The Runaway Jury (1996) by John Grisham is a great mystery with many intriguing layers to both the plot and the various characters involved. It was Grisham’s seventh novel.
The story follows the jury in a trail Wood v. Pynex about whether to hold tobacco companies accountable for the illness and death caused to people who use their products. Set in Biloxi, Mississippi the trail is a massive trail which draws much media attention and corruption is abounding both inside the jury and outside to influence the vital verdict. Money is a huge factor for the tobacco companies and Rankin Fitch is tasked with swaying the jury in the tobacco companies’ favour by any means. But he has two opponents ready and willing to take him on: juror Nicholas Easter, real name Jeff Kerr, and a secret woman who is his girlfriend and partner in business Marlee, real name Gabrielle Brant. Wendall Rohr has filed a suit on behalf of Celeste Wood who lost her husband to lung cancer against tobacco company Pynex. For the defense is Durwood Cable.
There is a great variety of characters in this story that all add to the plot in their own ways alongside the main characters. All the jurors have their own backstories which ensure their paths in the trail and we really get to know their manners. They are a great mixture and are very true to life including those who follow and those who don’t. A very compellingly told story that deals with many important issues like the power of the addiction cigarettes has and the lack of ethics in the tobacco industry, discrimination and the past coming back to haunt. This book shows many sides of life from compassion to ruthlessness. There actually isn’t too many characters in this book who aren’t deeply flawed in some way or other so that adds to the drama. You never know what is going to happen next.
A fantastic read.
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