Before The Firm and The Pelican Brief made him a superstar, John Grisham wrote this riveting story of retribution and justice -- at last it's available in a Doubleday hardcover edition. In this searing courtroom drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the savage depths of racial violence...as he delivers a compelling tale of uncertain justice in a small southern town...Clanton, Mississippi.
The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young man. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle -- and takes justice into his own outraged hands.
For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client's life...and then his own...
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This addictive tale of a young lawyer defending a black Vietnam war hero who kills the white druggies who raped his child in tiny Clanton, Mississippi, is John Grisham's first novel, and his favorite of his first six. He polished it for three years and every detail shines like pebbles at the bottom of a swift, sunlit stream. Grisham is a born legal storyteller and his dialogue is pitch perfect.
The plot turns with jeweled precision. Carl Lee Hailey gets an M-16 from the Chicago hoodlum he'd saved at Da Nang, wastes the rapists on the courthouse steps, then turns to attorney Jake Brigance, who needs a conspicuous win to boost his career. Folks want to give Carl Lee a second medal, but how can they ignore premeditated execution? The town is split, revealing its social structure. Blacks note that a white man shooting a black rapist would be acquitted; the KKK starts a new Clanton chapter; the NAACP, the ambitious local reverend, a snobby, Harvard-infested big local firm, and others try to outmaneuver Jake and his brilliant, disbarred drunk of an ex-law partner. Jake hits the books and the bottle himself. Crosses burn, people die, crowds chant "Free Carl Lee!" and "Fry Carl Lee!" in the antiphony of America's classical tragedy. Because he's lived in Oxford, Mississippi, Grisham gets compared to Faulkner, but he's really got the lean style and fierce folk moralism of John Steinbeck. --Tim AppeloFrom the Back Cover:
John Grisham has become, in less than three years, America's most popular author. While The Firm first put him on bestseller lists across the country, and The Pelican Brief and The Client confirmed his status as the master of the legal thriller, it was A Time to Kill that launched his writing career. Originally published in a small print-run in 1989, and for years unavailable in hardcover, Doubleday is proud to publish a new trade hardcover edition of this gripping courtroom drama. Near the rural town of Clanton, Mississippi, little Tonya Hailey is brutally raped, beaten, and left for dead by two drunken and remorseless men. The rapists are almost immediately caught in a road side bar, where they have been bragging of their exploits. When the men appear in court days later, Tonya's father Carl bursts out of the courthouse basement, and executes them with an assault rifle. Murder or executions? Justice or revenge? Carl trusts his life to only one man in town - local criminal lawyer Jake Brigance, who dreams of famous cases, headlines, and the big time. Jake is about to face the fight of his life, and he knows it. Not only is he up against Rufus Buckley - a tough, ambitious district attorney who realizes that a murder conviction could help him gain higher office - but he has a much bigger problem: the rapists are white, the judge is white - and Carl is black. This is a trial sure to change forever the lives of everyone involved. A Time to Kill is a riveting novel that challenges everything we think we know about justice and equality.
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