The Last Thrill?
I just finished reading John Grisham’s The Last Juror. It is a great and easy read, the biographical sketch of a man’s life in a small Mississippi town as the publisher of the town’s sole newspaper for a decade. Some of the characters come alive in the various scenes, too.
The biggest weaknesses of the novel? It was billed as a thriller, where a rapist-killer stalks a jury as he kills them one by one, and the newspaper publisher is powerless to do anything but watch. Yet, the rapist-killer isn’t set loose for revenge until the final 80 pages, and I won’t reveal the ending, but the plot summary is misleading.
There are also times when Grisham just has the narrator tell us what the town is feeling, or otherwise state things matter-of-factly. There really isn’t a lot of time spent on visualization of certain subplots or emotions. And this might be because he’s spending more time trying to cover the decade that was his narrator’s life, rather than focus on the central plot point. (We don’t even realize the narrator is getting tired of being a reporter until he says it out right near the end of the book.)
But my summation is this: I think Grisham’s publisher is misrepresenting the kind of stories he writes. Others (like The King of Torts) were also labeled as thrillers when they all seem closer to fictional biographies, or character stories.
There certainly wasn’t much thrill in this so-called thriller.
That said, if you like character stories, definitely feel free to read this otherwise very good book.