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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In 1970, Willie Traynor comes to Clanton, Mississippi, in a Triumph Spitfire and a fog of vague ambitions. Within a year, the twenty-three-year-old finds himself the owner of Ford County’s only newspaper, famous for its well-crafted obituaries. While the rest of America is in the grips of turmoil, Clanton lives on the edge of another age—until the brutal murder of a young mother rocks the town and thrusts Willie into the center of a storm.

Daring to report the true horrors of the crime, Willie makes as many friends as enemies in Clanton, and over the next decade he sometimes wonders how he got there in the first place. But he can never escape the crime that shattered his innocence or the criminal whose evil left an indelible stain. Because as the ghosts of the South’s past gather around Willie, as tension swirls around Clanton, men and women who served on a jury nine years ago are starting to die one by one—as a killer exacts the ultimate revenge.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from John Grisham's The Litigators.

Published: Random House Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9780307576033
List price: $9.99
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I have read probably a half dozen Grisham novels over the years. This one struck me as much more people-centered: less about the law and more about the people. It was a pleasant read, not to say a pleasant story. (No story about murder can be called pleasant).more
A good story, but if you read it try to disregard the title, which is misleading.more
kept me reading to end, some funny parts, sometimes I get bored and start another book but not with is one.more
I loved this book. it keps me going and never left me being boredmore
Really enjoyed this until it got to the middle. Then several scenes not furthering the plot were thrown in and bogged down the pace of the storyline. It got so I felt the story was like what was said of one of the characters. He’s talking, but nobody’s listening.more
A Great Small Town Story of truth and justice I thought this story of the little Southern town; its small town newspaper owner and its citizens was just a super read. I enjoyed the world of Willie as he became more known by the folks of this Mississippi hamlet. Mr. Crisham did an excellent jobe of developing his character in such a way that I couldn't help but read page after page wondering what adventure he would stumble into. Without hesitation I would recommend this book to all my friends.more
Quite a good story with a reasonable ending.more
In 1970, young William Traynor, recently flunked out of Syracuse University, decides to buy a small and recently bankrupt newspaper in Ford County, Mississippi. With a young and inexperienced owner now in charge the future looks bleak…. that is until young Rhoda Kassellaw was brutally murdered in front of her young children sending the entire county into a blood thirsty uproar, destined to send the killer to the gas chamber. The killer is found to be Danny Padgitt, a young member of the richest, most corrupt and feared family in all of Ford County. During the trial, Padgitt threatens the jury with their lives if they convict him and in a predictable turn he is convicted, but not given the death penalty, and would later be released from prison after a mere 9 years. The infamous murderer was back on the loose and in no time a blood trail formed leading from one of the former jurors to the next. This novel had a good plot and had enough movement in it to keep me interested, but in the end became way to predictable and had an ending leaving much to be desired. The court case was a good example of the book being too predicable; after the jury being threatened with their lives, there was never a doubt Danny Padgitt would be back on the streets in a small amount of time. The book was an average read, with a good storyline but an all too predictable plot twist and ending.more
A Small Town Story of truth and justice. In my opinion, this story of the little Southern town with its small town newspaper owner and its citizens was just a super read. I enjoyed the world of Willie as he became more known by the folks of this Mississippi hamlet. Mr. Crisham did an excellent jobe of developing his character in such a way that I couldn't help but read page after page wondering what adventure he would stumble into.Without hesitation I would recommend this book to all my friends.more
