In Biloxi, Mississippi, a woman sues a tobacco company for the death of her husband from lung cancer. The protagonists are a jury fixer, that is a lawyer whose role is to assure a jury favorable to the company, and a rogue juror whom the fixer cannot eliminate or control. This is a landmark tobacco trial with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake which begins routinely, then swerves mysteriously off course. The jury is behaving strangely, and at least one juror is convinced he's being watched. Soon they have to be sequestered. Then a tip from an anonymous young woman suggests she is able to predict the jurors' increasingly odd behavior. Is the jury somehow being manipulated, or even controlled? If so, by whom? And, more important, why?
Decision: Not bad. But the movie is better due to some good paring-down and elevating finesse touches on the basic concept.
As always, Grisham's got a message. This time the target is tobacco. Two teams of lawyers are ready to go at in a civil case a widow of a cancer victim has brought against the tobacco company. Both sides are willing to go to great means to win over the jury. But these plans are thrown off-kilter when they are offered a chance to buy the verdict outright by one unassuming jury member.
Grisham's experience definitely adds some really nice detail to how calculating 'the law' can really be, even before the illegal shenanigans begin. I certainly won't soon see a mustard-stained tie without the air of manipulation again. Working against the tension, though, is simply that the focus it spread a little thin. Between the plaintiff's lawyers and the defense lawyers, the judge, the shadow men behind the defense, the jury, and the conspiracy... it's all a bit busy. When it all comes down to the final moment, the jury has the say. With all the extra brouhaha, I felt a little detached from any momentum of what each individual jury members were thinking, robbing the story of truly sweet 12 Angry Men moments.
There is always some level of suspense in The Runaway Jury. Grisham has a compelling knack for throwing readers into the middle of a puzzle and then feeding them the pieces, one by one – a knack which is established right from the very first page. He meticulously manages how much readers know, and how much they should be able to figure out at any given stage of the plot. The overall outcome is disappointingly predictable, but there are plenty of smaller twists and turns to keep readers guessing away in vain. Even more difficult is the task of pointing out right from wrong – Grisham's characters are all so deliciously crooked that readers won't know who to cheer for!
Much of The Runaway Jury takes place in a courtroom, so Grisham's experience as an attorney lends itself well to the narration. Having taken Legal Studies at school, I enjoyed the extra layer of realism, and found that it added a professional edge to the novel. Those with less interest in the law, however, may find the legal jargon confusing at times, and might need a few chapters to settle into the jury box.
With its intriguing ideas and energetic storyline, The Runaway Jury is a highly readable example of just how much fun the crime genre can be. Recommended especially for those with an interest in the justice system.
Grisham tells the story with a third person POV that puts you right into the action as a God. RUNAWAY JURY is about how a young couple with an agenda were able to manipulate a jury from the inside, and also by manipulating the attorney's conducting the litigation. The writing is always clear and interesting, and not bogged down with inane or complicated conversations -- even though a lot "technical" information about cigarette advertising and the development of addiction strategies is imparted.
The "characters" of the putative protagonists of the story are a bit thin. The litigators -- bless 'em -- and even the other members of the jury, are filled in much more completely.
I have to admit that of late I have been rather dissapointed by Grisham's work, particularly his novel the Summons for its incessent repetition of points already communicated ad infinitum, but this novel is certainly among his best.
Tracking the course of a civil trial against Big Tobacco, and detailing the lengths both sides will go to to secure a victory, [book: The Runaway Jury] is one of Grisham's fast-paced legal dramas. This book is probably the last Grisham book that I bought and enjoyed, and I've read it more than any of the others (except [book: A Time to Kill]). After scheming for years to make it onto the jury of a tobacco trail, Nicholas and his partner Marlee finally succeed in placing themselves squarely in the middle of a pitched battle about tobacco and product liability. As Nicholas works to gain control of the jury, Marlee works on both plaintiff and defendent, offering victory to both sides (for a high price). The twist at the end is enjoyable, and despite the fact that Nicholas and Marlee are working to undermine our entire legal system, you can't help but like them and support them in their efforts.
I picked up [book: The Runaway Jury] a few days ago when reshelving books, and decided to give it another whirl. It is an enjoyable light read that helps to cleanse the palette after more serious or depressing fare. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend The Runaway Jury.
In this novel Grisham dissects the tobacco industry. Given the absolutely stunning amount of money involved in the recent class action suits against the tobacco companies, Grisham starts with the assumption, a quite reasonable one, that the industry lawyers will stop at nothing to prevent a decision going against them and they set aside a huge slush fund to pay for all sorts of dirty tricks.
Someone else decides to manipulate the jury results to their own profit (there’s a not unpredictable link to the anit-smokers involved, but what they do with the money is really nifty even if I didn’t quite understand how they did it). Soon the corporate lawyers are being sucked into a scheme they can’t control but think they might be able to manipulate. In the meantime they are sublty, and not so secretly, attempting to influence the jurors to their way of thinking.
Grisham knows how to write courtroom drama and this book has some of his best.
Read one other book by this author and thought I'd try another as I enjoyed the process of the clues to solving the mysteries that arise.
Love how he captures your attention and holds it for the whole book as the plot moves along.
Interesting learning how the tobacco company didn't feel they were to blame for the people who died from smoking.. I know nothing of the jury process so that part was interesting to learn about.
Liked all the statistics and the ongoings of the people during the trial on the jury.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).