The Last Juror (1981) by John Grisham is a fantastic read.
Set in Mississippi in the ’70s, 23-year-old Willie Traynor has taken the helm at The Ford County Times. When a young mother Rhoda Kassellaw is killed by Danny Pagitt from the local dangerous family the Padgitts, Willie and his colleagues report on the case. When Danny is found guilty, he swears revenge against the jurors who put him away. In Mississippi, life doesn’t mean forever and after nine years he is released. Willie becomes friends with one of the jurors Callie Ruffin who is the first black person to be on a jury in the town. Through his friendship with Callie, he gets an inside track on the proceedings of the trial.
As always, there is a gorgeous crispness and directness to Grisham’s writing and the plot is great. There was great backstory of the characters and as a reader, you feel that you really get to know the characters very well. The book deals with important issues like murder, rape, gangland violence, racism and touches on other forms of prejudice too and also deals with corruption and the media’s ‘Going after the story’ mentality with often a lack of concern for the people involved.
Grisham is just a genius with a pen/computer and this is yet another excellent read which keeps you reading and reading to find out the conclusion. There is a mini mystery to it as well which is well-written and not obvious.
A brilliant read.
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