia): "Grisham's plot closely resembles a real-life decade-long legal battle between West Virginia coal mining competitors. When Don Blankenship, chairman and CEO of A.T. Massey Coal, lost a $50 million verdict in a fraud lawsuit brought by Hugh Caperton and Harman Mining over the cancellation of a long-term coal contract, he contributed $3 million to help Charleston lawyer Brent Benjamin unseat incumbent Judge Warren McGraw. Benjamin won the election, and three years later, when Massey's appeal reached the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, Caperton's lawyers asked him to recuse himself because of Blankenship's financial support. Benjamin declined and he cast the crucial vote needed to overturn the verdict favoring Caperton. Among those who noticed similarities between the case and The Appeal was former West Virginia justice Larry Starcher, who criticized Benjamin for not disqualifying himself. He wrote in an opinion, "I believe John Grisham got it right when he said that he simply had to read The Charleston Gazette to get an idea for his next novel."[1] In June 2009, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Justice Benjamin should have recused himself in Caperton v. Massey, sending the case back to the West Virginia Supreme Court. Writing for the majority in the 5 to 4 decision, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy called the appearance of conflict of interest so "extreme" that the failure to recuse constituted a threat to the plaintiff’s Constitutional right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.'s dissent warned that the United States Supreme Court majority decision would have dire consequences for "public confidence in judicial impartiality."[2] Only a minority of states elect judges directly, a controversial system virtually unknown outside the United States. The Appeal has been seen as an attack on this system of selecting judges, since judges have a conflict of interest when ruling on cases involving major campaign contributors.[1][3]" Here are the blurbs from his website: http://www.jgrisham.com/the-appeal/ I gave the book only 4 stars b/c it was a little more technical and a little less thriller and therefore less enjoyable but the tradeoff is the education factor and social commentary. Night and day from what he did in The Associate, which was write a seemingly pointless story that was also disturbingly misogynist, i was very surprised and disappointed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ty

    don't read this piece of shit. what the hell grisham?, you're usually so solid. don't read this piece of shit. what the hell grisham?, you're usually so solid.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'm a Grisham fan - I've read pretty much all his books. If his liberal leanings weren't apparent before, they certainly are now ("not that there's anything wrong with that"). I guess you could call this Grisham's response to all the recent rantings by the right about liberal judges changing the laws to suit their leftist politics and agendas. Make no mistake - this book was written to make a political statement. According to Grisham, conservative judges are bought and paid for by evil "big busin I'm a Grisham fan - I've read pretty much all his books. If his liberal leanings weren't apparent before, they certainly are now ("not that there's anything wrong with that"). I guess you could call this Grisham's response to all the recent rantings by the right about liberal judges changing the laws to suit their leftist politics and agendas. Make no mistake - this book was written to make a political statement. According to Grisham, conservative judges are bought and paid for by evil "big business", never saw a trial verdict for the underrepresented and oppressed victim that they didn't want to overturn, and always rule in favor of evil "big business" even where the liability is clear-cut. Here's the capsul summary of the book (some spoilers, though not as to ending): Evil "big business" dumps toxic carcinogens in a small town for decades. Drinking water is contaminated. Hundreds get cancer, dozens die. Corageous self-sacrificing trial lawyers take on big business, win $41m verdict at trial for woman whose husband and child were killed by "big business". Big business' stock takes a dive, with hundreds of other plaintiffs waiting in the wings. Unwilling to take responsibility for its evils and pay the verdict, big business appeals. With current make-up of state's supreme court generally voting 5-4 in favor of plaintiffs with righteous claims (the 4 being big-business-loving evil conservatives who hate victims), big business devises plan to replace a moderate state supreme court justice up for re-election with a conservative. Big business recruits unknown, inexperienced and naive conservative lawyer to run for election to state supreme court against the reasonable, compassion-filled moderate justice. Big business runs campaign that is the dirtiest in the history of the world, yet at the same time typical of judge-buying conservatives. In campaign big business distorts the facts, painting moderate justice as gay-loving, Christian-hating, gun-hating, business-hating looney liberal. Conservative candidate is mere puppet of big-business money machine. Big business puppet wins close election (close only because "big business'" nefarious tactics were exposed at the end, but the truth wasn't enough to counter-act the gazillions of $ spent by bit business in the end). In every case where a person was injured by an evil business or corporation, and awarded damages by a jury, conservative justices reverse and send the plaintiff back with nothing. In the "Author's Note" at the end of the book, Grisham makes clear that the book is entirely fictional, so far as the facts go, but the descriptions of the issues, tactics, factions and results are accurate. In other words, this is a true story told with fictional characters. While I'm sure Grisham raises some legitimate issues, if he's going to attack all conservative justices and judicial elections this way, I'd like to see him have the balls to do it without relying on the guise and cover of fiction. Not to mention the fact that Grisham totally ignores the other side of the coin. I don't know - if Grisham keeps politicizing his books to such a degree, this may be the last one I read. In novels the good guys generall win, but Grisham tries to make his political statement all the more poignant by haivng the bad guys win at the end, laughing all the way to the bank.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Burton

