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The King of Torts

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I will probably read everything John Grisham ever writes. I can’t help myself. That’s how much I loved The Firm, A Time to Kill and maybe even The Pelican Brief. Grisham’s latest legal thriller is . . . Grisham. You feel at home with his obvious suspense like you do when you’re eating pizza. You know it’s probably not good for you, but you just keep eating. Bite after bite it doesn’t get any better, but you keep eating just the same. It seems like Grisham doesn’t like lawyers any more in The King of Torts, sort of the way it seems that Scott Turow doesn’t like women. In Turow’s books, the leading female characters are always drug-taking, ladder-climbing, gold-digging babes with no conscience. And in the King of Torts, the hero is also the villain, and he’s a young lawyer. He works for the public defender’s office not because he believes the indigent deserve a vigorous defense, but because none of the big corporate firms would have him. Then he gets a murder case, and mysteriously millions of dollars fall in his lap from an unnamed drug company whose latest wonder drug has the unfortunate side effect of making its victims homicidal. Our hero struggles with his conscious for less time than it takes him to picture himself in a new Porsche, and the book goes downhill from there. Yes - the insider stuff about mass tort lawyers is interesting. Yes - you are still mildly entertained even though you see what’s coming from a mile away. I just so yearn for the suspense of The Firm or the thoughtfulness of The Pelican Brief. But that’s like wishing Norman Mailer had written The Naked and the Dead again. It’s not there - but hey - I never turned down a slice of good, greasy pizza. Number one on the New York Times bestseller list for the second week in a row, John Grisham’s latest is The King of Torts. On the book beat, for KSL Newsradio 1160, I’m Amanda Dickson.

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