A solid story from John Grisham with an easy, enjoyable pace. Although its billed as an action adventure--who's killing the jury?--this is more of a character study set in a small southern town circa 1970. Young Willy Trainer becomes the owner of a newspaper that coverages everything from the obits to the garden club meetings to an infamous murder trial. Along the way, we meet all the local eccentrics, all whom Grisham creates to perfection. The main event is the murder trial of a young widow killed by a member of the local drug-dealing, bad-guy family. After conviction, there is a threat against the jurors who participated in the trial. 10 years later, some of those jurors start dying. I am a Grisham fan. I like his gentle, predictable characters. The good guy always win, most often walking away into a tropical paradise with a boatload of money. In my mind, that is always a suitable ending.more
Not his usual standard, very slow with a mild twist at the end. Not gripping at all.more
So much better than The King of Torts. This is written by a young regional newspaper editor, an outsider in a small country community – so much of the subject matter is social observation, alongside the usual riveting legal case. We touch on segregation and de-segregation, mob families, huge families, the role of an editor in a small town, insanity, the Vietnam War, the popularisation of drugs, and the difficulties of being accepted into a closed community, in 500 short pages (I whipped through it and would have completed it easily in one sitting had I not been 5 days from getting married and thus spewing organisational information from the eyeballs).Because Grisham doesn’t rely on the thrill of the money and the litigation, the pace is a little slower but much more pleasant. He also takes the time to develop some great characters (the Italian-speaking, 7 PhDs-raising chef extraordinaire Miss Callie has to be one of his best creations) and entertaining atmosphere – the brand new editor having war declared on him in a courtroom and delivered via a bomb, for example – which puts this several shelves ahead of King of Torts.more
I loved this book! I haven't read a Grisham book in years, but picked up an audio version free so figured I'd give it a try. This is not the typical attorney-thriller, but a languid tale about the life of the young publisher of a weekly newspaper in small-town Mississippi during the 1970's. There is no mystery per se, but the book centers on the trial of a member of a controlling, reclusive, ne'er-do-well family, and its aftermath. The publisher also befriends the mother of a large family of African-Americans, all of whom have become professors in different universities throughout the country, and his tales of the food and love shared are delectable on their own. I definitely recommend listening to the audio version, as the reader adds immeasurably to the experience. I believe Grisham has written two other books set in this town, and I'll definitely be seeking them out.more
It's weird, but during this book I suffered through various feelings of like and dislike. When I started reading it, I actually liked it quite a lot, but then it sort of seemed to drag on. The inside flap of The Last Juror states that it's about how Danny Padgitt murdered a woman and while he was on the stand, threatened to harm the jury if they convicted him. But really only about the first 50 pages and the last 100 pages actually dealt with the trial and Padgitt's threat. My main gripe with this is that it deviated so much from what it seemed the actual book was about. When I started reading this, I thought that it would be suspenseful with this sort of agonizing tension starting from the trial to Danny Padgitt's threat to the picking of the jurors one by one, but it wasn't like that. Another thing that annoyed me was the actual ending. It seemed very anticlimatic and it seemed like it came out of left field. I found myself thinking "That's very, very implausible" and also "How would no one know?." The ending was also very abrupt. I guess some of the book was interesting and I did care about some of the characters. It was also nice how he had characters from A Time To Kill appear briefly in The Last Juror. Although, I really didn't think Lucien Wilbanks was such a bastard in A Time to Kill, but I thoroughly disliked him in this one. I've only read one other Grisham book and that was A Time To Kill. That one was fabulous. This one...not so much. I'm still planning on picking up some of his other books (especially since I own like six others) and am hoping the brilliance that was behind A Time to Kill, shines brighter on one of the others.more
I really enjoyed this book, which was my first ever John Grisham novel. The setting was enticing and the storyline kept me wanting to read until the end. I now plan to read more John Grisham novels.more
A good legal thriller, but not really up to par with Grishams best work. Wonderful job on creating a detailed atmosphere for the town it takes place in, as well as the characters that inhabit it, but there was more focus on that rather than the action and suspense that most Grisham novels have.more
