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The Last Juror

Posted - Feb. 23, 2004 at 8:31 a.m.



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THE LAST JUROR By John Grisham

John Grisham’s latest bestseller is more A Painted House than The Firm, although it includes elements of both. It involves a murder and the legal system and would have been a more captivating read if it had focused on that. Here’s my problem – Grisham writes the driving legal thriller really well. The Firm, The Client, A Time to Kill. But he does not write slow, easy, introspection well – leave that for Toni Morrison or Anne Tyler.

The Last Juror starts slow and gets slower, with one brief spike that grabs you in the middle. It’s the story of a lazy young college grad from up north who winds up buying the small town weekly newspaper in Clanton, Mississippi. He covers a spectacular murder and the trial that follows, but then the book gets into everything from anti-Vietnam sentiment to anti-Walmart – all without passion or innovation.

Near the end of the book, the main character says he is sick of Clanton, and I knew exactly how he felt. I was sick of it too. I feel where Grisham wants to go, but it’s just not working for me. Grisham is just not literary enough to be that boring.

Having said that, a mediocre Grisham is still better than a whole lot of other books out there, so take my disappointment with a grain of salt. John Grisham’s latest legal thriller without the thriller part is The Last Juror. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio 1160, I’m Amanda Dickson.

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