“I seriously doubt I would ever have written the first story had I not been a lawyer. I never dreamed of being a writer. I wrote only after witnessing a trial.”
John Ray Grishman Jr. the America based multi-faceted man who is not only a novelist but also an attorney, politician, and activist. John was born on 8th February 1955 and is a graduate of Mississippi State University.
Before entering the writing profession he practiced criminal law for about a decade. His struggle took a significant turn when his first book A Time To Kill was published in June 1989 after Four years of him writing it.
The journey from being a lawyer practicing law for hours and embracing the time for his hobby of writing to being synonymous with modern legal thriller has not been a piece of cake.
Coming from humble backgrounds he wanted to be a professional baseball player but soon realized he lacked the amenities for being one so he shifted to accounting as a profession.
John Grisham, also known as John Ray Grisham Jr., is a famous American novelist. He is popularly known for his famous thriller novels. His books have been translated and published worldwide.
John G. was born to Wanda and John Ray Grisham in Arkansas, US. He completed his law and won elections as Democrat. In 1984, Grisham heard a girl’s trial on her being raped and beaten and saw the jury weep too which intrigued him. That’s when he wrote his first novel.
There is one writer who has been penning bestsellers after bestsellers since his first book. The indisputable king of legal thrillers, he has published 39 more books in the middle decades.
His books have appeared in 42 languages and have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide. He’s one of the only three mainstream authors to ever sell more than 2 million copies of his first printing. And the name of the writer is John Grisham.
This was Grisham’s first novel and one of his best sellers of all time. The plot summarises to a father (a black man) who kills two men who have raped his daughter and this man upon seeking trial is now seeking help from his lawyer friend to help him win the case.
This book was later adapted by John Schumacher into a film that ran by the same name starring Samuel Jackson, Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock.
The story starts when two intoxicated white men from the south assault a young girl.
When the young girl’s father (Carl Lee) gets to know about this act he decides to take revenge. Carl Lee decides to take justice into his hands and shoots down both Pete Willard and Billy Ray Cobb in front of numerous witnesses.
Now to get Carl Lee out of the hook Jake Brigance, a young lawyer comes into the picture.
A Time to Kill shows in detail how juries are chosen. Towards the finish of the novel, when the plot returns into the full center – it is the time for the decision. You will be torn with respect to what will occur, as Grisham did an excellent activity of keeping us in anticipation.
John’s debut and arguably one of his finest works which were also turned into a movie starring the great Samuel L Jackson. This novel takes us through a legal setting where a black father kills the white rapists of his daughter when they are on their way to trial.
This novel takes us through the struggles of the lawyer who fights for the justice of the victims’ father to declare him not guilty. A time to kill delves into nemesis and racial violence.
This book sold 1.5 million copies and is one of the most appreciated novels of this author.
It was rejected by many publishers before Wynwood Books published it in a modest print. The book reflects on some of society’s most notable problems even today.
It deals with racial division in Canton, Mississippi.
This makes it a good read for people of all age groups. The plot is very fascinating and attractive and is well presented. It is one of the best books by John Grisham.
This is Grisham’s second book and the first biggest hit, even before the first novel. It is a story of a young lawyer who gets selected to work in a prestigious law firm only to find out that it helps all gangsters get a clean sheet and do the illegal business for such criminal partners. Sooner he finds he is stuck by badly in a murder case. The book depicts his struggle in balancing his work and liberty.
“The Firm” happens to be his second novel. It came out in 1991.
It rapidly became a bestseller topping the charts. A movie based on this book starring Tom Cruise was released in 1993.
This book gave Grisham fame and recognition contrary to the first one, which was rejected by many publishers.
It’s the story of a law school ace who’s recruited by a major firm which is too good to be true. Something fishy is definitely going behind the office’s doors. No lawyer has escaped the firm alive.
To find a way out and stay alive in the process, the protagonist has to make decisions that may affect his whole life.
Undoubtedly, the book that made Grisham a worldwide phenomenon and a phenomenon in legal fiction, this book focuses on the repercussions of a lawyer’s decision to work for the wrong side, after taking a job that seemed too good to be true.
It also allows us to take an insight into a young lawyer’s mind, fresh out of the collegiate system, and it allows us to internalize his struggles as a means to understand his upbringing, as well as the upbringing all of us had.
This book was also adapted to make it into a movie by the same name that starred Tom Cruise as the protagonist.
This was Grisham’s sixth novel and again one of his best legal thrillers. The story runs around yet another young, inexperienced lawyer who fights an insurance company for the rights of a young boy with leukemia to get his insurance money for his major operation.
