July 28, 2016

The Appeal by John Grisham

Title:  The Appeal
Author:  John Grisham
Pages:  324
Genre:  Legal Thriller
Publisher:  Doubleday, 2008
Series:  Stand Alone

Synopsis:  Politics has always been a dirty game.  Now justice is, too.

In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town’s water supply, causing the worst “cancer cluster” in history. The company appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it.

Who are the nine? How will they vote? Can one be replaced before the case is ultimately decided?

The chemical company is owned by a Wall Street predator named Carl Trudeau, and Mr. Trudeau is convinced the Court is not friendly enough. With judicial elections looming, he decides to try to purchase himself a seat on the Court. The cost is a few million dollars, a drop in the bucket for a billionaire like Mr. Trudeau. Through an intricate web of conspiracy and deceit, his political operatives recruit a young, unsuspecting candidate. They finance him, manipulate him, market him, and mold him into a potential Supreme Court justice. Their Supreme Court justice.

The Appeal is a powerful, timely, and shocking story of political and legal intrigue, a story that will leave readers unable to think about our electoral process or judicial system in quite the same way ever again.

Review:  John Grisham outdoes himself this time.  I was so ready for a happy ending, or at least a fair ending.  This book isn't fair.  It isn't happy.  It's a story of what could (and probably has) happened.  The story made me angry, sad, and upset and I'm sure that's exactly what the author had in mind.  In this instance, the truth does not set you free -- it's just plain horrible.

The main characters were all very human.  Some were good, some were bad, and the rest were somewhere in between.  I ended up feeling the most sorry for the justice of the Supreme Court that Carl Trudeau buys.  He was idealistic and had no idea the monster he'd aligned himself with until it was far too late.  His family winds up facing a tragedy and then he realizes what he's done by supporting 'big business' over real people.  So sad because this really very well-meaning man has to look himself in the mirror every day and know he sold out.

I loved this book.

Rating:  9 / 10

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