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The Appeal [Mass Market Paperback]

John Grisham
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 18 2008
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.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A Mississippi jury returns a $41-million verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping carcinogenic waste into a small town's water supply. The company's ruthless billionaire CEO is thwarted and the good guys (a courageous young woman who lost her husband and child and her two lawyers who've gone half a million dollars in debt preparing her case) receives its just reward. This sounds like the end of a Grisham legal thriller, but instead it's the beginning of a book-length lesson in how greed and big business have corrupted our electoral and judicial systems. Grisham's characters are over-the-top. The CEO and the other equally overdone villains—his venal trophy wife, a self-serving senator and a pair of smarmy political fixers—as well as the unbelievably good-hearted, self-sacrificing lawyers and an honorable state judge, are one dimensional. Michael Beck, with his natural Southern drawl, does a fine job of adding credibility and nuance to the large cast. But his efforts are for naught. In fact, the more he makes us feel for these characters, the less apt we are to be satisfied with the sourball moral of Grisham's downbeat discourse.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


“Building a remarkable degree of suspense…Grisham delivers his savviest book in years. His extended vacation from hard–hitting fiction is over.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

A novel that could become its own era–defining classic. John Grisham holds up that same mirror to our age as Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities.”—The Boston Globe

Chilling and timeless.”—The Washington Post

“An intricately detailed, involving story…the ending may surprise you.”—People

Stirring popular fiction that doubles as an important public–service announcement.”—Entertainment Weekly

Packs a wallop…The timing, in the midst of all the presidential primaries, makes it all the more compelling.”–USA Today

Fascinating…filled with deadly accurate characterizations by and author who knows both the law and politics from the inside.”–Los Angeles Times

A clever story and thoughtful plot…Grisham confronts in stark relief the dangers of electing judges in an era of big–money politics.”—Seattle Times–Post Intelligencer

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what you would expect.. Feb. 27 2008
By H. Tran
As a die hard John Grisham fan, I have to say I'm a little disappointed with his latest book: The Appeal. Although the book begins with all the makings of a classic Grisham thriller, the book stumbles upon plot development, focusing too much on the development of the appeal and political processes, while largely ignoring key themes and character development that has been a consistent part of Grisham style. Regardless, this book is still a good read and does provide some entertainment value.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Plot held up in red tape Feb. 3 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While reading The Appeal I was greatly anticipating earning the opportunity to savour the sweet taste of improbable victory that is always a main ingredient in any Grisham recipe. This book however is so rich with the mundane proceedings of common court room boredom, legal wrangling, and judicial campaigning that the most important ingredients are not enjoyable. The characters are distant and un-clever, the plot is linear and long, and twists are morose or missing. Please look elsewhere for your fill of exciting drama and suspense.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Unless you are dying to read about some of the most disgusting, greedy people who have ever walked into a novel, you can skip this book.

The book has several messages:

1. Don't let judges be elected; appoint them instead.
2. Conservative voters are easy to mislead into voting for candidates who will favor business over consumer interests.
3. Plaintiff attorneys are less slimy than rich business people because they occasionally try to help someone in trouble.
4. Politicians who need campaign funds are in the pocket of a handful of rich business people, whether the politicians realize it or not.

If that information doesn't make you feel good, consider that you'll also read about a lot of people dying and suffering from a fictional company polluting the water supply to increase its profits.

I thought that the book was well written, interesting, and full of good ideas for how to steal elections.

But I didn't need to read this book. I don't think you do either.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Much ado about nothing March 23 2008
By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAME TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I've just finished reading more than 250 pages of filler with nothing worth mentioning at the end of it all, except that the ending "majorly" sucked.

Essentially a sordid tale of big business and politics vs. big verdicts and class action lawsuits, it begins nicely, and gathers steam, then proceeds to continue blowing hot air at the reader until the unsatisfactory quickie ending.

While there's some food for thought regarding how the legal, political, religious and business arenas may all be connected, there's more garnish than meat in a story which could have been cut by about 100 pages of the filler, and sweetened with about 50 more pages of conclusion for dessert.

Short Attention Span Summary (SASS)

1. Large company dumps chemicals in rural community
2. Water changes color
3. People get sick
4. Some die
5. Small law firm files lawsuit
6. Large verdict awarded
7. Big business takes over
8. Money talks
9. Once again, Grisham gets tired of his own rambling and wraps up story in indecent haste leaving most of his ends dangling
10. His ends aren't pretty

I'd like to sue for 50% of my money back, plus loss of productive time, legal costs and mental trauma, and also for punitive damages, but I guess I'd lose on appeal.

Rated: 2.5 stars for half of a good book

Amanda Richards
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1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't enjoy it March 23 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I hate to see a crook get his way. Very disappointed. Not as good as his other books. Hope the next one is better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Still reading it March 16 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even though I haven't finished reading it, it has my attention. I like it. After reading many Grisham books, there are no surprises but it holds my interest
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant portrayal of a disturbing world Oct. 29 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Our world is now full of mass media, soundbites, and 24-hour news cycles. It's not hard for those with money to dominate an election, through legitimate and shady means. There is a lot of polarization which seems to be easily acted upon by those who wish to take advantage of it, and rational discourse and critical analysis seem to be at an all-time low in the search for ratings and profits.

"The Appeal" is set in a world like ours. Grisham sets forth a plausible situation, where those with money effectively manufacture a judge in their efforts to provide a desired result. He doesn't pull punches, though he does manage keep his criticism from being completely one-sided against those in big business. The book is dark, but highly engrossing.

For some real-life situations in this vein, check out The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism At The Heart Of American Power.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read with a message
A not too improbable story, and a warning as to what is going wrong in society. The people with the money have far too much control. It is a good read with a message. Read more
Published on Dec 7 2011 by David Huntley
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a Grisham "thriller"
I am officially taking Grisham off my list of authors to read. He has not written a book (this one included) with anything resembling the depth of his 90's releases this decade... Read more
Published on Nov. 11 2009 by JM
3.0 out of 5 stars didn't like the ending
I thought this was more like the original Grisham style, and hung on right to the end, expecting that the "innocent little guy" would win out at the end over Big Corporation - but... Read more
Published on March 19 2009 by Book Boss
3.0 out of 5 stars Toxic Torts
A Civil Action type story, this one is no whodunit but rather a howdunit story with a few messages: elected State Supreme Court positions are open to abuse, the Christian rightwing... Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2009 by Pol Sixe
2.0 out of 5 stars I don't blame John Grisham
I am also a die-hard Grisham fan and own paperwork copies of all his novels. While I didn't like "The Appeal" I still appreciate his captivating rhythm and vivid characters... Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2009 by R. Rayson
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreary effort
I had to put this book down...all the praying in the first couple of chapters so detracted from the story that I felt it never got off the ground, and this emphasis seemed likely... Read more
Published on July 14 2008 by Philip Rogers
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