Customer Reviews


195 Reviews
5 star:
 (117)
4 star:
 (49)
3 star:
 (20)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (6)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I read this book on my brother's recomendation after finshing Grisham's other classic 'The Last Juror', and I was sure that nothing could top it. Man, was I wrong! Grisham's first novel is certainly his finest and he tells the story of a black man without a hope in front of an all-white jury seeking justice with the eloquent, flowing style of an accomplished writer,...
Published on 17 Jun 2004

versus
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but the film is better
After watching the film version of "A Time to Kill" for about the thirteenth time on TV I decided I decided to turn to the book to see how Grisham tells the story. I was expecting a more or less one-to-one correspondence between the two, but was surprised to find a number of differences, most of which to redound to the advantage of the film. This is an entertaining read...
Published on 25 April 2008 by Hugh Janus


‹ Previous | 1 220 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 17 Jun 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: A Time To Kill (Paperback)
I read this book on my brother's recomendation after finshing Grisham's other classic 'The Last Juror', and I was sure that nothing could top it. Man, was I wrong! Grisham's first novel is certainly his finest and he tells the story of a black man without a hope in front of an all-white jury seeking justice with the eloquent, flowing style of an accomplished writer, despite it being his first. Anyone who likes a good story that keeps you hooked to the end won't be disappointed - I couldn't put it down. A tremendous read!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye for an eye..., 21 Oct 2013
By 
FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Time To Kill (Kindle Edition)
Tonight around 1 a.m., Grisham's new book Sycamore Row will appear on my Kindle as if by magic. In it, he revisits the people of Ford County who appeared in his first book, 'A Time to Kill', all of 24 years ago in 1989. I couldn't remember if I'd read it, and even if I had, the plot had faded completely from my mind, so a refresher seemed in order. As it turns out, I haven't read it before, though I've certainly seen the film.

The story begins with the horrific gang-rape and beating of a young black girl by two white men. The two men are quickly arrested and there is no doubt about their guilt. However, Carl Lee Hailey, the father of young Tonya, is not ready to let justice take its course and sets out to take his own revenge. When he is in turn arrested and charged with murder, he asks Jake Brigance to defend him. While there's a lot of sympathy for Carl Lee, especially amongst the black townsfolk, there is also a sizeable slice of opinion that vigilantism, whatever the provocation, is wrong; and then there's the minority of white racists who think Carl Lee should be lynched. Soon the town is plunged into fear as the Ku Klux Klan take the opportunity to resurrect the days of burning crosses and worse.

Grisham doesn't give any easy answers and doesn't paint anyone as a complete hero (and only the rapists and the KKK are seen as wholly villainous). There's a huge cast of characters and we get to know their flaws as much as their strengths; and it's an indication of Grisham's skill that we can still like so many of them even when we are bound to disagree with most of them at least some of the time, whatever our own views. As the case proceeds and conviction looks increasingly likely, Jake has to decide how far he can stretch his fairly elastic ethics. And he also has to consider whether it's worth the danger that he's inadvertently brought on his family, employees and himself.

In the foreword, Grisham tells us that the book didn't have much impact when it was first published but that over the years it has grown in popularity. I can understand both of those things. Firstly, it's an enormous brick of a book, the first chapter is a graphic and shocking description of the gang-rape and, being based in the South and with racism as a major theme, the use of the n-word is liberal from the beginning and throughout. If it was my first introduction to Grisham, I'm not sure I'd have gone past the first few chapters. However, it is Grisham, and so I read on...and how glad I am that I did!

