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February 20, 2009

The Appeal

by John Grisham

I’d like to be able to say this is classic Grisham, but… Although the story-telling is up to his usual high, page-turning standard, the ending did leave me a little cold and yes, disappointed – and that’s not easy for me to say as a staunch Grisham fan.

In a nutshell, a lawsuit is filed against a chemicals company for allegedly dumping toxic waste and causing a cancer cluster in a small-town community. A big verdict is awarded. All very Erin Brockovich. However, a large part of the story then centres on the crusade of the billionaire behind the chemicals company, Carl Trudeau, and how money talks when it comes to overturning the verdict. The appeal hangs on the sway of a newly elected justice on the Mississippi Supreme Court, groomed, manipulated and planted by Trudeau.

There is plenty of intrigue and intricacy but, having made such an effort to follow the legal and political shenanigans, I expected a much bigger reward from the ending. For me, the story fizzled out like a dud firework.

I hope to see a return to vintage Grisham very soon.

James’ out-of-five star rating: **

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