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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2005
When I decided to read THE LAST JUROR about two weeks ago and bought it from my local store - the main reason was the summary I read on the cover recanting what seemed to be an exciting tale of a defendant being spared his life yet seeking revenge on the jury that convicted then sentenced him to life in prison. What I found the real story to be is following a young gumshoe news reporter and his experiences with the people in a small southern town. Yes, it begins with a murder and there is a significant plot surrounding it - but don't be fooled into thinking this is a legal courtroom thriller by any stretch of the imagination. It more so narrates a small towns activities and how a community reacts to rather big events such as the previously mentioned murder trial mixing in their traditions with politics, people and work. Also recommended: BARK OF THE DOGWOOD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2004
This is my first Grisham book so I can't really argue the points that some have stated. I'm familiar with the movies which were made from his books, but the actual novels themselves have escaped my attention. With that said, I found THE LAST JUROR to be exceptional. I came to it with an open mind and liked the southern setting and story. It wasn't too violent and the characters were believeable. I also recently enjoyed another book called THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD by Jackson McCrae. It wasn't anything like THE LAST JUROR but was very interesting and the writing is beautiful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2004
For the most part, I found this entertaining. I was troubled by one thing, though:
The killer sneaked into the victim's house and hid in her closet, surprising her when she opened the closet door. He blindfolded her with a scarf, and cut her panties off with a knife before raping her at knifepoint. He made enough noise to awaken her small children, who came to see what was wrong. When the killer realizes the kids are there, he reacts, and the victim calls out the the kids to run. They run to the next-door neighbor. In the meantime, the killer has been recognized, and he slashes the victim's throat and flees. The neighbor goes to investigate and finds the victim, who has tried to follow the kids and collapsed. Before she dies, she tells him the name of the killer. The children are in shock and are eventually taken to live with realtives. They are too small to testify.
Now, some of this, like the scarf, the closet, cutting the panties could have been discovered during the investigation. But, when the DA cross-examined the killer, he knew things that only the killer, the victim and the children would have known, like that the victim had called to the children to run. The killer was, of course, denying that he was even there. The victim died before she could say more than who did it. The children were too traumatized to tell what they had see. So how, exactly, did the DA know?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2005
This was a light-hearted book to read. It was fast-paced book. I consider it to be one of Grisham's best. Grisham returned to legal thriller with style after his most recent books (Bleachers, Painted House, etc.). The Juror is presented through the eyes of the local newspaper editor. Like all Grisham books, it comes to a very sudden and abrupt ending, but for a change, it doesn't detract from the story .In this novel John Grisham has created an intense, fascinating and revealing study of a small southern town, and created lively characters that developed with the story. His details are plentiful. This is a lovely historical fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2010
I thought this story of the little Southern town; its small town newspaper owner and its citizens was just a super read. I enjoyed the world of Willie as he became more known by the folks of this Mississippi hamlet.

Mr. Crisham did an excellent jobe of developing his character in such a way that I couldn't help but read page after page wondering what adventure he would stumble into. Without hesitation I would recommend this book to all my friends.
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on May 23, 2005
Only a hand full of great American writers come to mind when I go shopping for a book------I usually think first of Grisham (THE FIRM) then onto a classic such as Steinbeck (EAST OF EDEN) and on to McCrae (BARK OF THE DOGWOOD). So when one of my favorites comes out with something new (and this was new for me) I jump at the chance to read it. So it was with THE LAST JUROR. Grisham's experimentation with new styles and voices has been an interesting journey for his readers. This side trip back to Ford County was his first since The Chamber, cast as a first person account of a young man's pursuit of himself. The characters were interesting, and the dialog as genuine as Grisham readers have come to expect. One thing I have enjoyed about Grisham's legal novels has been his realistic depictions of many ethical dilemma faced by his protagonists. In The Last Juror, numerous ethical challenges await the young editor whose voice tells the story. The reader is never sure that Willie recognizes that he is straying, which would not be so problematic if we weren't left to doubt whether Grisham recognizes them either. He seems very comfortable with the editor as advocate and participant. Willie makes several decisions that seem unlikely or at best ill-advised that Grisham seems to support. The book was enjoyable, but I was never tempted to sit up all night to get it finished. On the bright side, I intend to add it to a list of extra-credit readings for my journalism students and challenge them to resolve Willie's problems in ways more appropriate than those he chose.
