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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group; Abridged edition (10 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 073932358X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739323588
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 15.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 891,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career--and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, and The Associate) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 250 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500--the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

Product Description

Amazon Review

John Grisham's The King of Torts demonstrates that his narrative skills remain as impeccable as ever. Grisham knows exactly what he's doing when it comes to transfixing the reader.

Within the high-powered milieu of the public defender's office in Washington DC, Grisham's protagonist is an ambitious young lawyer who finds himself saddled with what appears to be a nothing case: one of a wave of crack cocaine killings that are the bane of the capital. But as Clay Carter investigates, he finds that something more than a random street murder is involved here and a massive conspiracy becomes apparent. The stakes are suddenly very high indeed.

If the skulduggery here (involving one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world) is a tad familiar, Grisham remains nonpareil when it comes to delivering a smoothly engineered plot. A fresh touch is Carter's desire to break free from the routine cases he has been handling: this quickly becomes a case of beware what you wish for. Another innovative touch is the refusal to tie up the narrative in the expected ways: The King of Torts has much more verisimilitude in this area than most legal thrillers. One more thing, Grisham's prose now has a sardonic, satirical quality that suggests the Tom Wolfe of Bonfire of the Vanities. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Page-turningly compulsive" (Daily Mail)

"Grisham reigns supreme... another tremendous tour de force" (Sunday Express)

"A rollercoaster ride" (The Times)

"This novel has incident to burn, a clean, pacy style and a conclusion that will blindside the reader" (Telegraph) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Steen Soerensen on 10 Feb. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Greed is good or is it? These are the words that best describe 'The King of Torts'. Having read all of Mr. Grisham's previous books and been thoroughly disappointed by some of the most recent ones ('A Painted House' & 'The Summons') I didn't quite know what to expect this time. However, Mr. Grisham is after all the author of some of the most exiting legal thrillers I have ever read ('A Time to Kill', 'The Pelican Brief', etc.) and I therefore decided to give him another chance. Luckily he didn't let me down this time - 'The King of Torts' is without doubt the best Grisham book in years!
The book presents the often repeated and much used story-line "Lawyers are greedy, bottom-feeding sharks and generally a menace to society" - so there is nothing new here. Nevertheless, the story is interesting and the book in many parts proved to be a real page-turner.
The story centers around a bright young public defender, Clay Carter, who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and therefore reluctantly ends up defending a young man charged with murder. Carter, who is overworked and underpaid, and to a certain extent scarred by his father's premature 'retirement' from the legal profession is fed up with his current job. His relationship with his long-term girlfriend (and her obnoxious parents) is also suffering and he is therefore easy prey for the mysterious Mr. Pace, who approaches him with a deal too good to turn down - a deal that could make him the new King of Torts.
Driven by his desire to succeed and the promise of massive cash rewards Carter soon finds himself attacking 'corporate evil' i.e. one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, who knowingly has launched a faulty drug into the market.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Detra Fitch VINE VOICE on 14 Mar. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Clay Carter had worked at the Office of the Public Defender for too long. His uptown girlfriend, Rebecca, wanted to stop working, get married, buy a large home, and have children. Her parents keep sticking their rich noses into the situation also. Of course, this made the situation worse, especially when her daddy gets Clay a high paying job (thinking Clay would never be able to get a better one on his own) and expected Clay to snatch it up. But Clay refused to be beholden to her family or under their thumb, even if it meant losing Rebecca.
Things changed when Max Pace entered the picture. Max became Clay's source to getting several cases against pharmaceutical companies. Clay's settlements would change his life. Then he stumbled upon a conspiracy too horrible to believe!
**** While reading this book I kept being reminded of John Grisham's last novel. I now believe it was foreshadowing this book. There is nothing shocking to the reader here or any unexpected twists. Any reader with a lick of sense will easily be able to predict what is going to happen in the main character's near and distant future. However, the story is still pure joy to read and written in a way that only John Grisham can do. Recommended reading! ****
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By fooxman on 25 Feb. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Having read most of John Grishams previous novels I eagerly awaited the 'King of Torts' the book starts of brilliantly with the excellent character development and pacey plot that Grisham fans expect. It wasn't until I was half way through that I started to realise this book was seriously below par.
Grishams books are hard to fault due to his extensive research and brilliant writing style, he manages to twist and turn the plot without throwing the reader off, but this excellent writing style was completely lacking in the second half of the book.
Whilst I appreciate this is not supposed to be a 'thriller' (unlike most of his efforts) I found the book suddenly lost pace and became predictable after such a good start, it seemed like Mr Grisham had lost interest in the excellent tale he'd set out to tell and instead just switched off.
Rent this book from a library if you're a Grisham fan, it's not even worth the discounted price unfortunately...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Kimble VINE VOICE on 26 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm a Grisham fan and unlike some, I wasn't disappointed by this book.
It details the story of a young lawyer, Clay Carter, who comes across the chance to sue a large company, via a class action suit, for a large financial reward.
Following through on his chance Clay is thrust into the big leagues of class action attourneys, and soon gets to meet fellow tort lawyers who have made their fortunes by signing up many clients and suing on their behalf, skimming off a hefty slice of the settlement for themselves.
He feels good about himself and getting carried away sees the opportunity to earn another bucket of money, and jumps in feet first .
This is a story of greed and excess at the expense of the people you should be there to protect. I feel its an example of how the focus today is on the quick and easy buck at the expence of what you may have initially set out to achieve, with a valuable lesson learned at the end.
All in all I think this is a solid enough read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anna Klein on 4 Mar. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Clay Carter, 31 years old, is a financially poor, disillusioned Washington D.C. public defender. Although he just wrapped up a three year murder case and would definitely like a break, he doesn't get it. Instead he gets Tequila Watson, a young man arrested for a random murder. The sheer randomness sets Clay sniffing for clues, and what he sniffs out is more than he ever bargained for -- a visit from a stranger named Max Pace who is known in the legal world as a fireman, someone hired by large companies who have messed up to fix their mistakes behind the scenes. This time, a huge corporation's drug is making people kill. Tequila was on this drug. If Clay will quit his job and set up his own practice, the corporation will pay him 15 million to help them quietly settle with the victims. Unable to say no to so much money, Clay agrees. Besides the money, he gets as a reward a huge mass tort case and is soon richer than his wildest dreams. But even after he owns his own jet and fancy home and has a beautiful model on his arm, he doesn't have the woman he loves. And he doesn't have security. The FBI is sniffing at his heels. Former clients aren't happy. What will happen if the King of Torts himself gets sued?
I never thought I'd see the day when I was ready to give a Grisham book five stars, but by the middle of THE KING OF TORTS I was planning to do just that. Somehow, without resorting to unexpected twists, violence, sex, or worldwide conspiracies (seemingly the fare of many thrillers today), Grisham managed to achieve incredible suspense. While certainly no master of setting, his prose is clean, his plotting tight and fast, and his message as clear as the nose on your face (pardon the cliche) -- mass tort litigation is bad!
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