In "The Last Juror" Grisham returns to Clanton Mississippi, the setting for "A Time To Kill." When a young widow is brutally raped and murdered, she names her assailant with her last dying breath: Danny Padgitt, a son of the dangerous and powerful crime family that seems to own Clanton. Willie Traynor, the young reporter who buys the local newspaper when it falls into bankruptcy, covers the case in the paper and befriends Miss Callie, the matriarch of the amazing Ruffin family and the first black woman juror in Ford County. Danny is tried and found guilty, but he receives life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. When he is released on parole after only nine years and returns to Clanton, the jurors who convicted him begin to die one by one, and the remaining jurors fear for their lives... This novel features not only the setting of Grisham's earliest novel, but also the reappearance of its lawyers Lucien Wilbanks and Harry Rex Vonner. It covers some of the same issues of race and criminal justice. But if you are expecting this story to be similar to its predecessor, you might be disappointed. For one thing, the protagonist here is Willie Traynor rather than a lawyer. The story does contain some tense courtroom drama, but that comprises only part of the novel. Instead we see the gentler and softer-hearted Grisham as represented in some of his latest works such as "Bleachers" and "Skipping Christmas." After the fast-paced trial and while Danny is in prison, the story changes direction to indulge in some good old-fashioned Southern storytelling.
Through the voice of newspaper owner Traynor, a northerner who views the town with the eyes of an outsider but who comes to care for its inhabitants, Grisham shows his affection for Southern small town life. Grisham's descriptions and characterizations are so lovingly crafted that I felt I had attended a goat barbecue, sampled some powerful moonshine, sat on the balcony above the town square gossiping with and about the locals, played poker in the backwoods, visited every church in the county, and had lunch on Miss Callie's porch. The story is peppered with humor and folk wisdom. The ending, although sad, is satisfying. I strongly recommend this novel for readers who appreciate both the vintage and newer Grisham works.
I enjoy John Grisham's books, despite the fact they tend to be a little predictable. I thought this was a great story with a weak ending. I couldn't help but feeling a little disappointed with the way this one ended. I did think Grisham did a great job with this one bringing the characters to life. I really felt like I knew them and developed emotional attachments to some. Overall, I did enjoy this one quite a bit and would recommend it to others.
This was my second John Grisham book and I could hardly put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed the outsiders insight on a small southern town. The mystery was a little too slick in the end, but I still thought it was a great read. I do have one bone to pick though - the book is set in Mississippi, but Grisham says that one of the characters grows vidalia onions in her garden. Well, that is impossible. Vidalia onions ONLY grow in and around Vidalia, Georgia. It is the soil that gives the onions their unique and wonderful flavor. You can't grow Vidalia onions in Miss.
Suspenseful tale about a small Mississippi town which is tormented by a murderer in the 1970's. A little predictable, but entertaining and filled with interesting characters. This is the second novel by Grisham that I have read and I am eager to read more.
I read some heinous reviews of this book on Amazon, prior to my reading it- so I didn't expect much. I found this to be one of my favorite John Grisham novels- ranking with The Rainmaker and The Pelican Brief. The characters are written so that you actually care about them- and the "mystery" portion of the book is interesting as well. The killer is a tad obvious- and in truth this book is really the Grisham version of To Kill a Mockingbird. To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite novel, so if you enjoyed that, you will enjoy the Last Juror.