This is an ambitious, sprawling book that looks at racism, ethics, fatherhood, friendship, politics, gender and, of course, corruption and the law. As always with Grisham, the writing is flowing, the plot is absorbing, the characterisation is in-depth and believable and there's plenty of humour to leaven the grim storyline. The sheer length of the book gives Grisham plenty of room to explore his themes thoroughly and he carefully balances his characters so that we get to see both sides of each argument, particularly on vigilantism and capital punishment. Grisham doesn't peddle his own views - he lets his characters argue each side effectively and so the reader is left to decide. Grisham says that often people he meets tell him this is their favourite of all his books - if I ever meet him, I think I'll be telling him that too. Now I can only hope that 'Sycamore Row' lives up to the standard Grisham has set himself...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but the film is better, 25 April 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Time To Kill (Paperback)
After watching the film version of "A Time to Kill" for about the thirteenth time on TV I decided I decided to turn to the book to see how Grisham tells the story. I was expecting a more or less one-to-one correspondence between the two, but was surprised to find a number of differences, most of which to redound to the advantage of the film. This is an entertaining read and I recommend it to Grisham fans, but I can just picture Grisham watching the film version and thinking to himself "why didn't I think of that?" on so many occasions. This is especially true toward the end where the film finishes with a dramatic climax brought about by the skill and dedication of the story's protagonist lawyer, whereas in the book we simply seem to stumble from coincidence to coincidence, with the main resolution brought about by a completely incidental character who is only introduced a few pages before the end of the book. In many film adaptations the writers, pressured for concision, omit relevant and illuminating parts of the book, often at the expense of depth. With "A Time to Kill" this is entirely reversed. Grisham has a tendency to include too much detail, not so much in his descriptions, but in the minutiae of the legal process, so much so that I often felt the plot losing its bite as the same scenes were repeated a few too many times (eg Jake visiting Lucien and getting drunk, or everyone getting drunk at Jake's office). By virtue of its brevity, the film condenses these revealing yet ultimately redundant scences and keeps a much tighter pace. I admit that I read this book with the bias of knowing the film very well, but since there is a 2 hour, more polished, more gripping, more refined and more witty film version of the very interesting premise of this book I find it hard to rate it very highly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Make time to read A Time To Kill, 14 Jun 2003
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Time To Kill (Paperback)
A Time To Kill, John Grisham's first novel, is a remarkably compelling, bold, fearless, lofty achievement for a new writer. While the book was picked up and published in small numbers at first, it was not until The Firm placed Grisham squarely on the map that this earlier effort was republished and made available for the masses of his new fans. What impresses me most about A Time To Kill is the way in which Grisham grabs your attention and sucks you right into the story immediately every time you pick it up; my interest and fascination was retained throughout the whole 500+ pages. I'm generally not a fan of lawyer or police novels, but the criminal events forming the crux of this novel are visceral right from the start, as little 10-year old Tonya Hailey, a black girl, is brutally raped and assaulted by two cruel white men. Grisham doesn't wait around to throw his best stuff directly at the reader. The two men are arrested and put on trial, but Carl Lee Hailey, Tonya's father, gets hold of an M-16 and blows both guys away (along with a deputy's lower leg) in the very halls of the courthouse. Jake Brigance, our protagonist, is determined to get his new client acquitted, a very tough task when everyone knows how the man planned and carried out the murders in cold blood. Naturally, some folks think Carl Lee should be declared a hero for what he did, while others argue that vigilante justice cannot be permitted. Since a black man killed two white men for raping his black daughter, race quickly becomes the big tent under which a legal and social circus is performed in the small town of Clanton, Mississippi. The black churches organize to support Carl Lee, calling in the NAACP and urging blacks from all over that part of the state to come to the courthouse demanding Carl Lee's release. The defunct Klan reemerges in the town and goes well beyond simple intimidation of jurors and Jake Brigance himself. Needless to say, there is a lot of human drama contained in these pages.
As eminently readable as this novel is, though, a few things about it bother me enough for me to take away one star from my rating. The action is just not real enough. Carl Lee is given unimaginable privileges by the black sheriff while being held in jail, for one thing. The most prominent black preacher in the county has a number of sinful ways about him. The judges seem to behave inappropriately at times, and some of the antics of Jake and the D.A. during the trial provide sources of humor that seem inappropriate. As for Jack, I found it impossible to ever really like the man. All he cares about is keeping this client and getting all the publicity for defending this man before the eyes of the nation. He tells his wife he will drop the case if it looks like he or his family is in danger, but that is pledge is proven quite false. He is rather unethical at times, proves himself to be less than careful in his trial preparation, and he spends the better part of the crucial days drinking like a fish. John Grisham says there is a lot of himself in Jake Brigance, and maybe all lawyers really are as superficial as the protagonist, but I hope that is not the case.
As compelling a read as this book is, much of its fate naturally hinges on its conclusion. Will Carl Lee be freed or sentenced to death? I can accept the climax of these events as it is written, but it does feel somewhat rushed. After oftentimes slowly and carefully picking over every bit of action and dialogue, things just happen too quickly in the end. The judgment of the case also belies events in the courtroom, and one main character is all but forgotten at the end. No first novel should be perfect, and this one certainly isn't, but it is nevertheless one of the most amazing first novels I have read from an author. Grisham keeps your hands glued to the pages from start to finish.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I WAS HOOKED ON THIS, 22 July 2005
This review is from: A Time To Kill (Paperback)
It was so real I was full of hatred for the rapists and felt for the victims family. I forgot the fact that this was fiction.
PROBABLY THIS BEST GRISHAM NOVEL TO DATE.
If you are starting a Grisham book this is the perfect start. you will love this story. Will be rooting for a verdict one way or the other I guarantee it.
DONT MISS THIS BOOK
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly his best..., 5 July 2004
This review is from: A Time To Kill (Paperback)
I know a few people would disagree with me when I say "A Time to Kill" is possibly Grisham's best novel, but it is definitely one of my favourites. It is graphic and quite disturbing at the beginning, although remembering it is only a story, the drama makes it only more gripping.
Throughout the novel you begin to feel close to the Hailey family and "the Hailey girl" as she is referred to by Grisham. You feel their despondency and melancholy as Grisham once again succeeds in reaching out to his readers with enthralling narration.
A must read for all Grisham lovers and for Grisham beginners too!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Time for Brill!, 2 Jun 2006
By 
This review is from: A Time To Kill (Paperback)
'A Time to Kill' was the first novel written by John Grisham and he did so over a number of years as he continued to practice law. It has a much rawer feel to it than his later polished titles and I for one feel that it benefits from this.