    I read this in April of 2008 after Justice Nehring (of the Utah Supreme Court) told me he was listening to it on CD during his commute each day. Three quarters of my way through it, he told me it was not worth finishing. He was right. Talk about much ado about nothing. The novel starts strong, provides an interesting conflict, and than (spoiler alert) completely drops the ball. Not that the bad guy has to lose and the good guy has to win every time, but the characters are skewed and distorted so I read this in April of 2008 after Justice Nehring (of the Utah Supreme Court) told me he was listening to it on CD during his commute each day. Three quarters of my way through it, he told me it was not worth finishing. He was right. Talk about much ado about nothing. The novel starts strong, provides an interesting conflict, and than (spoiler alert) completely drops the ball. Not that the bad guy has to lose and the good guy has to win every time, but the characters are skewed and distorted so much to the extreme that everything is black and white, not the gray that is the real world, and STILL the bad guy comes out on top. One is left to believe that there is no real justice, that our political system leaves zero opportunity for the common man to be heard or represented, and that all persons wealthy are superficial and power hungry. Sorry, but that's not the real world. Nor does it make good fiction. I was left feeling both condescended and disappointed. Does Grisham really think we are so stupid? On the other hand, a conspiracy theory always makes for fun fiction...for a few pages. Eventually, things have to resolve, and i'd like to feel good about the resolution.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Thomas

