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The Rainmaker [Mass Market Paperback]

John Grisham
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (306 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 2 1996
It's summer in Memphis.  The sweat is sticking to Rudy Baylor's shirt and creditors are nipping at his heels.  Once he had aspirations of breezing through law school and punching his ticket to the good life.  Now he doesn't have a job or a prayer...except for one: an insurance dispute that leaves a family devastated and opens the door for a lawsuit, if Rudy can find a way to file it.

By the time Rudy gets to court, a heavyweight corporate defense team is there to meet him. And suddenly he's in over his head, plunged into a nightmare of lies and legal maneuverings.  A case that started small is exploding into a thunderous million-dollar war of nerves, skill and outright violence--a fight that could cost one young lawyer his life, or turn him into the biggest rainmaker in the land....

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Product Description

From Amazon

Rudy Baylor, a new law school graduate, once dreamed of the good life as a corporate attorney. Now he faces joblessness and bankruptcy--unless he can win an insurance case against a heavyweight team of lawyers, a case that starts small but mushrooms into a frightening war of nerve and legal skill that could cost Rudy not only his future, but also his life.

From Publishers Weekly

Grisham's intricate, spellbinding sixth novel differs from his last few?it's his only book with first-person narration and his first since his debut to be set in a courtroom?but the trademark Grisham touches are in place. Rookie attorney Rudy Baylor is the customary David fighting a legal Goliath (here a multibillion-dollar insurance company), and the suspense builds with impeccable pacing despite workaday prose. When the modestly sized law firm that contracted for his future services unexpectedly merges with a tony Ivy League firm, Rudy finds himself without a job and bankrupt. Filing a $10 million lawsuit takes away some of the sting, as does a lonely elderly woman's offer of low rent on a small apartment in exchange for rewriting her will. To make a living, Rudy finds himself chasing ambulances for a racketeering shyster, leading to his becoming enthralled with a beautiful young woman hospitalized by her husband's murderous attack. When Rudy agrees to represent the parents of a dying 22-year-old denied insurance coverage for a bone-marrow transplant, he finds that he is up against the firm that broke contract with him. Melding the courtroom savvy of A Time to Kill with the psychological nuance of The Chamber, imbued with wry humor and rich characters, this bittersweet tale, the author's quietest and most thoughtful, shows that Grisham's imagination can hold its own in a courtroom as well as on the violent streets outside. Major ad/promo; large-print edition, ISBN 0-385-47512-8; audio rights to BDD Audio.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars John Grisham did again April 13 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story line in this book was very good , it made you turn the pages . I watch the movie after , but the book was much better .
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best I've read! April 28 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
To me,The Rainmaker's uniqueness may be in the very human low expectations expressed by this young lawyer who constantly argues against himself while at the same time doing everything he can to be genuinely altruistic in pursuit of his profession, despite the mighty challenges he faces at every turn. From its strong beginning, I discovered this John Grisham epic a constant thrill to the very end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "There's Nothing More Thrilling..." Feb. 20 2013
By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Rudy Baylor makes it out of law school and away from his girlfriend with pennies to spare. He soon finds himself representing clients beyond his experience. His landlady, Miss Birdie, needs help drafting a will to distribute her well-hidden fortune. A bruised and beautiful hospital patient needs help turning her husband into an ex-husband. And Donny Ray Black's parents watch him die of leukemia while the Great Benefit Insurance Company callously denies their claims for coverage of treatments that would save his life. They need a knight with a shining law degree.

Rudy charges into battle for all of his clients. Hair uncombed, tie askew, and stray papers fluttering from his briefcase, Rudy is the very opposite of Leo Drummond, the immaculate lead counsel on Great Benefit's defense team. It's not hard to predict how such a David-and-Goliath contest will turn out in a Grisham novel. But there are a few surprises in how it happens.

Grisham doesn't make Rudy face the enemy by himself. His chief ally is Deck Shifflet, a self-styled "paralawyer" who knows the case-winning maneuvers that Rudy would never dream of trying on his own. Their former boss, criminal lawyer Bruiser Stone, phones in his own advice from an undisclosed location. And Rudy's clients help him, and each other. The several subplots find each other as the story builds to its conclusion.

Don't expect objectivity from this reviewer--this is far-and-away my favorite Grisham book. There are easy-to-like and easy-to-hate characters in threatening and interesting circumstances. There is a believable blend of suspense, comedy, and tragedy. Surprisingly, much of this translates well to the movie version, too. But read the book before seeing the movie. If you don't enjoy it, you are just "...stupid, stupid, stupid." (Sorry; I just couldn't resist. :^))
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4.0 out of 5 stars Three stories for the price of one! June 21 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Methinks that John Grisham has a mellower side to his writing than we've seen thus far.