This is the first Grisham book I've ever read, and it is really not a court drama, despite the implications of the title. In 1970, 23-year-old Willie Traynor moves to the small city of Clanton, Mississippi, and buys the local newspaper, which has recently gone bankrupt. Soon after this, a local woman is raped and murdered by Danny Padgitt, son of the "redneck mafia" that is the Padgitt family. The story vaguely meanders around the trial and subsequent fallout over the next several years, but mostly it's about Willie's life in Clanton and the people he meets. There are a lot of scenes and even minor characters thrown in just for color. The ending was mostly predictable, with the only major "twist" feeling like it had been plucked from thin air. It wasn't a bad book - the characters were definitely believable and often entertaining - but from the very beginning I wondered how Grisham would manage to find enough plot to fill the 350 pages. Unfortunately, he really didn't. In the end, if you enjoy reading about smalltown Southern life, you'll like this. If you're looking for an action-packed legal thriller, you probably want to look elsewhere.more
It took me a little while to get into the story. The pace is slow for a reason, it fits the times and location -- Mississippi in the 70s.more
It had been a while since I last picked up a John Grisham novel and "The Last Juror" was not at all what I expected it to be. Set in the 1970s in Clanton Mississippi, John Grisham tells the story of a college drop-out, who just took over the small county newspaper and ends up getting involved in a messy rape case. At times the novel seemed more like a collection of anecdotes and episodes about life as a local newspaper publisher in rural Mississippi, but it remains interesting and engaging nonetheless. I would definitely recommend it!more
Oh, I've missed John's legal thrillers, and this one was a dandy. Not thefrenetic pace that the last couple have had, but a very good readnonetheless. In this novel, Grisham goes back to Clanton, Mississippi forhis setting, the same small town that was the center of the action in "ATime To Kill." This book spans about 10 years of time from the 1970s to the1980s. It's told from the point of view of a man named Willie Traynor whobuys the local weekly newspaper and runs it. There's an family of outlawsnamed Padgitt who own an island and run the shady side of life aroundnorthern Mississippi with an iron fist. They own politicians and electedlaw enforcement to the point where nothing ever happens to them. They runtheir bootlegging and drug business and pretty much mind their own businessand are simply a fact of life for the folks in Clanton until one of them, ayoung violent hooligan named Danny, comes off the island and brutally rapesand murders a single mother in front of her small children. It's anironclad case and something has to be done about it, so it goes to trial.The jury finds him guilty but spares his life and gives him two lifesentences. But, in Mississippi, life isn't really life, and he's paroledafter only 8 years. And shortly after his release, the threat he made tothe jury in the courtroom ("If you send me up, I'll kill every last one ofyou!") appears to be carried out. The vast majority of this book movesalong at the leisurely pace of life in the Deep South, and it's a wonderfulstudy of small town life. When the plot sneaks up on you, it starts to movealong quite well.I enjoyed this book a bunch. I'd give it a 4.more
Disappointing. Thriller? Not at all. Suspense? No. Portrayal of the newspaper business in Mississippi in the 1970s, mildly interesting as that, but flying under false pretenses as a Grisham.more
This was a cut above Grisham's usually predictable novels.more
I finished this book and wondered if it was a bait and switch. I mean, there are jurors in the book and all that, but they often fade into the background. The main character is actually a reporter/editor of a small town newspaper and the story is arguably about his 10 year odyssey in the town. The book is a broad tapestry, with scenes of family, coming of age, politics, religion, urbanization and, oh yeah, a murder trial. If you're looking for a straightforward thriller, you might find this one lacking. But maybe you should check it out anyway. It's well written and entertaining.--J.more
Grisham’s GreatestUsing a small Mississippi town during the 1970s as a backdrop, John Grisham renders, what I believe, is his finest novel.Unforgettable characters, traumatic events, unforeseen twists and a life-like conclusion combine to create this fast-paced read. Too many of Grisham’s books, in my opinion, conclude with forced endings. It is almost as if the author is worn-out by the plot and his characters so he forces the story into an unreal finish.That is not the case with this book. Set in the south during desegregation, the end of the Viet Nam War and the beginning of suburban and rural sprawl, Grisham characters are believable. They reflect the times in which they live. They live; they die. They enjoy success; they struggle with life’s dilemmas.This is not your typical Grisham novel. I, for one, am grateful for that. Novelists should grow with experience. With this book, Grisham leaps from the category of “popular novelist” to “great writer.”more
