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THE CHAMBER [Paperback]

3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (261 customer reviews)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If your idea of a good book is one where there is lots of action and fascinating twists and turns of plot complications pop up on every page, you shouldn't go anywhere near The Chamber. If, however, you would like to gain a visceral sense of the issues around capital punishment, The Chamber is a well-constructed fictional treatment. It won't be a pretty or a pleasant experience, but neither is capital punishment.

I remember as a youngster carefully following the case of Caryl Chessman, a convicted robber and rapist who was executed in California's gas chamber. Reading The Chamber brought back those visceral memories of thinking through my reactions to the death penalty. I became an opponent. Most people who read this book will too.

John Grisham does a good job of making the book about the death penalty, rather than the general flaws in the legal system. He also explains the reasons why gas chambers were an awful way to execute criminals.

The condemned man in the story is clearly guilty, by his own admission, in the book; but Grisham makes him somewhat appealing: Grisham wants us to think about what should happen to this old white man, Sam Cayhall, a KKK member who participated in terror bombings in the South during the Civil Rights era. Grisham's clever idea for this book is to have Sam's grandson Adam Hall, who doesn't know his grandfather, handle the last few weeks of desperate appeals. Hall becomes a surrogate for a neutral observer in a situation where there can be no neutral observers.

I was impressed by the plotting and character development in the story. Murder creates more victims than most people realize, even among the killer's family. Grisham adds those dimensions in persuasive fashion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Eductional? Grusome? Great Book! March 7 2004
Format:Audio CD
The Chamber is a book that can't be put down and left unread! It gives you a true look into the racial issues from the 1960's. The detail that John Grisham gives in this book would not be recommended for the "weak" stomach! As you read the book, as The Chamber goes along, the grusome details become very clear. The best book for a true education that's put into novel form to make the story "true to life"! Be prepared! The book is great!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, makes a person think twice Nov. 14 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For a former lawyer who has never witnessed a death row case, John Grisham's ability to portray such a case was impeccable. John Grisham tells the story of an ex-KKK member who is on death row for the murder of two young boys, and his defense attorney is his estranged grandson. Grisham was able to capture all the emotion and reality of an inmate's life on death row, and the lives of the inmate's family, as though death row cases were part of his daily routine. The Chamber is a complex novel about a controversial and painful topic to which almost every person has an opinion. During Grisham's time as an attorney he represented people accused of a variety of crimes, but never a capital murder case. John Grisham used the expertise of lawyers and members of the judicial system to learn about all aspects of a death row inmate's life and their cases. The Chamber is intended for an adult audience who has an interest in the controversial topic of the death penalty that causes them to reflect upon personal views and beliefs.
The Chamber is a compelling story of a family's deep, dark secrets that have been hidden from everyone, including each other... The book captures the reader's attention during the first chapter...
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Grisham Novel Oct. 18 2003
By Alan
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Those who read alot of Grisham novels know that a typical book written by John Grisham is suspensful, fast-paced, and a quick read. Well don't expect that at all from THE CHAMBER. The book is almost 700 pages and the plot and storyline go alot slower, as the characters are more developed.
The story starts with Sam Cayhall, a racist KKK member who bombed a Jewish lawyer's office killing his two sons. Sam Cayhall is about to be sentenced to death by the gas chamber. Adam, who is a fresh and young laywer, gets involved in the case. Adam is Sam's grandson who wants to know about his turbulent past. The book is about Adam's fight to try and save his grandfather from the gas chamber.
The book is not preachy, but is a novel against the death penalty. It talks about botched executions, racial imbalances in executions, and how it is morally wrong. I am a believer in the death penalty, but this book has softened my views, though has not changed it. The book is also about Adam as he copes with his past, from his father's suicide to his aunt who wants nothing to do with Sam.
A pretty good novel, though different from Grisham's usual work. It isn't a bad novel for sure, though it could use a bit of trimming. Grisham does make it hard to sympathize with Sam, because Grisham is well aware that generally the death row inmates are not angels.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm now right in the middle of reading John Grisham's "The Chamber". I discovered John Grisham several years ago. At one point in my life, I had lost my capability to read. When I got that capability back, I found the Author John Grisham. I truly enjoy his mixture of Novel/Educational writing! I've learned so much about our Law Makers and The Lawyers who work with the laws in a very interesting, delightfull way thanks to this special Author! This book concerns the first decade of my life. I can remember many of the events that John Grisham inserts materfully into this book during that decade. The 1960's! My children don't and can't conceive the events that took place during the Black American revolution! This book states the events in a clear manner. I would recommend this book for adults and children at their parent's discretion. If you like to read Novels that educate you, you'll love "The Chamber" by John Grisham! Note Date: October 10, 2003. I've now finished this great book. In it's detail, I wouldn't suggest this book for the younger children.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Could not put it down. An eye opener
Published 3 months ago by Eve Drouin
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping.
This is one of Grisham better offerings. It drawns you into the stories of the two lead characters and paints a gruesome and heartwrenching picture. Read more
Published on June 17 2011 by J Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and moving
A friend of mine lent this to me saying it's the best book he's ever read. I can see why some people would think this. Read more
Published on July 8 2004 by D. Spidet
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad book on death penalty
I think this book has portrayed fairly well on the position against the death penalty. It made more powerful argument than, I'd say, Life of David Gail. Read more
Published on July 1 2004 by Pseudonymus
4.0 out of 5 stars My Review on the Chamber
The Chamber by John Grishman was an okay book. The good points of the book were the details, the legal "terms", and the realistic quality. Read more
Published on May 30 2004 by "sell0uts0ciety"
1.0 out of 5 stars Depth
Clumsy. A pathetic attempt to convey emotion. Ending was a total disappointment. Plots lines went nowhere. The characters are impossible to relate to and feel for. Read more
Published on April 4 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent read
The Chamber is the story of young Adam Hall who stands poised at the brink of a highly promising legal career. Read more
Published on April 3 2004 by A. Bayhan
3.0 out of 5 stars Whaaa?
eh, the book was took forever to get to the climax, but it was alright.
Published on March 11 2004 by "svturtlechick"
2.0 out of 5 stars OK but not a realistic portrayal of a racist murderer
The Chamber is well-written and has a decent storyline. As such, it is a typical John Grisham legal thriller, although, as it happens, it is not one of my favorites. Read more
Published on March 11 2004 by Roger J. Buffington
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS READER IS ALWAYS A HIT
John Grisham's books are never hit or miss, they're always hits and so is this audio version of The Chamber, which centers on young lawyer Adam Hall. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2004 by Gail Cooke
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