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on July 8, 2004
Grisham writes some of the smoothest books around, and that
is not a negative comment. His works are so easy-going and
readable, and once started, they are difficult to put down.
This one is also good, but it doesn't seem to have the focus
of the better-known Grisham novels. It is almost like a story
told by an old-timer, where you find it interesting, but you
know if he lost his threat of thought, you wouldn't miss much.
This is the story of a young guy who drifted through college,
and never graduated because his grandmother cut off his money,
and who ended up working as a reporter on a small Mississippi
weekly. But he has barely gotten his feet wet when the old-time
owner/editor comes to an end to his career, and the young guy
get the idea he would like to make something of this small failing paper, and maybe have some fun himself; so he talks his
grandmother into putting up the money to buy the paper,and he
goes to work. Not only does he work, but he begins to try to
ease himself into the small-town society.
He is working hard, and the paper shows promise, when the most
horrible crime in anyone's memory occurs, and he finds himself
in the middle of a very exciting and dangerous time.
A young attractive widow is suddenly attacked, raped and murdered, apparently in front of her two small children, and
the town explodes in hatred toward the obvious culprit.
A very nasty trial takes place, and Grisham describes the jury
proceedings, and it's impact on the small town, as no other
can. The killer is found guilty, but he is spared the death
penalty in a controversal decision by the jury, but after he
is sent off to Parchman prison, the real mystery begins.
The pace is good, and the characters are, for the most part,
readable and interesting.
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on July 7, 2004
Decidely, those who loved The Firm, will not warm to this latest Grisham book. John Grisham's novel The Last Juror did an excellent job of keeping the reader enthralled. While many believe that the end of this novel is not as entertaining as those of his other novels, I find Grisham's fusion of all the sub-plots into one coherent ending breathtaking. The whole plot of a family having so much power over a community never ceases to remind me of the lesson on political machines in U.S. history. We all enjoy seeing the bad guy fall and Grisham shows that in a quaint fashion. I also enjoyed the characters of this novel. Grisham portrays the main character, Willie Traynor, as a nonchalant college-grad who is simply looking for a job. As the novel progresses, Traynor transorms into an industrious newspaper editor who is anxious to portray evils in the world. It is my sincere opinion that everyone can relate to Traynor in some sort of fashion. Whether it be his youthful attitude in the beginning, or his undying passion to root out the evils in society, or his simple attraction to one of his peers of the opposite sex, we all can find a niche in his character. Also try reading any other Grisham book, especially A painted House, or Off Thomas by Koontz and The Bark of the Dogwood by J.T. McCrae.
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on July 2, 2004
Thank you Mr. Grisham for returning to the story lines that I fell in love with from your pen after THE FIRM. This story was especially interesting to me...because the main character, the 25 year old buys the local newspaper...which was in trouble. You used this character to weave a small town story that kept me laughing, smiling and sometimes mad me angry! (that's what small towns will do for you! :-)
Well I am the owner of a publication and found ALL of what you wrote concerning subscriptions and readership quite interesting, to say the least & 100% TRUE. You really did an excellent job of character development...even to the siblings who were landlords. I don't like leaving reviews which tell TOO much of the story because that discourages (in a lot of cases) others from buying/reading the I will simply say this....for anyone who takes the time to read your reviews of this book...this is a definite Grisham must read. You won't be disappointed.
I loved the story from cover to cover and await your next literary work!
Thanks for going back to Mississippi.
Shunda Leigh
Booking Matters Magazine
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on July 2, 2004
Wow, was this book bad. I've read just about every Grisham novel, and while some have been good and some a little weak, this one was clearly the worst. For one thing, you could have easily cut out 80% of the pages to tell the "thriller" part of the story. I understand that isn't the whole thing the book is supposed to be about, but you literally at times wonder if that story is ever going to get told. There are SO many instances where Grisham wanders off on a tangent for NO REASON relevant to the story. Why do we have to hear all about Grisham's enlightened views on the Vietnam war through the eyes of a main character back in the 70's. It has NO bearing on any aspect of the story. Its just odd, unrelated filler. Same goes for an investigation and cataloging of all the southern churches and their basic tenets. Its always good to learn something in a fiction novel, but that "something" should be in the course of telling the story, not oddly jammed in with no relevance except to fill pages.
And, its not as if waiting around for the ending was worth it either. It is dull and disappointing. Which is a pretty good summary of the whole book. If you are looking for a more entertaining page-turner this summer, try something from Brad Meltzer, like The Zero Game or The Millionaires.
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