Theodore Boone: Theodore Boone By John Grisham Review!

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Theodore Boone: Theodore Boone (2010) by John Grisham is the first in a YA series of books which Grisham wrote.

The story follows the protagonist who the book is titled after Theodore Boone. Boone is a thirteen year old who longs to be a lawyer when he grows up and in this first outing we see him in pet court defending a school pal and the girl he likes Hallie as she tries to hold onto her pet dog Rocky who had escaped from their house. Outside of pet court Boone has another case to deal with although this one he must get the information to the Judge without being a lawyer in the case. A woman Myra Duffy has been murdered and her husband Pete Duffy is on trial for the murder. Boone learns some information from a classmate of his Julio whose cousin Bobby witnessed something which could prove that Pete did murder Myra. The information is vital as it looks like Pete will get away with murder. But Bobby is reluctant to give the information towards the case as he is illegally in the country.

An intriguing book with a lot of accessible information on the law. Theodore is a great main character too with such wonderful ambition for his life and there’s a great cast of characters in this book from Hallie to Julio, April who is another friend of Theodore’s whose parents are going through a divorce and Theodore’s mother, father and uncle. His mother and father were lawyers and his uncle used to be. I haven’t read any more of the Theodore Boone books as of yet but this is an interesting read and hopefully at some stage I’ll get the chance to read where Theodore’s journey takes him in the future. There is also a great Q & A with John Grisham at the back of this book.

A great read.

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Calico Joe By John Grisham Review!

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Calico Joe (2012) by John Grisham is a great read and a departure from his usual mystery writings.


This book is set in the baseball world and this story is influenced by the true story of Ray Chapman who was killed by a pitch as well as being influenced by Grisham’s own days of playing baseball when he was younger. The story is about how the career of a talented player “Calico Joe” Castle was ended in an intentionally dangerous and cruel fashion by Warren Tracey. The incident leaves Castle in a coma and fighting for his life. He survives but has a stroke and is incapacitated for life. Thirty years pass and the aftermath of the historical event is told from the point of view of Warren’s son Paul Tracey who was 11 at the time who is a huge fan of Castle’s. His father is near to death from pancreas cancer and Paul sets up a meeting between the pair to see if they can finally put the past behind them.

This book is a very touching novel about forgiveness and letting go of resentment. It is also a book about guilt and how guilt eats away at someone. It has a wonderful message about how things are more important than the game and how maturity leads to realising the things you did in your past were wrong. It also is intriguing in that it shows the human side behind baseball players off the pitch and is at times a very emotional read. It won’t be for all John Grisham fans as it is a departure from his usual mystery writings but I loved it.


A really great and heartwarming short read.

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The Last Juror By John Grisham Review!

Last Juror


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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The Testament By John Grisham Review!

The Testament - John Grisham - The Bookmanship


The Testament (1999) by John Grisham is another outstanding read by the author.

The story follows a well-used plot of a rich man Troy Phelan dying and the legal wrangles and drama that follow with his will when family members and employees don’t get what they feel they are due. But it is Grisham’s richly fleshed out writing which really makes this plot fresh, new and very interesting. The book which is a long enough read becomes a real page turner which each chapter as we get to know all the players involved in the game of greed for money. Grisham also brings many topics and issues into the plot, weaving them very seamlessly in, like mental health, suicide, alcoholism, viruses and religion. This book becomes more than a book about a rich man’s will and becomes a book about life and the realities of it. We see the greed of the family and employees but also the greed of the lawyers and psychiatrists as the book unfolds. Everyone seems out to gain something by any means.

The book then shows the other side of this when Nate O’Riley is sent to Brazil to find Rachel Lane or Rachel Porter as she is now known. Rachel is a missionary who is Troy’s illegitimate daughter and he has left his eleven billion dollars solely to her. But when Nate meets Rachel, he soon realizes that she is content in her way of life in Brazil where she is a missionary and doctor and lives a quiet life of prayer. She doesn’t wish to have the money or change her way of life. She has an impact on Nate in more ways than one and a romantic emotion simmers between them but never goes any further. But she helps him find a peace through religion that he hasn’t found in his life so far and it stays with him.