    I've been thinking I wanted to read a good court-room drama for a while now and I remembered that John Grisham had written a few pretty good ones...so I gave this one a shot. Unfortunately there was very little of that here but still, an interesting plot was starting to develop and even though there didn't seem to be any central main character in this novel, the various points of view on the plot by the host of minor characters was working for a while. But then...WHAM! I honestly can’t think of a I've been thinking I wanted to read a good court-room drama for a while now and I remembered that John Grisham had written a few pretty good ones...so I gave this one a shot. Unfortunately there was very little of that here but still, an interesting plot was starting to develop and even though there didn't seem to be any central main character in this novel, the various points of view on the plot by the host of minor characters was working for a while. But then...WHAM! I honestly can’t think of another book I’ve ever read that pissed me off so much at the end. A nice compelling build-up was well-written and fairly absorbing and to be honest I learned a lot about state Supreme Courts and how the appellate process works. That can be a dry subject but Grisham’s style makes it a more enjoyable reading and learning experience. However, Mr. Grisham (not for the first time) seems intent on preaching his message which this time around is that if state laws call for elections of justices (rather than appointed) then inevitably, large corrupt organizations will buy influence and ultimately lead to massive miscarriages of justice. While I understand and even appreciate the author’s point, the way he expresses it in the form of this novel makes for a horrible reading experience. Indeed, the reader is the true victim of this novel. I can’t really go into much detail without giving away major spoilers so suffice it to say that I would have awarded 4 stars to the first 90% of the book but the ending negates all of that. In fact I think I would like to appeal and send this one back for a major re-write. If only I had wielded my power and bought my own Supreme Court justice, thus ensuring life would be the way I wanted it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    Excellent...tells you everything wrong in politics today...because as long as Private donations are allowed to go toward campaigns and bribes paid to those elected to vote the way a Corporate company wants them to vote, corruption will be rampant,and our democracy will not be a true democracy anymore. The right wing mentality will continue to destroy the principles of the United States Constitution,and take away our true freedoms.......quite the book...if you can handle the truth.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    Another Grisham page turner, at least it was until the middle section when it got a bit wordy and I thought I was losing interest. The book picked up again for the final section, though, and the ending was totally unpredictable! People are dying in Bowmore. In fact, the situation has become so serious that it's been given the grotesque nickname, Cancer County. The rates are fifteen times the national average. The residents reckon it's in the water and that Krane chemical company, an industry gian Another Grisham page turner, at least it was until the middle section when it got a bit wordy and I thought I was losing interest. The book picked up again for the final section, though, and the ending was totally unpredictable! People are dying in Bowmore. In fact, the situation has become so serious that it's been given the grotesque nickname, Cancer County. The rates are fifteen times the national average. The residents reckon it's in the water and that Krane chemical company, an industry giant, are to blame. They're convinced they've been illegally dumping toxic waste for decades. But, who's going to listen to a bunch of small town Mississippians whinging about their health? Payton and Payton, a husband and wife lawyer team, are on the verge of bankruptcy. They listened, they took the plunge. They sued and won. The award broke records. But, what about the inevitable appeal? As the verdict is read, the wheels of big business start churning believing that with enough money, anyone and anything can be bought. Will justice prevail? or will the slick and slimy bosses of Krane live to wreak havoc in another unsuspecting community? What I really like about Grisham's books is that he always manages to expose the selfish hearts of his characters. He includes their motives and thoughts and lays them bare. It's uncomfortable reading at times because no one wants their deepest feelings plastered on their foreheads. Yet, Grisham's characters are so alive that it's easy to feel the things they would have been feeling, if they existed. I suppose, that's what makes a good story-teller and Grisham is one of the best. He often includes religious and faith themes. This novel is no exception as many of the characters are Christians and there are some issues highlighted through the narrative. Grisham sits on the fence and presents both sides of the arguments for; guns, abortion, same-sex marriage etc. It's a shame that he doesn't take a more biblical stand on these issues. I recently read a short book by Grisham all about a special treatment for brain tumours and I know he's involved in a lot of charity work, so he could advocate passionately on one side or the other should he choose to do so. This isn't his best novel. I tend to rate them according to those I have already read, if that makes sense: a sort of Grisham rating. This novel had the odd bit of bad language and some blasphemy but it wasn't extensive. There wasn't any graphic violence that I recall and no sexual content although some suggestive behaviour. Worth reading if you like legal thrillers or just for the twist towards the end! Check out my John Grisham Shelf!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Bastian

