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Monday, August 13, 2012

The Appeal by John Grisham

The Appeal by John Grisham
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (355 pgs
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

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.

The Appeal is a powerful, timely, and shocking story of political and legal intrigue, a story that will leave readers unable to think about our electoral process or judicial system in quite the same way ever again.
Shocking isn't the half of it.

I love a good mystery. Love when the story takes twists and turns I never saw coming. The Appeal has that and more.

There are only a few books I've read that really get under my skin. You know the types? The ones with unruly characters or twists that just don't seem right? Yeah, this is one of those books. I sat up until at least 4 am reading the book. I couldn't put it down. Krane Chemical has dumped a LOT of waste in places where it shouldn't have. Then it never bothered to properly take care of those sites. The chemicals invaded the water and in turn invaded the lives of the people living on the toxic land. This story hits home in a lot of places. The term "cancer cluster" is used a lot and rightly so. A lot of people have been hurt and killed. Grisham's storytelling in this manner is breathtaking. I felt the pain of the families. I wanted to join the lawyers, Mary Grace and Wes in helping them.

As much as I loved the lawyers for the plaintiffs, I couldn't stand the lawyers and the head of Krane Chemical. The guy drove me berserk. So full of himself, so willing to pamper those he loved while making miserable the people who just happened to be living on land his company polluted. There were times when I wanted to conk him on the head. There's a scene with a statue. It's described as being not terribly pretty or realistic and yet, he buys it to make his wife happy. Maybe it was because I wasn't in his position. Maybe it was because I know people who live in alleged 'cancer clusters'. Either way, he got under my skin.

I rated this book a 5, but there was one major issue I had with it. Now, before I explain the issue, let me tell you why I still think this book is a five. I won't disclose a bunch of the ending, but this book wasn't predictable. At all. I had thoughts as to where it would go and it didn't. Another thing is the book got me emotionally involved. I wanted to throw something at the end of the book. I did. Not because it was poorly written. Not because it ended too abruptly. Far from it. The ending didn't take the expected turns. It was written very well, flowed nicely and had me right in the clinch. The ending wasn't how I expected and it stayed with me. I thought about it later that night and the entire next day. I wanted it to turn out another way, but like life, things aren't always going to come out our ways. That's what made it a great book.

If you want a book that's got a healthy dose or reality mixed in with the drama and mystery, then this might be the book for you.

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