Jake, a small town lawyer, has just been offered the biggest case his career will ever see. A 10 year old black girl has been raped by two white men and rather then let the justice system deal with them her father shoots and kills them. Can Jake get his client off? Will race troubles force the small town into a civil war? And can Jake protect his family from a rejuvenated KKK?

With the above ingredients Grisham has produced a novel that stands head and shoulders above the others I have read by him. The story is fast paced and exciting with the actual trial only playing a minor role near the end. Instead we concentrate on the rest of the process and the impact that a large case like this can have on a small town.

Perhaps the best part of this book is the character of Jake himself. A lawyer who is protecting the rights of a black man in a white town should be a pure character? Wrong. Grisham writes him as an arrogant man interested in both his client but perhaps more about his career. I found this refreshing and enjoyed the book a lot more for it.

I would recommend this book to anyone as an introduction to Grisham as it his first and, so far, best novel. Some scenes are violent and there is a lot of racism so bare that in mind. However, there is little to fault this fast and furious read - Sammy recommendation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful reading which does full justice to the novel., 21 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: A Time To Kill (Audio Cassette)
The experience of listening to this audio book was in many ways more evocative than simply reading the novel. The voice of the Deep South, so crucial to the contents and themes in the novel, is performed masterfully by the expert reader, who manages the feat of creating voices and characters, sustaining them almost without fault, so that at times we are given the impression that we are listening to a radio play, no dry reading of a book! The moral issues which burn throughout the book, those of vengeance, racism and the culture of the Southern US are not lost at all in the transfer to spoken media, but are rather enhanced, so that the pain of the father in particular is keenly felt.
This audio book is well worth purchasing even if you have already read the novel, or seen the film, as it provides a new slant on the characterisation, and remains entertaining and gripping.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars what a book !, 23 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Time To Kill (Kindle Edition)
I think I read The Firm a long time ago and I can't remember exactly the story. I was looking for a new book and i found this one. It is apparently the very first boom of John Grisham who sold at a few thousand copies only when it was first published. However John Grisham himself considers this book as his best and after reading it, I understand why ! You will cry of pain, you will cry of joy, you will laugh, you will fear for them but John Grisham takes you into a wonderful ride. My advice: read it !
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You can feel the heat and the tension from the first page., 12 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: A Time To Kill (Paperback)
Grisham's first novel belies a natural story-telling genius. In some ways this is more 'realistic' than later novels and his obviously raw prose only adds to its immediate availability. I read it on holiday and couldn't put it down until i had finished. I CARED for the characters from the off and although the outcome may be a foregone conclusion ,the sheer passion and humanity of the character development more than compensates for any lack of twists in the plot. I rank it as one of my all time favourite reads and hold it in the same reverence as 'In the Heat of the night'. Enthralling!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 220 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A Time To Kill
A Time To Kill by John Grisham (Hardcover - 26 Sep 2013)
3.50
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews