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A Time to Kill by John Grisham

A Time to Kill (1989)

by John Grisham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Jake Brigance (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,093116329 (3.83)103
  1. 111
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: A Time to Kill's courtroom drama and emphasis on race relations in a small town in the South definitely brought to mind the trial scenes in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.
  2. 10
    The King of Lies by John Hart (VictoriaPL)
  3. 10
    The Quiet Game by Greg Iles (VictoriaPL)
  4. 01
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett (citygirl)
    citygirl: The ugliness of small-town Mississippi in racial matters wrapped in a compelling, page-turning story.

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English (111)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All (115)
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
A Time to Kill is being reissued, as Jake Brigance is back in court again in Grisham’s new book, Sycamore Row.

This well crafted legal thriller is a pager turner that is hard to set down as bigotry and racism cause "burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets". It is John Grisham's first, and he says one of his favorite novels.

Grisham heard the story of a young rape victim and started a book exploring the "what if" her father was a black Vietnam Vet who killed her white assailants on the courthouse steps. Lawyer Jake Brigance must find a way to defend him. Grisham set the novel in the vocation he knew, the area he lived, and populated it with characters that were an amalgam of people he lived near. The plot is well thought out and moves naturally. ( )
  KCV | Jul 24, 2017 |
Justice and Revenge
The story of a guilty man and his judgment in Clinton, Mississippi. Revenge leads to a double murder. Can the jury appreciate his motives? Is it possible to justify the murders of two whites men by a black one? The story of Carl Lee Hailey's judgment and the facts that surrounds it is telling in a riveting way by John Grisham. Once I start to read it, I get hooked. The book flows nicely and is very interesting. This is the first book by Grisham. I must proceed to the others. ( )
  MarcusBastos | Jul 10, 2017 |
I recently wrote that I couldn't see myself ever giving a Grisham book less than 3 stars...now I guess I should eat my words....This is Grisham's very first novel, and having re-read a number of his other books recently, it shows. The writing is rambling, he includes a lot of irrelevant detail and he is far more crass and lewd than he is in his other books. The subject matter may be to blame for some of these aspects, but cannot explain all of them.

The story is centred around trial lawyer Jake Brigance who ends up defending a black man who is being tried for the murder of two white men. Oh.....and he murdered them because they raped his ten year old daughter. The story opens with the very graphic details of the appalling rape. I was tempted to abandon the book after the first few pages but realised that once the main event was over, it should become more bearable. However, the details are obviously replayed during the trial and throughout the book. The murders of the two white men are also extremely graphic--details of the bodies after death. Further to this, there are several scenes where members of the Ku Klux Klan kidnap and torture people which don't make for light reading....

There are a number of sub plots and fringe characters, a few of them seemed to be superfluous and just confused me. I didn't warm to the main character (the lawyer Brigance) at all and didn't like the way he treated his family, his colleagues, his clients or anyone else for that matter. I also found the leering over his secretary cringeworthy and the frequent comments about her underwear or lack of it.

I can't even say that the writing is good. The book is far too long, and although it highlights some important aspects of racial tensions in the Southern US, I found some of the stereotypes annoying and exaggerated to the point that I wanted to skip over entire passages just to get to the point.

All of this not mentioning that Grisham claims to be a Christian. I have said enough about that in other reviews of his books and I'm not sure whether he was a Christian when he wrote this. There is some bad language although it is not frequent and not of the worst kind. There is obviously extreme violence and there are several sexual scenes although mostly it is just offensive innuendo.

Christian readers should probably give this one a miss especially as there are others out there that are so much better. Try for a more worthwhile read that won't make you nauseous!

( )
  sparkleandchico | Jun 2, 2017 |
A Time To Kill is a very touching and challenging page-turner that has its powerful plot set around the brutal rape and beating of a ten-year-old African American girl named Tonya by two racists—white supremacists—in Mississippi. Believing that they wouldn't be held accountable for their crimes, the two hicks brag to their associates. But now Carl Lee, Tonya's father is out on a vigilante-style mission to avenge his baby girl ... And the plot thickens.

This was a very touchy novel, really getting me a bit roused as I had been reading it, but it's superbly-written and punch-packing. Kudos to Grisham on yet another legal thriller masterpiece worthy of five stars. A must-read ( )
  CatEllington | May 5, 2017 |
An absolutely terrific story. The movie is lousy, but the book is one of his best. ( )
  KyCharlie | Apr 3, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Grishamprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tremps, EnricTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Renée,
  A woman of uncommon beauty,
  A fiercely loyal friend,
  A compassionate critic,
  A doting mother,
A perfect wife.
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Billy Ray Cobb was the younger and smaller of the two rednecks.
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Book description
Clanton, Mississippi

The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until the black father acquires an assault rifle - and takes justice into his own outraged hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack fo sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, then nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client's life .. and then his own ...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385338600, Paperback)

This addictive tale of a young lawyer defending a black Vietnam war hero who kills the white druggies who raped his child in tiny Clanton, Mississippi, is John Grisham's first novel, and his favorite of his first six. He polished it for three years and every detail shines like pebbles at the bottom of a swift, sunlit stream. Grisham is a born legal storyteller and his dialogue is pitch perfect.

The plot turns with jeweled precision. Carl Lee Hailey gets an M-16 from the Chicago hoodlum he'd saved at Da Nang, wastes the rapists on the courthouse steps, then turns to attorney Jake Brigance, who needs a conspicuous win to boost his career. Folks want to give Carl Lee a second medal, but how can they ignore premeditated execution? The town is split, revealing its social structure. Blacks note that a white man shooting a black rapist would be acquitted; the KKK starts a new Clanton chapter; the NAACP, the ambitious local reverend, a snobby, Harvard-infested big local firm, and others try to outmaneuver Jake and his brilliant, disbarred drunk of an ex-law partner. Jake hits the books and the bottle himself. Crosses burn, people die, crowds chant "Free Carl Lee!" and "Fry Carl Lee!" in the antiphony of America's classical tragedy. Because he's lived in Oxford, Mississippi, Grisham gets compared to Faulkner, but he's really got the lean style and fierce folk moralism of John Steinbeck. --Tim Appelo

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:12 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

When Carl Lee Hailey guns down the monsters who have raped his ten-year-old child, the people of Clanton see it as a crime of blood and call for his acquittal. But when extremists outside Clanton hear that a black man has killed two white men, they invade the town, determined to destroy anything and anyone that opposes their sense of justice.… (more)

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