    A candid look into the seedy underbelly of campaign finance in the U.S. It's no secret that in this country, money and politics walk hand in hand, with Big Business barons leveraging their own interests against those of the people and, at times, basic procedural justice. It is this systemic prioritization of corporate well-being over human well-being on which Grisham wishes to shine a light. He chooses his own home state—Mississippi—for the setting. Mississippi is one of the few states which elec A candid look into the seedy underbelly of campaign finance in the U.S. It's no secret that in this country, money and politics walk hand in hand, with Big Business barons leveraging their own interests against those of the people and, at times, basic procedural justice. It is this systemic prioritization of corporate well-being over human well-being on which Grisham wishes to shine a light. He chooses his own home state—Mississippi—for the setting. Mississippi is one of the few states which elects its judiciary as opposed to their being appointed. This includes the nine state supreme court justices. In the fictional city of Bowmore, a massive tort suit is won against a Forbes 400 CEO. The case is appealed to the state supreme court. Faced with his corporate empire going belly up, the CEO hires a lobbying group to handpick a candidate-cum-ideological ally and funnels dark money to finance him into the justiceship, where said candidate is expected to further the interests of his benefactors. Their expectations, of course, involve a reversal of the lower court's decision and a hard line on limiting corporate liability. It's a disturbing narrative that will (or should) shock the reader upon seeing a deeply flawed system laid bare in all of its shady details. That's all well and good, and campaign finance reform is a, if not the, top issue imperiling the American political process today. My dissatisfaction with the book is that it is just plain boring. The writing is banal, the characters contrived, the plot bare bones. It was easy to tell where Grisham was going early on and there was nothing here to keep me hooked. It's part of the reason it took me so long to get through it. Worst of all (spoiler alert), the ending turns up aces for the "bad guys". Money talks. American politics is a corrupt enterprise. The lesson of the book is both obvious and well worth being mindful of, but the way in which it is told is lazy, phony and altogether unmemorable. Political statements wrapped in novel form don't have to be this way. The Grapes of Wrath and Uncle Tom's Cabin this is not. I hear Grisham's bibliography is all over the map in terms of quality, and I'm inclined to agree after reading The Appeal. Do skip this one.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was MADDENING. I really enjoyed John Grisham's first books, but this one I can imagine him writing for two reasons. 1) to see who he could get to buy it and 2) to make everybody mad. It's the story of a chemical company that dumped toxic waste in the ground, which contaminated the drinking water and caused massive amounts of cancer and killed lots and lots of people. The book begins with a verdict of guilty for the chemical company, and an award of $41 million to a woman who lost both This book was MADDENING. I really enjoyed John Grisham's first books, but this one I can imagine him writing for two reasons. 1) to see who he could get to buy it and 2) to make everybody mad. It's the story of a chemical company that dumped toxic waste in the ground, which contaminated the drinking water and caused massive amounts of cancer and killed lots and lots of people. The book begins with a verdict of guilty for the chemical company, and an award of $41 million to a woman who lost both her husband and son to cancer. The lawyers who took her case are broke, bankrupt, and the verdict is a huge deal for them. Then it takes a turn for the worse. The story is told from no one's vantage point, just an all-knowing somebody, and so there is no emotional connection to anybody. You don't know if you're supposed to root for the chemical company owner or the lawyers. The book goes on for 200 pages explaining a campaign to replace a judge so that when the case gets appealed to the MS supreme court, the verdict will get overturned and the chemical co. won't have to pay. Seriously, 200 pages of "then we got $5000 from these guys, and she got $2500 from those guys"...and "he gave a speech here, while she gave a speech there". It was AWFUL. Then, since it's a work of fiction, I expected a happy ending. Nope. The new judge gets instated, he overturns the verdict, and the book is over. I was furious. I threw the book against the wall and almost threw it in the trash. I have no idea what Grisham expected us to learn from this, and so my only idea is that he was trying to make people really mad. It worked. The poor lawyers who gave up everything for that case get NOTHING. Their lives are completely over. Seriously, what was the point? If you're writing fiction, why make it end like that? If it was a true story, then maybe we could learn from it: don't elect judges, let them be appointed by people who know better, change election laws, etc. But it's not real. He specifically says that at the end, it was simply a work of fiction. If he was here right now I might punch him in the face. A complete waste of time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mona