Certainly "The Rainmaker", rather than being the legal thriller that one might have expected on the basis of his previous novels, is more of a gentle bittersweet general fiction novel comprised of three concurrent sub-plots that take place primarily in a legal setting.

In the first story, (of course, all three are intertwined to a certain extent and bump into one another, although each of the three would serve as a fine short story or novella on its own), Rudy Baylor graduates from law school with the hopeful vision of a young man destined for a rising career in a mainstream firm well known in the field of corporate law. When an unexpected takeover leaves him jobless and facing personal bankruptcy, he is forced by unexpected circumstances into the arms of his first client. A pleansant but very lonely (and surprisingly wealthy) elderly lady offers him rental accommodation at a price he couldn't possibly refuse in exchange for a review of her will.

In the second (and central) plot of the novel, Baylor unexpectedly becomes the attorney of record in a major lawsuit alleging fraud against a mega-rich insurance company that pads its profits by routinely rejecting legitimate insurance claims comfortable in the proven belief that only a small statistical percentage of those claims denied will actually be taken to court. His client is a 22 year old man, dying of leukemia. He can't afford the cost of a bone marrow transplant because his claim under the insurance policy he bought many years earlier has been rejected. The stakes are huge with a $10 million judgment hanging in the balance.
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
We all know that to make a good joke, you've got to exaggerate the right elements while ignoring what isn't funny. John Grisham creates a slapstick winner with a book about a bumbling young lawyer who isn't going to Wall Street . . . in fact, he has to declare bankruptcy before he passes the bar exam.

But don't confuse this book with a humorous book about the law. This novel would have to be toned down by about 60 degrees before that would be possible. This is a comic book version of a funny story about "what if" a law student didn't have a job, any money, or any connections after three years of torts and briefs.

Rudy Baylor is dragged by his professor to a meeting of senior citizens to give out free advice. He meets the meeting's hostess who wants to change her will to favor a television evangelist with her millions. Rudy also meets the parents of a young man who will die from leukemia because the insurance company wouldn't pay for a bone marrow transplant.

This all seems like a pleasant way to spend a few hours finishing a class until Rudy's promised job evaporates in a shotgun law firm merger. Now, he tries to trade off his leads into some cash and some work. The complications are unexpected, unrealistic, and slapstick funny. There's a sweetness to Rudy's character that you won't find in many real lawyers that makes the book work.

I found myself wondering what pratfalls John Grisham would foist on poor Rudy next. That was a major part of the attraction of the story.

If you hate lawyers and insurance companies, you'll find nothing to discourage either view in this jaundiced critique of the legal profession.

But you'll have some smiles and chuckles along the way, neither of which would happen if there were any real lawyers around.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed with ending
This book has a superb plot and very interesting characters that are colorfully described by the author. Read more
Published on June 29 2004 by Jack Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Humorous, engaging, and realistic
I thoroughly enjoyed Rainmaker. It was on the few Grisham novels that I had yet to read and after the disappointing Summons I wasn't excited about reading another Grisham novel. Read more
Published on June 10 2004 by dolphin559
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rainmaker
Rudy Baylor couldn't buy a job when he graduated from law school. He eventually gets a job but the guy who hired him tries to still his case that is worth millions. Read more
Published on May 28 2004 by Colton Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars No objections, Your Honor!
Quite like a few of John Grisham's novels but feel this is by some way his best. Not sure quite why. Enjoy the first-person narrative, which is self-deprecating and funny. Read more
Published on May 25 2004 by Toby
3.0 out of 5 stars Not that intimidating
The book starts off with the graduation of Rudy Baylor, the main character, from a Memphis college. Rudy gets a case of an insurance agent Great Benefits cheating a family whose... Read more
Published on May 7 2004 by Anand Sunil
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Grisham's better novels. A funny look at the law.
"The Rainmaker" is one of Grisham's better novels ("The Firm" still remains my favorite by Grisham). Read more
Published on April 14 2004 by Roger J. Buffington
2.0 out of 5 stars Light and fluffy
I love books that attack the insurance industry, corrupt lawyers and judges but the ending was entirely too similar to some of his other books. Read more
Published on April 13 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling at times, but relies on humor
The Rainmaker is the story of law student Rudy Baylor. Throughout the book, you'll be told his story and the story of his client, Dot Black. Read more
Published on April 9 2004 by Chris Milligan
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