Monday, January 05, 2009

Review: "The Appeal"

I just finished Grisham's "The Appeal." While I'm not keeping track, I've read most of Grisham's books. "King of Torts" is my favorite. I read it during our honeymoon. Maybe the atmosphere made the book better?

The Appeal is about a small personal injury law-firm, Payton & Payton, and their case against Krane Chemical. The court rules in favor of Payton & Payton's client who lost her husband and son to cancer, caused by contaminated water. The award is around $40 million.

The Paytons claim that Krane Chemical dumped waste into the water system causing an explosion in cancer. The rate of cancer in the county is many times the national average. Case closed right? Wrong.

Wall Street big wigs, lead by Carl Trudeau, decide they are not paying the $40 million dollar fine and appeal the case to the Mississippi Supreme Court. The court has four judges with liberal decision history and three conservative - voting in favor of big business. One liberal judge, Sheila McCarthy, is up for election.

Carl Trudeau's people hire an election mastermind who promises to ostracize Sheila McCarthy and replace her with a conservative candidate named Ron Fisk. Fisk is a right leaning, Christian, anti-gay, pro-gun, blow-hard who appeals to Mississippi's ultra-conservative constituents.

As expected, Fisk wins the election. He then proceeds to vote against all personal injury Supreme Court appeals. The book gets exciting when the Paytons' case arrives at his desk. In parallel with his expected decision, Fisk's son is severely injured. Evidence points at both a baseball bat company and emergency room personal being at fault for harming and further harming his son.

I won't tell you how the book ends, but I did find the outcome to be interesting and not what I expected. If you've read The Appeal, would you have done the same thing at Ron Fisk? Or would you have acted differently?

Overall, I think the book was ok. If you're a Grisham fan, I'd recommend you add it to your library. However, if you're not into Grisham, you can probably skip this one.

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