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The Runaway Jury Paperback – 1 Jan 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd; New edition edition (1 Jan. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099457881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099457886
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,094,666 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

Review

"The Last Juror: 'Terance Mann's reading is Atticus Finch with knobs on, a really great performance' Guardian"

"The King of Torts: 'Ruthless calculation and overpowering greed make the story of Clay Carter's dizzying rise to "king of torts" a cracking good tale' Sunday Times"

"The Brethren: 'A riveting tale, well up to Grisham's normal high standard, expertly read by Michael Beck' Scotsman" --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Book Description

Every jury has a leader and the verdict belongs to him. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 April 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read 6 of John Grishams novels now and this was a real page turner from the outset. The story centres around a massive court case involving the largest tobacco companies in the world and the lengths they well go to, to secure a verdict in their favour. At times the plot gets weighed down with court precedure but don't let this put you off. The book keeps you gripped right up to the last 50 pages or so when you can pretty much guess the ending. Other than that, a right riveting read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "mileswaterman2" on 30 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback
simply superb, starts off quite slowly while trying to choose the jury, once the trial gets going you will be amazed at Nicholas Easters skills together with his sidekick.
Truely amazing story, could someday become a non fiction account of a tobacco company's fate at trial.
Dont Miss this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jay on 2 Jan. 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is really good. Shame that they changed the topic from tobacco to guns in the film version.Interestingly the law suit won against Phillip Morris is very reflective of the books content.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Th Gunter on 12 April 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Certainly one of Grisham's best works. Runaway Jury has just the right combination of Drama, acttion and interesting insight to the ugliness of the legal process.

The main character Nicholas Easter is compelling and really brings about a real reason to think about just how much justice can be served when going up against massive corporations with virtually unlimited resources power and influence.

unlike some of Grisham's other works this novel is tight non-repetitive and a good strong read. Well worth the price.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback
The Runaway Jury is an example of John Grisham at his finest. The book follows the story of a large civil case against a tabacoo company which starts off as expected. However, it becomes clear that the jury are acting strangely, especially to those doing their best to see that their client wins - at whatever cost.
The story is full of suspense and surprises, the best of which, in true Grisham style, is until last. Try it - you won't be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bluebell TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
I've enjoyed a number of John Grisham books and thought this one of his best. It's a real page turner that keeps you guessing until the end. Not only is it an exciting court-room drama but also a well-researched exposé of the underhand behaviour of the cigarette companies and their strategy of using paid academic acolytes who'll say anything for money to counter the genuine research that doesn't suit the industry. Much of the tension in the book is over how successful a devious strategist, working for the cigarette companies, will be in swinging the juries verdict by any means and at any expense. Terrific stuff! If you think that the lengths the defenders of cigarettes will go to in this book are far-fetched then reading the book The Cigarette Papers which, using secret papers unearthed by actual litigation, will reveal just how realistic the novel is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Tyler on 2 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
As an author John Grisham is best when he sticks to the courtroom. Here he is able to bring his experience as a lawyer to the story and supplement the crime mystery. The likes of `A Time to Kill' remain classics, but for every hit, there have been several misses (especially later in his non-courtroom based career). One early misstep was `The Runaway Jury', a book written in the mid-90s and now feels so dated that it is best buried in a time capsule for future generations to dig up and laugh at in the year 2062.

`Runaway' tackles the heavyweight issue of cigarette corporations and whether they are implicit in hooking people on to the killer sticks as teens. In the year 2012, we have already moved on great strides from the mid-90s, so a lot of what is written here seems pretty antiquated. The people in the book talk about quitting smoking, but many of them still light up indoors - old school. Being a novel of its time is not an issue, but being preachy is. Grisham has a clear agenda and let's say he is not a fan of conglomerates.

Once more this is not the biggest issue with the book that is left to a combination of character and structure. The lead character is a cocky failed law student who finds himself on the jury. Grisham specialises in heroes that are slightly annoying, but charismatic - in this case he fails as the lead is straight unpleasant. There is also a major issue with the structure of the book. Essentially, the entire thing is all waffle leading up to the final 30 pages when things actually happen. You could easily condense the story into a short.

With unlikable leads and a cop out structure, `The Runaway Jury' is Grisham's worst early work, but he had further depths to sink (see `Bleachers').
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim J-R on 14 Jun. 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is another very good legal thriller. Grisham explores the courtroom from the point of view of the jury this time, and the opposing groups of lawyers as they attempt to influence the jury in their favour. The twist is that someone on the jury wants to influence the lawyers. It's addictive reading and a really interesting plot that I've enjoyed reading.

I read the first half twice, which is something I've never tried before. I lost my copy when I was halfway through, and when I finally bought a replacement, six weeks later, decided to reread from the start so I didn't miss anything. I was really surprised by how easy it was to read again. The first time through I was quite confused about what was going on, but on the second go every fell into place and I understood straight away what the characters were up to.

Grisham keeps the plot developing at a good pace, especially amid events that could quickly become repetitive - given that each day has an identical structure for a lot of the characters. There are however a lot of unnecessary references that are not followed up on, some aspects that are never really explained, and some repetition.

My main criticism is that it ends like every other Grisham novel. It does have a nice little unexpected twist, but ultimately it comes down to the same thing. Is that what Grisham is planning once his writing career has earned him enough money? It's just a little awkward when you know every time how it's going to end.

Overall though the plot is genius, and he manages to keep you guessing on exactly how things are going to turn out right until the end. The whole story does come across a little like an epistle against tobacco, which didn't bug me but to those with differing views it may grate.
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