I very much enjoyed the book. I just love how Grisham gets to the heart of why each character is the way they are, writes so crisply and to the point and always delves into issues with his writing. The part about the cow was heartbreaking though and has ensured that I remember Vaca is Portuguese for cow! The ending is also heartbreaking but very touching too.

All round a great read.

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The Runaway Jury By John Grisham Review!

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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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The Partner By John Grisham Review!

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The Partner (1997) by John Grisham is a wonderfully crafted legal mystery by a master of the genre.


The book follows the story of Danilo Silva, previously known as Patrick Lanigan, who disappeared from America to Brazil and started a new life on the run. Along with him has went ninety million dollars and he left behind a burning car with a body in it. Four years pass and he is tracked down in Brazil and tortured. Soon we realise Danilo’s story is not as straightforward as it first appeared …


I found this a very intriguing read. With each chapter more layers of Danilo’s past come to the surface and as a character he is very interesting. With each new piece of the plot and his past you become more and more intrigued to find out exactly where the story is going. It’s a very entertaining read as you’d expect from John Grisham. There is many twists and turns and even though I didn’t see the ending coming I thought it ended very well. Admittedly there could have been a few clues along the way to how it would end but all in all I think it works. From a writing perspective though I kind of liked, without giving too much away, that he didn’t go for a happy-ever-after ending because the atmosphere in the book never felt like it would end happy to be fair.


There is other brilliant characters as well as Danilo who feature heavily in the story. Two equally complex and interesting characters are Danilo’s love interest Eva and his friend Sandy. The three of these characters combine well and add a lot to the story. A trademark of the writer’s work is his excellent attention to detail. And this book is no exception. From the small details to the bigger details of the plot he leaves no stone unturned and writes a very compelling book.


There is also much humour in the story and great psychology into the mindsets of the characters. Their personalities are very authentic to life. As always there was a great insight into the legal world and legal matters. It is quite a long read but well worth the time.


A compelling, great read.


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The Confession By John Grisham Review!

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The Confession (2010) by John Grisham is an intriguing legal thriller which is gorgeously crafted.


John Grisham books always make me happy to read because my late father was a huge John Grisham fan. My Dad clearly had great taste in books.


Set in 1998 in Sloan, Texas the story follows the struggle to try to get a young man Donte Drumm who was arrested nine years ago for the murder of a young woman Nicole “Nikki” Yarber free as he approaches the death penalty four days from when the story starts. It falls to heir to the Flak law firm Robbie Flak and Reverend Keith Schroeder to try to help him as another man Travis Boyette, who now has a brain tumour and will soon die, has admitted that he murdered Yarber. This book is very emotive and seeing the pain that Drumm and his family are going through and seeing it dragging on and on is so heartbreaking.

It is so obvious that so much research has went into the putting together of this book. It is a long read but well worth giving time to. It is a stunning constructed and crafted book filled with emotion, suspense and human dynamics. The characters in this book are so different from each other and all of them are so well-rounded that it makes the novels intriguing and engaging. We also learn about the legal system in this book. Some of it went over my head admittedly but it added wonderfully to the story and the overall picture of the scenes before us.

While we know who the murderer is, the real suspense comes from whether name can save Drumm’s life or will the ending be filled with sadness and with Grisham’s backstory for Drumm and his family the reader easily gets invested in wanting him to be saved even more than they would. It’s all very authentic, gritty and true to life that it leaves the reader with much thought-provoking questions about the legal system while also seeing the upside of it. This book also speaks of important issues like the death penalty, the lack of compassion where procedure is concerned and prejudice in many areas from race to class.


A truly wonderful book, a bit of a masterpiece really, and a must-read.


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