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review 2017-04-20 17:21
A Time to Kill - John Grisham

My first John Grisham novel was his latest release, The Whistler: a capable, if not entirely thrilling, read. Because I give every author two chances to 'wow' me, I decided to take a stab at Grisham's debut, A Time to Kill.


Wow. Wow wow wow. Was I impressed!


Set in northeastern Mississippi (an area I've ridden through many times, and have a certain affection for), a young black girl is kidnapped and brutally raped by two white rednecks, both career criminals despite only being in their twenties. The two are caught and arrested, but that does not make the girl's pain go away, of course — so her father takes matters into his own hands, and murders the two rapists in cold blood. Jake Brigance, a young lawyer who is desperate for the big time, takes the case despite its daunting nature. What unravels is something that thoroughly impacts the entire fictional town of Clanton, Mississippi, and the reader as well. There is no black or white here, only a world of gray; while most readers can sympathize with the girl's father, was it right of him to murder the men? What is morally justifiable? What role does the court system play in our lives, and even when juries make the 'right' decision, is it still wrong? These are questions Grisham leads the reader to, never fully answering them but instead inspiring thought and meditation. I know I certainly look at the American justice system in a new light after reading this fabulous novel.


This was a journey that had me glued to the pages, and I would have read it much faster had life not intervened. I was shocked by how fleshed out the town of Clanton and its inhabitants really are, in the pages of this weighty story; Grisham is one who can tell a tale, and had that talent from the very beginning . . . as is evident here, in his debut novel. I was not sure what I wanted the final decision to be — guilty, not guilty, mistrial — because of all the twists and turns and new revelations that come to light during this volume's 480-ish pages. That's a good thing. The person who begins reading this novel and the person who finishes this novel aren't the same, not completely; this is one with true potential to impact, all these years later. It really stands up.


John Grisham is one of America's most popular authors, and I can now see why. I cannot wait to work my way through the rest of his releases, but I don't know if any of them can top this one.

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review 2016-09-03 15:48
The first of many...
A Time To Kill - John Grisham
I am generally a fan of John Grisham, whose books can be relied upon to be well paced, and tap-in to a common curiosity about courtroom dramas. Grisham also seems to often offer a critique of the US legal system, which makes for interesting observations, albeit woven into storylines that frequently hinge on broad social themes, about which he also provides compelling commentary. In this instance the fault-lines between black and white Americans in the southern US forms the backdrop. It is also worth reflecting on the fact that this was Grisham's first novel. By his own admission there are elements of autobiography here and it is possible to discern a certain rawness to his talent that perhaps becomes polished in the following 20+ books. In "A Time to Kill" though, there is a simmering exploration of justice weighed against an understandable and perhaps instinctive desire for revenge, which is ultimately tested before a jury of fellow citizens. By the end I'm sure most of us know which way we'd vote.


Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1521153895
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review 2014-11-18 08:59
"Make friends with fear,because it will not go away, and it will destroy you if left uncontrolled.”

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-10-13 16:27
Star Trek: A Time to Kill by David Mack
A Time to Kill - David Mack

"A Time to Kill" was quite a jump back into almost TV-Trek since it's set before Nemesis and everyone of the main characters of TNG is still on board the Enterprise. Actually, this novel is the 7th in a loosely connected series but apart from rough mentions of previous events you don't really need to have read the others - suffice it to say that Data had to choose between his service in Starfleet and his emotion chip (neatly tying loose ends about him not mentioning the chip in Nemesis) and that Picard fell into disgrace. I admit I read synopses of the mentioned 6 parts, but more to be better acquainted with the character background. The plot itself stands on its own.


So, what do we have here?


The main events take place on Tezwa, a remote world between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. The Federation, in secret, stored weapons there, in case a last retreat in the Dominion War is needed. Now, the Tezwan leader Kinchawn readied those weapons and threatens the Klingons. The Enterprise is called to mediate - instead, the first meeting ends in disaster: the Klingon ships are destroyed by those armed weapons, the Enterprise severly damaged. Kinchawn declares war against the Klingons who, in turn, plan to invade Tezwa. An opposition on Tezwa starts to form.


