The Last Juror by John Grisham

The Last Juror by John Grisham: 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.

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