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The Appealby John Grisham
Synopses & Reviews
The jury was ready.
After forty-two hours of deliberations that followed seventy-one days of trial that included 530 hours of testimony from four dozen witnesses, and after a lifetime of sitting silently as the lawyers haggled and the judge lectured and the spectators watched like hawks for telltale signs, the jury was ready. Locked away in the jury room, secluded and secure, ten of them proudly signed their names to the verdict while the other two pouted in their corners, detached and miserable in their dissension. There were hugs and smiles and no small measure of self-congratulation because they had survived this little war and could now march proudly back into the arena with a decision they had rescued through sheer determination and the dogged pursuit of compromise. Their ordeal was over; their civic duty complete. They had served above and beyond. They were ready.
The foreman knocked on the door and rustled Uncle Joe from his slumbers. Uncle Joe, the ancient bailiff, had guarded them while he also arranged their meals, heard their complaints, and quietly slipped their messages to the judge. In his younger years, back when his hearing was better, Uncle Joe was rumored to also eavesdrop on his juries through a flimsy pine door he and he alone had selected and installed. But his listening days were over, and, as he had confided to no one but his wife, after the ordeal of this particular trial he might just hang up his old pistol once and for all. The strain of controlling justice was wearing him down.
He smiled and said, That's great. I'll get the judge, as if the judge were somewhere in the bowels of the courthouse just waiting for a call from Uncle Joe. Instead, by custom, he found a clerk and passed along the wonderful news. It was truly exciting. The old courthouse had never seen a trial so large and so long. To end it with no decision at all would have been a shame.
The clerk tapped lightly on the judge's door, then took a step inside and proudly announced, We have a verdict, as if she had personally labored through the negotiations and now was presenting the result as a gift.
The judge closed his eyes and let loose a deep, satisfying sigh. He smiled a happy, nervous smile of enormous relief, almost disbelief, and finally said, Round up the lawyers.
After almost five days of deliberations, Judge Harrison had resigned himself to the likelihood of a hung jury, his worst nightmare. After four years of bare-knuckle litigation and four months of a hotly contested trial, the prospect of a draw made him ill. He couldn't begin to imagine the prospect of doing it all again.
He stuck his feet into his old penny loafers, jumped from the chair grinning like a little boy, and reached for his robe. It was finally over, the longest trial of his extremely colorful career.
The clerk's first call went to the firm of Payton & Payton, a local husband-and-wife team now operating out of an abandoned dime store in a lesser part of town. A paralegal picked up the phone, listened for a few seconds, hung up, then shouted, The jury has a verdict His voice echoed through the cavernous maze of small, temporary workrooms and jolted his colleagues.
He shouted it again as he ran to The Pit, where the rest of the firm was frantically gathe
When a judge returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste in a small Mississippi town, the company's billionaire owner seeks to influence the appeal process by using his money to "buy" a seat on the state Supreme Co
JOHN GRISHAM has written nineteen previous novels and one work of nonfiction, The Innocent Man, published in 2006. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction.
Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.
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