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A Time for Mercy

Written By: John Grisham

Published By: Doubleday

Review By: Melissa Minners

              I love John Grisham’s writing and have read quite a few of his novels, but my favorites are the ones featuring Jake Brigance, a brilliant small-town attorney with a huge heart.  When I heard there was another Jake Brigance sequel to A Time to Kill and Sycamore Row, I had to get my hands on it.  And when I did get a hold of that 460-plus page book, I couldn’t wait to read it.

             A Time for Mercy finds Jake Brigance and Harry Rex working on holding a train company accountable in a wrongful death case.  They stand to make a windfall from the case and things are looking rather good for the case, until Jake is assigned to a murder case involving a young boy and an off-duty officer.  On the surface, it appears that sixteen-year-old Drew Gamble murdered Stuart Kofer, a well-known and well-liked deputy in Clanton, Mississippi, in his sleep with his own service revolver.  But as Jake begins to investigate, he realizes there is much more to this case than meets the eye.

              Unfortunately, in taking on this case, Jake finds himself much in the same boat as when he defended Carl Lee Hailey in his murder trial.  Not only can the Gamble family not afford to pay him, but most of the town is against Jake defending a cop killer.  The threats are pouring in, folks in town have stopped talking to him, and the bills are piling up.  The Gamble case is becoming costly and rather dangerous, and it is affecting the wrongful death case as well.  But how can Jake allow a sixteen-year-old kid who never had a chance in life face the death penalty?

              If anyone out there is looking for a book to adapt into a film, A Time for Mercy would be perfect.  I would love to see Matthew McConaughey back as Jake Brigance fighting for the little guy in a murder trial while taking on a powerful corporation in a wrongful death lawsuit.  What I love about John Grisham’s stories is that nothing is straight forward.  There is always a plot twist that throws everything the main characters have worked toward into jeopardy.  A Time for Mercy is no exception.  Just when you think you know what tactic Brigance has to take to keep his client out of the electric chair, he takes a wholly different path.  Just when you think he has the wrongful death suit locked up, someone appears to throw a monkey-wrench into the whole thing. 

              Jake Brigance is a character we all know and love, and we all know his supporting cast of characters, including often drunk mentor Lucien, salty divorce attorney Harry Rex, Jakes wife and his daughter.  A Time for Mercy brings back these characters and some characters from other novels, including Carl Lee Hailey from A Time to Kill and Portia Lang from Sycamore Row.  All of these characters are relatable and have terrific chemistry with one another.  The Gamble family is rough around the edges, but you find yourself rooting for them anyway, hoping that Jake can not only stop the death penalty for Drew, but get him off altogether.  Grisham is great at garnering sympathy for the little guy and making us realize that not every murder case is clear cut.

              I love Grisham’s Jake Brigance series so much, I bought A Time to Kill, Sycamore Row and A Time for Mercy for one of my friends for Christmas.  Grisham provides such captivating stories in each novel and A Time for Mercy rounds off the trilogy quite nicely.  It’s definitely a must read for any John Grisham fan out there.

Check out A Time for Mercy at Amazon

If you like John Grisham, check out these:

A Time to Kill

Sycamore Row

The Rogue Lawyer

The Innocent Man

The Racketeer

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Published by Melissa Minners

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