Released in 1995, “The Rainmaker” concatenates humor to the fast-paced courtroom drama. It consists of elements such as humor, suspense, optimism, love, and despair. It is an idealistic book infused with realism. This book is different from his past books as it was written in the simple present tense.
The protagonist is a lawyer who fights an intriguing case against an evil corporation. This was also adapted as a film in the same name.
If the protagonist wins the case, he could net himself and his client millions. Definitely course, that is not going to be an easy task. It is a delightful read. This makes it stand out and it ensures that this is going to be a unique read.
This book was also adapted into a movie starring Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Jon Voight, and Claire Danes.
This is an adventure novel by Grisham with s twisted plot. It is about the will of a wealthy, ruthless billionaire who changes his will a few hours before committing suicide. In his will, he leaves only enough money to each of his heirs so that they can pay their debt and leaves the rest of his wealth to his illegitimate daughter.
It was released in 1999. “The Testament” takes the main character on a dangerous journey through the remote regions of Latin America. This novel explores greed, materialism, sin, and redemption.
The protagonist, an eccentric ruthless billionaire businessman, commits suicide. He will mention that most of the money will be transferred to an illegitimate daughter that none of his family and associates know about. In a story that mixes legal suspense with a remarkable adventure, their lives are forever altered by the startling secret of The Testament.
This book was heard for getting adapted by Hollywood directors but was not heard about it much later.
This is yet another legal thriller by Grisham. The story runs around a law professor who earns well being sent to his father who is ill. He reaches there to find out his father dead and a lot of cash lying around him.
It’s the story of two sons and their estranged father, whom they find dead in his Mississippi home. It is different from other books because the storyline is different.
Judge Atlee is sick. He has isolated himself away in his Clanton, Mississippi. Since his death is coming, Judge Atlee issues a summons to his sons, Ray and Forrest. They’re going to discuss what will happen to the estate. The judge passes away too early, and he takes a shocking secret to his grave.
However, Ray and maybe someone else knows the secret.
Grisham’s writing is silky smooth here, his storytelling is captivating.
However, the novel lacks action.
The story progresses with his varied attempts to keep the money but first finding out whether it is black or white and how the complications increase with his brother coming into the picture.
The most underrated book, its breakneck speed sometimes feels distracting, but taking the time to understand the nuances would clearly make the story engaging.
This is one of Grisham’s first books to focus on spreading a then politically relevant message, where Grisham’s favorite aspect, the courtroom proceedings and ensuing drama take a clear backseat to let the message take center stage, which allows for the conciseness of the book to be felt.
The book focuses on a fictional landmark tobacco company lawsuit and trial, based on real events of the year, where all jurors seem to be terribly biased to the tobacco company, except one honest juror, who seems to have mastered enough tact to slowly and quietly turn the tides against the company.
The ending and the real identity of the juror remain a mystery but readers either seem to totally love or totally hate the juror by the end.
This is one of the best sellers of John G. The book goes around the jury that has been set up to go through a case filed by a widow on a company that makes weapons. Apparently, a weapon made by that company kills her husband and decides to sue them.
On the other hand, the jury put up to decide is up for sale. They say the verdict will be passed on the side of the person who pays them more.
The novel is based upon three former judges known as “Brethren”. Two of them act as two vulnerable gay men in love and try to exploit money out from their developed friendships with a reason for financial help.
These men were imprisoned for their wrongdoings and the story thus goes around as to where the money is and what happens next.
Keeping the reader glued from the first word till the last, the partner is a perfect example of storytelling.
Guiding the readers from one to another, this novel takes us through the story of a lawyer who fakes his own death and steals money and runs away only to come back with a lot of unknown secrets.
This novel is a classic example of modern-day thriller movies where it is impossible to guess which character is to be trusted until the very end. Slowing unveiling the characters from different sources only to make it sense in the very end.
Not only critic but grishman himself refers to this novel in interviews.
This novel undoubtedly has the most pre-eminent endings of all.
A Mississippi lawyer fakes his death and flees with a ton of cash but returns mysteriously, but not without new secrets and suspicious plans. This is one of the most prominent works that established Grisham’s standing as a reputed author and allowed him to develop a huge fanbase and excellent characters and backstories for his later works.
But will he be at peace? Or must he face the demons which he dearly wants not to? , read this intense thriller to find it out.