Great book!Although the story is wrapped around crime and courtroom drama, it's really about people and a community. The legal aspect is just a framework. I really enjoyed it.more
Read all 36 reviews

Reviews

I have read probably a half dozen Grisham novels over the years. This one struck me as much more people-centered: less about the law and more about the people. It was a pleasant read, not to say a pleasant story. (No story about murder can be called pleasant).more
A good story, but if you read it try to disregard the title, which is misleading.more
kept me reading to end, some funny parts, sometimes I get bored and start another book but not with is one.more
I loved this book. it keps me going and never left me being boredmore
Really enjoyed this until it got to the middle. Then several scenes not furthering the plot were thrown in and bogged down the pace of the storyline. It got so I felt the story was like what was said of one of the characters. He’s talking, but nobody’s listening.more
A Great Small Town Story of truth and justice I thought this story of the little Southern town; its small town newspaper owner and its citizens was just a super read. I enjoyed the world of Willie as he became more known by the folks of this Mississippi hamlet. Mr. Crisham did an excellent jobe of developing his character in such a way that I couldn't help but read page after page wondering what adventure he would stumble into. Without hesitation I would recommend this book to all my friends.more
Quite a good story with a reasonable ending.more
In 1970, young William Traynor, recently flunked out of Syracuse University, decides to buy a small and recently bankrupt newspaper in Ford County, Mississippi. With a young and inexperienced owner now in charge the future looks bleak…. that is until young Rhoda Kassellaw was brutally murdered in front of her young children sending the entire county into a blood thirsty uproar, destined to send the killer to the gas chamber. The killer is found to be Danny Padgitt, a young member of the richest, most corrupt and feared family in all of Ford County. During the trial, Padgitt threatens the jury with their lives if they convict him and in a predictable turn he is convicted, but not given the death penalty, and would later be released from prison after a mere 9 years. The infamous murderer was back on the loose and in no time a blood trail formed leading from one of the former jurors to the next. This novel had a good plot and had enough movement in it to keep me interested, but in the end became way to predictable and had an ending leaving much to be desired. The court case was a good example of the book being too predicable; after the jury being threatened with their lives, there was never a doubt Danny Padgitt would be back on the streets in a small amount of time. The book was an average read, with a good storyline but an all too predictable plot twist and ending.more
A Small Town Story of truth and justice. In my opinion, this story of the little Southern town with its small town newspaper owner and its citizens was just a super read. I enjoyed the world of Willie as he became more known by the folks of this Mississippi hamlet. Mr. Crisham did an excellent jobe of developing his character in such a way that I couldn't help but read page after page wondering what adventure he would stumble into.Without hesitation I would recommend this book to all my friends.more
A solid story from John Grisham with an easy, enjoyable pace. Although its billed as an action adventure--who's killing the jury?--this is more of a character study set in a small southern town circa 1970. Young Willy Trainer becomes the owner of a newspaper that coverages everything from the obits to the garden club meetings to an infamous murder trial. Along the way, we meet all the local eccentrics, all whom Grisham creates to perfection. The main event is the murder trial of a young widow killed by a member of the local drug-dealing, bad-guy family. After conviction, there is a threat against the jurors who participated in the trial. 10 years later, some of those jurors start dying. I am a Grisham fan. I like his gentle, predictable characters. The good guy always win, most often walking away into a tropical paradise with a boatload of money. In my mind, that is always a suitable ending.more
Not his usual standard, very slow with a mild twist at the end. Not gripping at all.more
