This is one of my favourite stories by one of my favourite writers. There are some plotlines in books that are totally unbelievable and are pure escapism while there are other plotlines that are extreme yet totally believable. All through this book you find yourself wondering if the kind of activity delivered in the book actually goes on.
The Runaway Jury is simply another great legal thriller by the great American writer John Grisham and another great read! The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Rainmaker etc are all in a class of their own when it comes to looking for a brilliant reading experience. You just can’t go wrong with a John Grisham!
The book is loosely based on the 1957 play “12 Angry Men” by Reginald Rose and unlike the film version in that the plot centres on the dangers of smoking whereas the film starring John Cusack and Gene Hackman was based around the gun industry. If you’re expecting to read the book version of the film you could be disappointed, or on the other hand, you may find that you enjoy the book all the more for its differences.
A case has been brought to court where damages are sought against a tobacco company placing the blame at their doorstep for the death of her husband with to lung cancer. The court case is set to take place in Biloxi in the state of Mississippi where sympathetic juries and tort laws are commonplace. The main character is Nicholas Easter who is what is known as a rogue juror who for money claims to be able to turn a jury on request.
Nicholas Easter goes into court as a brilliant undercover jury candidate and gets himself picked for jury service of a big case against the huge tobacco industry. After that he cleverly plays on the characters of the jury in order to achieve his end goal – to provide those paying for his services the verdict they require. He isn’t working alone as he has co-conspirator Marlee on the outside playing the dangerous game of tying up the loose ends.
Nicholas Easter, as you would expect, is in a lot of danger here, as he puts his life on a limb in order to pull this off. His nemesis is the consultant Rankin Fitch employed by the tobacco company who plants cameras all over the jury inside and out of the courtroom. Nothing can happen without his knowledge or say so. For the sum of £10 million he receives the offer to swing the jury verdict in his client’s favour but he doesn’t like being at the mercy of another. As a result, determined to undercover the mystery juror, he plans to use illegal and dangerous means of his own to gain back his control.
A whole host of interesting characters that make up the Nicholas Easter’s jury such as Frank Herrara ex-military colonel and the white blind foreman Herman Grimes and Nick Easter is amongst them busy sowing the seeds of reasonable doubt. Read it! Then read “The Client” by John Grisham, another fantastic read!