Grisham, John. The Last Juror. Anchor, 2006. ISBN 978-0385339681 416 pp. $17
I picked up the new John Grisham novel The Last Juror this week. It has been a while since I read any Grisham titles but this one appeared in my work supply last month and rekindled my interest. I fondly remembered reading The Firm and The Client and hoped for another experience staying up way too late (maybe even all night) to race through the book enthralled.
The legal aspects of the plot aren’t really the ones that are on stage here. This is a story about early-1970s small-town Mississippi, the odd characters who people it, and the exploits of a 21-year-old ne’er-do-well Yankee who buys the local newspaper with a little help from his grandmother. Sure, there is a plot line featuring a sensational rape and murder, a trial infused with technicalities and crookedness and a promise to exact revenge, all faithfully detailed on the book jacket blurb. But it is the colorful town characters and the white newspaper owner’s friendship with an older black woman from the other side of the tracks that are the salient elements of the story. It’s an entertaining read, just not the one I was expecting. Grisham fans who like the direction his fiction has taken in his last few novels will enjoy this book.