So much better than The King of Torts. This is written by a young regional newspaper editor, an outsider in a small country community – so much of the subject matter is social observation, alongside the usual riveting legal case. We touch on segregation and de-segregation, mob families, huge families, the role of an editor in a small town, insanity, the Vietnam War, the popularisation of drugs, and the difficulties of being accepted into a closed community, in 500 short pages (I whipped through it and would have completed it easily in one sitting had I not been 5 days from getting married and thus spewing organisational information from the eyeballs).Because Grisham doesn’t rely on the thrill of the money and the litigation, the pace is a little slower but much more pleasant. He also takes the time to develop some great characters (the Italian-speaking, 7 PhDs-raising chef extraordinaire Miss Callie has to be one of his best creations) and entertaining atmosphere – the brand new editor having war declared on him in a courtroom and delivered via a bomb, for example – which puts this several shelves ahead of King of Torts.more
I loved this book! I haven't read a Grisham book in years, but picked up an audio version free so figured I'd give it a try. This is not the typical attorney-thriller, but a languid tale about the life of the young publisher of a weekly newspaper in small-town Mississippi during the 1970's. There is no mystery per se, but the book centers on the trial of a member of a controlling, reclusive, ne'er-do-well family, and its aftermath. The publisher also befriends the mother of a large family of African-Americans, all of whom have become professors in different universities throughout the country, and his tales of the food and love shared are delectable on their own. I definitely recommend listening to the audio version, as the reader adds immeasurably to the experience. I believe Grisham has written two other books set in this town, and I'll definitely be seeking them out.more
It's weird, but during this book I suffered through various feelings of like and dislike. When I started reading it, I actually liked it quite a lot, but then it sort of seemed to drag on. The inside flap of The Last Juror states that it's about how Danny Padgitt murdered a woman and while he was on the stand, threatened to harm the jury if they convicted him. But really only about the first 50 pages and the last 100 pages actually dealt with the trial and Padgitt's threat. My main gripe with this is that it deviated so much from what it seemed the actual book was about. When I started reading this, I thought that it would be suspenseful with this sort of agonizing tension starting from the trial to Danny Padgitt's threat to the picking of the jurors one by one, but it wasn't like that. Another thing that annoyed me was the actual ending. It seemed very anticlimatic and it seemed like it came out of left field. I found myself thinking "That's very, very implausible" and also "How would no one know?." The ending was also very abrupt. I guess some of the book was interesting and I did care about some of the characters. It was also nice how he had characters from A Time To Kill appear briefly in The Last Juror. Although, I really didn't think Lucien Wilbanks was such a bastard in A Time to Kill, but I thoroughly disliked him in this one. I've only read one other Grisham book and that was A Time To Kill. That one was fabulous. This one...not so much. I'm still planning on picking up some of his other books (especially since I own like six others) and am hoping the brilliance that was behind A Time to Kill, shines brighter on one of the others.more
I really enjoyed this book, which was my first ever John Grisham novel. The setting was enticing and the storyline kept me wanting to read until the end. I now plan to read more John Grisham novels.more
A good legal thriller, but not really up to par with Grishams best work. Wonderful job on creating a detailed atmosphere for the town it takes place in, as well as the characters that inhabit it, but there was more focus on that rather than the action and suspense that most Grisham novels have.more
This is the first Grisham book I've ever read, and it is really not a court drama, despite the implications of the title. In 1970, 23-year-old Willie Traynor moves to the small city of Clanton, Mississippi, and buys the local newspaper, which has recently gone bankrupt. Soon after this, a local woman is raped and murdered by Danny Padgitt, son of the "redneck mafia" that is the Padgitt family. The story vaguely meanders around the trial and subsequent fallout over the next several years, but mostly it's about Willie's life in Clanton and the people he meets. There are a lot of scenes and even minor characters thrown in just for color. The ending was mostly predictable, with the only major "twist" feeling like it had been plucked from thin air. It wasn't a bad book - the characters were definitely believable and often entertaining - but from the very beginning I wondered how Grisham would manage to find enough plot to fill the 350 pages. Unfortunately, he really didn't. In the end, if you enjoy reading about smalltown Southern life, you'll like this. If you're looking for an action-packed legal thriller, you probably want to look elsewhere.more