The finest example of plot and pacing is portrayed by John in his first non-legal book a painted house. The novel embarks a journey of a young boy growing up on Arkansan’s farms in 1952. This was also made into a film in 2003. The story is told through the eyes of a 7-year-old boy living in a family of cotton workers working hard to make ends meet. This novel made him established outside the Legal genre.
This was John Grisham’s first novel which was actually not a courtroom drama. The story is narrated by and captures about two months in the life of, seven-year-old Luke Chandler, the only child in a family of cotton farmers. It is a coming-of-age novel about this young boy, the events he witnesses, his thoughts and his observations. It is worth reading this story simply for it’s simple, yet poetic language.
Grisham’s only work of non-fiction, with only certain authorial liberties for dramatizations, it focuses on Grisham’s personal passion and what he worked towards reducing- wrongful convictions.
It focuses on the wrongful conviction of a black man in a small town, steeped in racist attitudes, with a shocking end to a open book of a testimony on a road trip, where the man who committed the crime willingly coming forward and exposing the biases of a society against a certain group of people, which led to the death penalty of a totally innocent man, whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Featuring one of Grisham’s most revisited protagonist, Willie Traynor, who also had outstanding cameos in other books in Grisham’s legal universe, it mixes Grisham’s favorite topics; courtroom drama and small-town lawyers, to build a riveting story that engages the reader till the end by giving us a shock ending, an ambiguous ending that seems to have no set path.
The novel follows the story of eleven-year-old Mark Sway, who lives in a trailer in Memphis with his mother and younger brother. The two brothers witness the suicide of a lawyer, who was involved in a case of a recently murdered U.S. Senator, whose body was missing.
Before he dies, he confides in Mark about where the body lies buried.
The story traces Mark Sway as he retains the services of attorney Reggie Love to help him keep shut about the body’s whereabouts, faces trial and eventually starts a new life along with his family with the help of the FBI.
The client is also an enthralling page-turner of his.
Two boys, an eleven-year-old Mark Sway and his little brother is smoking in the woods, Mark sees a man near a car doing something peculiar, he goes to take a closer look, the man catches him, says to Mark that he is going to commit suicide and says about a location where a corpse is hidden and shoots himself, Ricky witnesses it and gets traumatized.
Now Mark is put in a critical position, stuck in between a mafia who wants to know what Mark knows about the body and Foltrigg a glory-seeking lawyer who wants Mark to reveal where the body is hidden.
Will Mark be able to escape from this critical state?
Read this entertaining thriller to find out.
• Genre – Crime Thriller
• Publisher – Doubleday
• Year of publication – 2016
• Pages – 384
In this novel, Lacy Stoltz acts as an investigator for the Judicial Conduct of Florida Board. Her job is to respond to complaints facing judicial misconduct. After working for nine years with the Board, she found that most of the problems she is investigating are caused due to incompetence but not corruption.
But one corruption case finally crosses her desk.
A formerly disbarred lawyer started the business again and claims that he knows a judge belonging to Florida who has stolen more money compared to all other illegal judges of all states of the U.S combined together.
And now that guy wants to end that problem. His only client is the only person who knows all about the truth and wants to blow the whistle against the judge and collect millions under Florida law. The case is then assigned to Lacy and she instantly suspects that this case could be dangerous.
In this novel, Grisham makes you sit at the edge of your seat with a thrilling and interesting story.
This is Grisham’s third novel and is as good as his previous ones.
The story gets into heat right away.
Two Supreme court judges, Rosenberg and Jensen are killed. It was committed on the same night. Most people are convinced that they were killed for political reasons, the former a Liberal and the latter a Republican.
But someone doesn’t feel that’s the case, Darby Shaw.
She believes that they were not killed for political reasons and wants to bring it to light. She is a student of the law from Tulane University.
But she doesn’t know yet the danger she is going to be entangled in because of this decision.
Will she able to overcome the odds in her favor?
Read this yet another page-turner from Grisham to find it out.
Novel “The Broker” was published in 2005. The novel begins with Joel Backman in prison serving twenty years for a crime that he may or may not have committed.
With fourteen still to go he is unexpectedly pardoned by the outgoing President and smuggled to a secret location in Europe.
Then, the authorities of various countries sit back and monitor him as they wait to see who will get to him first.
This was a great read and kept me hooked until the end.
The danger the main character was in felt real and exposed the potential power plays going on at the highest levels of American government and within the intelligence systems.
John Grishman released a total of 35 books that excluded his Theodore Boone series for children in addition to few kindle books also. It did not take John much time to be in the top list of bestsellers just after his first book.
Some of his books which no book lover would ever want to miss are given below.