The Runaway Jury by John Grisham
If you want to know what wicked smart means, it points to a extremely small number of people in this world, who can control a tricky situation and come out victorious. Grisham is either remarkably prescient or just plain lucky; because with public concerns about the tobacco companies, he has come up with a tobacco-suit novel that lights up the courtroom.
This story is about a law-suite between a widow and four big cigarette companies cumulatively called ‘big-four’ by common people. This was ‘the’ case where the plaintiff’s lawyers finally struck the invincible “big-four” and bring the flood of law-suit to kneel them down. The last and perfect opportunity.
In a Mississippi Gulf Coast town, the widow of a lifelong smoker who died prematurely of lung cancer is suing Big Tobacco.
And when there is a law-suit issue to solve, Mr Rankin Fitch is the person to call. He saved the big four from the last nine of them. He did it with ease. They had cost him millions of dollars, lot of manpower, blood and sweat, swindling, deceptions, bribery and what not? But every time he was able to pull out a win out of his hat.
And you know what, this time, for the biggest case of all, he was offered the verdict for the defense on a plate. Marlin, a mystery woman, promised him the verdict in exchange of 10 million dollars. You see, she was planning this for a long time, and finally was able to plant an accomplish in the jury. And she did it in the greatest trial of the cigarette history. It was her game to play.
As usual with Grisham, the writing is no more than workmanlike, the characterizations are alternatively thin and too broad, but all is redeemed by his patented combination of expertise and narrative drive.
What makes The Runaway Jury his most rewarding novel to date is that it is fully enlisted in an issue of substance, in which arguments of genuine pith are hammered out and resolved in a manner that is both intellectually and emotionally satisfying. It's a thriller for people who think, and Jesse Helms won't like it one bit.
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