It took me a little while to get into the story. The pace is slow for a reason, it fits the times and location -- Mississippi in the 70s.more
It had been a while since I last picked up a John Grisham novel and "The Last Juror" was not at all what I expected it to be. Set in the 1970s in Clanton Mississippi, John Grisham tells the story of a college drop-out, who just took over the small county newspaper and ends up getting involved in a messy rape case. At times the novel seemed more like a collection of anecdotes and episodes about life as a local newspaper publisher in rural Mississippi, but it remains interesting and engaging nonetheless. I would definitely recommend it!more
Oh, I've missed John's legal thrillers, and this one was a dandy. Not thefrenetic pace that the last couple have had, but a very good readnonetheless. In this novel, Grisham goes back to Clanton, Mississippi forhis setting, the same small town that was the center of the action in "ATime To Kill." This book spans about 10 years of time from the 1970s to the1980s. It's told from the point of view of a man named Willie Traynor whobuys the local weekly newspaper and runs it. There's an family of outlawsnamed Padgitt who own an island and run the shady side of life aroundnorthern Mississippi with an iron fist. They own politicians and electedlaw enforcement to the point where nothing ever happens to them. They runtheir bootlegging and drug business and pretty much mind their own businessand are simply a fact of life for the folks in Clanton until one of them, ayoung violent hooligan named Danny, comes off the island and brutally rapesand murders a single mother in front of her small children. It's anironclad case and something has to be done about it, so it goes to trial.The jury finds him guilty but spares his life and gives him two lifesentences. But, in Mississippi, life isn't really life, and he's paroledafter only 8 years. And shortly after his release, the threat he made tothe jury in the courtroom ("If you send me up, I'll kill every last one ofyou!") appears to be carried out. The vast majority of this book movesalong at the leisurely pace of life in the Deep South, and it's a wonderfulstudy of small town life. When the plot sneaks up on you, it starts to movealong quite well.I enjoyed this book a bunch. I'd give it a 4.more
Disappointing. Thriller? Not at all. Suspense? No. Portrayal of the newspaper business in Mississippi in the 1970s, mildly interesting as that, but flying under false pretenses as a Grisham.more
This was a cut above Grisham's usually predictable novels.more
I finished this book and wondered if it was a bait and switch. I mean, there are jurors in the book and all that, but they often fade into the background. The main character is actually a reporter/editor of a small town newspaper and the story is arguably about his 10 year odyssey in the town. The book is a broad tapestry, with scenes of family, coming of age, politics, religion, urbanization and, oh yeah, a murder trial. If you're looking for a straightforward thriller, you might find this one lacking. But maybe you should check it out anyway. It's well written and entertaining.--J.more
Grisham’s GreatestUsing a small Mississippi town during the 1970s as a backdrop, John Grisham renders, what I believe, is his finest novel.Unforgettable characters, traumatic events, unforeseen twists and a life-like conclusion combine to create this fast-paced read. Too many of Grisham’s books, in my opinion, conclude with forced endings. It is almost as if the author is worn-out by the plot and his characters so he forces the story into an unreal finish.That is not the case with this book. Set in the south during desegregation, the end of the Viet Nam War and the beginning of suburban and rural sprawl, Grisham characters are believable. They reflect the times in which they live. They live; they die. They enjoy success; they struggle with life’s dilemmas.This is not your typical Grisham novel. I, for one, am grateful for that. Novelists should grow with experience. With this book, Grisham leaps from the category of “popular novelist” to “great writer.”more
Great book!Although the story is wrapped around crime and courtroom drama, it's really about people and a community. The legal aspect is just a framework. I really enjoyed it.more
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