    It didn't take me long to finish this book. As usual, I like John Grisham's style of writing; crisp, fast-flowing and gripping. I also get to know a lot of new words that I have never heard of before. I get to know a lot of jargon from the law world. I gave it 4 stars because of what John is trying to reveal in this book. He certainly lifts the lid on corporate obscene greed and insatiable appetite for moving up the 'Forbes' list, even if that meant treading over the misery of others. It delves It didn't take me long to finish this book. As usual, I like John Grisham's style of writing; crisp, fast-flowing and gripping. I also get to know a lot of new words that I have never heard of before. I get to know a lot of jargon from the law world. I gave it 4 stars because of what John is trying to reveal in this book. He certainly lifts the lid on corporate obscene greed and insatiable appetite for moving up the 'Forbes' list, even if that meant treading over the misery of others. It delves into how corrupt people can become. People we may hold in high regard for what they seem to be or how they portray themselves in the world of politics and money. I was amazed at the lengths the rich and greedy will go to to achieve their goals. It just is pure evil. What amazed me even more is that all this in fact is done in our day and age. If I was giving the rating for how the book ended, I'd give it a zero. I didn't like the end. It's not what and how I expected it to be. I don't want to spoil it for others, but I'd be curious to know if someone had read it and felt the same way.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sully (thysaltymar)

    “The right to a fair hearing before an impartial judge, untainted by money or special interests, is at the heart of the nation’s justice system and the rule of law.” NY Times, June 8, 2009 I’m currently re-reading Grisham’s The Appeal. I first read it in 2012, or two years before I entered law school in 2014. Back then, I didn’t quite understand how the judicial system works, i.e., when and how to file an appeal, and what happens if you receive an unfavorable verdict. I’m already half-way done, a “The right to a fair hearing before an impartial judge, untainted by money or special interests, is at the heart of the nation’s justice system and the rule of law.” NY Times, June 8, 2009 I’m currently re-reading Grisham’s The Appeal. I first read it in 2012, or two years before I entered law school in 2014. Back then, I didn’t quite understand how the judicial system works, i.e., when and how to file an appeal, and what happens if you receive an unfavorable verdict. I’m already half-way done, and I must say, this is one of Grisham's complex novels, as it involves dirty politics and how political candidates ambush the judiciary. Timely, I should say, that I thought about re-reading this when the news about the passing of Associate Justice of US Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, took over the media 3 days ago. I'll tell you why, Grisham cited the Caperton v. Massey case as his inspiration in writing this book. The Massey case secured a 5 to 4 ruling by US Supreme Court, where majority opinion ruled that, “[n]ot every campaign contribution by a litigant or attorney creates a probability of bias that requires a judge’s recusal, but this is an exceptional case,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in the majority opinion, which was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Stephen Breyer, and of course, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In The Appeal, a large mining company lost a case for damages, etc. Since Mississippi SC justices are elected rather than appointed, the mining company planned to manipulate the justice system in order to overturn the unfavorable decision of the lower court. I must admit, I agree with my friends in Goodreads that the ending is really appalling. Some of the readers expressed their disappointment by saying that, “John Grishman wants to picture what could be happening in real life but I rather have a good feeling after spending money and time reading a book” or “[T]he Appeal has THE WORST ending, of any book, ever.” Still, The Appeal is told in good-old Grisham style. If you are a fan of his work, you'll really enjoy the book despite its highly-criticized ending. This is me saying, read this with an open mind, Grisham is trying to make us see something.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dele Haynes

    The Appeal By John Grisham (Fiction) I chose this book for the narrator, actor Michael Beck. Beck narrates Grisham's books that take place in Mississippi.I love listening him, he gets extra flavor to Grisham's books. However, when I got into the book, I felt as if I'd made a bad choice with today's current political climate. In a small Mississippi town, a jury returned a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into the county water supply causing the worst "canc The Appeal By John Grisham (Fiction) I chose this book for the narrator, actor Michael Beck. Beck narrates Grisham's books that take place in Mississippi.I love listening him, he gets extra flavor to Grisham's books. However, when I got into the book, I felt as if I'd made a bad choice with today's current political climate. In a small Mississippi town, a jury returned a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into the county water supply causing the worst "cancer cluster" in history. The jury handed down the decision that awarded 41 million dollars to woman who had lost her husband and young son to cancer. The company appeals the verdict to the Mississippi Supreme Court where 9 justices will approve the verdict or reverse it. This is were all the "fun" begins. Carl Trudeau, the factory owner, goes into overdrive to avoid playing a penny of the money. He hires a behind the scene man to manipulate the election of a justice on the Supreme Court in Mississippi. One that will be more inclined to rule in the company's favor. Even though this election is a very small one compared to a national election, Grisham showed how the process is easily manipulated. An election can be swayed by lots of money and many half truths. The electorate has come to believe the sound bites that are fed to them instead of investigating the truth for themselves. (sound familiar?) The Appeal is told in fine Grisham style. If you are a fan of his work, you'll enjoy the book. Go into it with an open mind, he is trying to teach a lesson here.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Johnny Story

