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The Runaway Juryby John Grisham
Synopses & Reviews
The face of Nicholas Easter was slightly hidden by a display rack filled with slim cordless phones, and he was looking not directly at the hidden camera but somewhere off to the left, perhaps at a customer, or perhaps at a counter where a group of kids hovered over the latest electronic games from Asia. Though taken from a distance of forty yards by a man dodging rather heavy mall foot traffic, the photo was clear and revealed a nice face, clean-shaven with strong features and boyish good looks. Easter was twenty-seven, they knew that for a fact. No eyeglasses. No nose ring or weird haircut. Nothing to indicate he was one of the usual computer nerds who worked in the store at five bucks an hour. His questionnaire said he'd been there for four months, said also that he was a part-time student, though no record of enrollment had been found at any college within three hundred miles. He was lying about this, they were certain.
He had to be lying. Their intelligence was too good. If the kid was a student, they'd know where, for how long, what field of study, how good were the grades, or how bad. They'd know. He was a clerk in a Computer Hut in a mall. Nothing more or less. Maybe he planned to enroll somewhere. Maybe he'd dropped out but still liked the notion of referring to himself as a part-time student. Maybe it made him feel better, gave him a sense of purpose, sounded good.
But he was not, at this moment nor at any time in the recent past, a student of any sort. So, could he be trusted? This had been thrashed about the room twice already, each time they came to Easter's name on the master list and his face hit the screen. It was a harmless lie, they'd almost decided.
He didn't smoke. The store had a strict nonsmoking rule, but he'd been seen (not photographed) eating a taco in the Food Garden with a co-worker who smoked two cigarettes with her lemonade. Easter didn't seem to mind the smoke. At least he wasn't an antismoking zealot.
The face in the photo was lean and tanned and smiling slightly with lips closed. The white shirt under the red store jacket had a buttonless collar and a tasteful striped tie. He appeared neat, in shape, and the man who took the photo actually spoke with Nicholas as he pretended to shop for an obsolete gadget; said he was articulate, helpful, knowledgeable, a nice young man. His name tag labeled Easter as a Co-Manager, but two others with the same title were spotted in the store at the same time.
The day after the photo was taken, an attractive young female in jeans entered the store, and while browsing near the software actually lit up a cigarette. Nicholas Easter just happened to be the nearest clerk, or Co-Manager, or whatever he was, and he politely approached the woman and asked her to stop smoking. She pretended to be frustrated by this, even insulted, and tried to provoke him. He maintained his tactful manner, explained to her that the store had a strict no-smoking policy. She was welcome to smoke elsewhere. "Does smoking bother you?" she had asked, taking a puff. "Not really," he had answered. "But it bothers the man who owns this store." He then asked her once again to stop. She really wanted to purchase a new digital radio, she explained, so would it be possible for him to fetch an ashtray. Nicholas pulled an empty soft drink can from under the counter, and actually took the cigarette from her and extinguished it.
A member of the jury for the century's most explosive trial against a giant tobacco company, Juror #2, a mysterious man with a past and a hidden agenda, joins forces with a beautiful woman on the outside to get the verdict he wants, no matter what the cost. Reprint. 35,000 first printing.
Every jury has a leader, and the verdict belongsto him. In Biloxi, Mississippi, a landmark tobaccotrial with hundreds of millions of dollars atstake beginsroutinely, then swerves mysteriously offcourse. The jury is behaving strangely, and atleast one juroris convinced he's being watched. Soonthey have to be sequestered. Then a tip from ananonymousyoung woman suggests she is able to predictthe jurors' increasingly odd behavior. Is the jurysomehow being manipulated, or even controlled? Ifso, by whom? And, more important,why?
About the Author
Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, John Grisham dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. He practiced law for nearly a decade in Southaven and served in the state House of Representatives until 1990. Inspired by the actual testimony in a rape case, Grisham got up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work. He spent three years on A Time to Kill; it was eventually bought by Wynwood press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991. Grisham lives with his wife and their two children. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA. When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.
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