The Last Juror

The Last Juror

by John Grisham

Gail Reid (05/10/12): After spending 5 years at a northern journalism school, southerner William Traynor has nothing to show for it except memories of parties and good times. Listening to a buddy, he goes to work for a deep south weekly, buys the paper, finds himself through his work, and changes the town over the next decade.

Of course there is a crime; this is a Grisham novel. William, who becomes "Willie" in Mississippi, uses his newspaper to write about a savage rape and murder and expose the murderer from a notorious local crime family.

But the book is really about the evolution of Willie and his weekly lunch with an elderly, self-educated black woman whose 7 children all have PhDs. Miss Callie is a juror on the trial which sent the murderer to prison. It is this unlikely friendship in the early seventies that makes this such a good read. On the cusp of integration, there is plenty for Willie to editorialize about and plenty of characters to build a life with.

I think John Grisham is a master of pacing; and you will,too, as you keep turning those pages to find out what is going on with the crime over the years, the jury, and all the characters that make up life in Clanton, Mississippi.
Rating: ****

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