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I usually enjoy Grisham's books. When I was a teenager it gave me something to do on extended family vacations and as I got older gave me something to read on the airplane or road trips. A handful of his books I thought were great, most recently The Testament and The Innocent Man. I didn't like The Appeal for one reason. redeeming values. I'm not huge into politics but I can get behind any story. That's what we do as readers, we get behind the story, the characters, the good guys. In less plot d I usually enjoy Grisham's books. When I was a teenager it gave me something to do on extended family vacations and as I got older gave me something to read on the airplane or road trips. A handful of his books I thought were great, most recently The Testament and The Innocent Man. I didn't like The Appeal for one reason. redeeming values. I'm not huge into politics but I can get behind any story. That's what we do as readers, we get behind the story, the characters, the good guys. In less plot driven, more character-driver dramatic "literature" I actually EXPECT poor redeeming values, sad tales. However, when I pick up a Grisham book I expect not only to be highly entertained but taken care of emotionally. The Appeal failed me, it failed a lot of the general audience I'm sure. It will make a boring and drab movie, even if Ronnie H. directs it. But that's Grisham gets to do, whatever he wants. He's loaded and he's written 20 books. God Bless him. I'm sure to his credit for every review like this there is the other side that praises him for mixing it up and keeping us on our toes. Call it what you want, people like happy endings.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    Grisham is one of the first authors I ever remember reading when I was a kid, when I was absolutely enthralled and fascinated by his stories. I haven't read a book of his in a long time, but I was delighted to see that I still like him just as much. He is a good writer and his stories, focalized through the legal lens that he dons for all of them (seeing as he was a lawyer) are very well paced, clearly written and highly enjoyable. For those who want a solid legal thriller, this book here would Grisham is one of the first authors I ever remember reading when I was a kid, when I was absolutely enthralled and fascinated by his stories. I haven't read a book of his in a long time, but I was delighted to see that I still like him just as much. He is a good writer and his stories, focalized through the legal lens that he dons for all of them (seeing as he was a lawyer) are very well paced, clearly written and highly enjoyable. For those who want a solid legal thriller, this book here would be a good choice.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shevawn

    I admit, I like a lot of Grisham's novels; I especially like them when spending long hours on an airplane, as I did recently. I found this book to be very disturbing; it has definitely affected the way I will view future election campaigns for judges. I also liked how his Christian characters were reflective of the current Christian culture, even though they bothered me at times because of that. The ending surprised me, as it took some surprising turns the last 60 or so pages. I admit, I like a lot of Grisham's novels; I especially like them when spending long hours on an airplane, as I did recently. I found this book to be very disturbing; it has definitely affected the way I will view future election campaigns for judges. I also liked how his Christian characters were reflective of the current Christian culture, even though they bothered me at times because of that. The ending surprised me, as it took some surprising turns the last 60 or so pages.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    Harder to persevere with this one where his other books are smoother. Could not gel with the characters. Although at times I was looking forward to the outcome, I was not as riveted as I could have been. Ending was terrible. Makes me think I have wasted time on this book when I could have been reading something else.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hind H.

    Okay, I’m finally done with this book, and boy it was infuriating! I really like John Grisham’s writing style, but this book was disappointing, story-wise. I mean, what the hell was that end? You would think Fisk would feel for those people after what happened to his son, but no, he remains an asshole. Two stars: one because I enjoy legal fiction and its language and the other because, well, it’s John Grisham.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Una Tiers

    The reality of law and politics turns my stomach. This book is an example of corporate greed and how far it reaches.

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