The Federation President Zife and his chief advisor Azernal know that the Tezwans can't withstand a Klingon invasion force - but they now have the problem of perpetuating the secrecy about the weapons placement. The Klingons can't know that the Federation installed weapons on Tezwa, so conspiracies and intrigues are continued. Enterprise is sent back to the planet to disarm the weapons and prevent the invasion.


This is an amalgam of political intrigue, spy novel and straight-forward action plot. And, quite frankly, it loses speed once it gets to the action sequence where 6 groups try to disarm the 6 weapon control stations on Tezwa. Those parts were a bit repetitive (the teams landing on the planet, getting to the stations - of course, encountering problems - and blowing it up), and only Riker's part really gripped my interest because he fell ill due to an insect bite and therefore Razka (already known from Vanguard and Seekers) took over his group down on the planet while keeping Riker going.


This novel also starts to explain how Worf got back on the Enterprise. He's still an ambassador on the Klingon homeworld, after all, but gets caught up in a battle of loyalties to Picard and Martok. Worf essentially betrays the Klingon Empire by procuring the master codes of the Klingon ships which Picard then uses to prevent the invasion. Granted, he is the *Federation* ambassador... but his betraying the Klingons and Martok, and therefore weakening his position as Chancellor, comes too fast, without any real qualms. It's just like Picard only has to ask him to jump and Worf responds with "how high?". Betrayal is a major issue for Klingons, using spy methods has to go against their code of honor - and this doesn't really come up... a bit of a downlet.


President Min Zife is a weak puppet, the real power has his chief of staff Azernal. It sickens me to what lengths they go, including lying, putting others at risk, endangering the alliance with the Klingons, just to keep the weapons deployment to Tezwa a secret - and I ask why bother? I think the original reason was sound, the Federation was in danger of losing the Dominion War, so it was reasonable to plan ahead. Of course, after the war, the weapons should either have been removed or the Klingons at least informed. And now, Enterprise is in the middle of chaos, lost good people, one captured by Kinchawn's people and who knows what they'll do to him, and other powers like the Tholians are being involved in something they had no part in. Politics is a dirty business - but it gets even dirtier where personal ambitions and agendas are involved.


A Time to Kill is just the first part of a duology, so, of course, it ends on a mean cliffhanger. I'm really looking forward to see all the plotthreads resolved - and I really hope Azernal will get what he deserves.


On a sidenote:


This book was published before Vanguard, but I guess David Mack already was working on it. Otherwise, mentions of Ravanar, the Nalori and even Razka don't make much sense. And I guess, Mack also likes Parminder Nagra quite a lot - in Vanguard he envisions her playing Desai, in this novel he names a character after her. I definitely had fun with those tidbits.


On to "A Time to Heal".


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review 2014-09-13 00:00
A Time to Kill
A Time to Kill - John Grisham I got this book at a library book sale for only a quarter. I put it in my buy bag because I heard of Grisham's name and I had vaguely remembered hearing something about A Time To Kill. I didn't really know what it was about when I picked it up, but I knew that it would be a legal thriller. That's Grisham's thing, coming from the legal world. Write what you know, right? After reading the forward, I learned that this is Grisham's first novel. After perusing the internet, I found a ton of people who think this is his best work. So what did I think?

The book starts right off with a brutal rape of a young African American girl. The two white males were apprehended by the police and were in the midst of their trial, when the father of the young girl shoots and kills both of the men. This all happens within the first, like, 50 pages. The rest of the book is mostly about the trial. Even though I'm a fan of the Law & Order series of shows, I was kind of figuring that this would be dry. Trials. I'm not much into legal or political, but I just couldn't stop reading. There were long periods of time where I didn't read, but it had nothing to do with the story. (It was just life getting in the way.)

In this small, southern county everyone associated with the trial faces hardships dealing with money, the KKK, social injustice, and so much more. It was definitely an interesting read, though very long and surprisingly fast and easy to read for being such a huge and daunting book.

My rating and why: I gave it four stars. I thought the characters were on-point. I really enjoyed the story. While it's not really one you need to think about while you read, I was ok with that. There's no who-done-it aspect. We know who did it. The ending was wrapped up super quickly. That's a fault to some people, but I was glad it had a short resolution. I didn't want it to drag on after the sentencing came.
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