Books

The Innocent Man

John Grisham

The unputdownable true story of a man sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit by the master of the legal thriller!

'Chilling Because It's True' - The Times

John Grisham's first work of non-fiction is his most extraordinary legal thriller yet.

In the major league draft of 1971, the first player chosen from the State of Oklahoma was Ron Williamson. When he signed with the Oakland A's, he said goodbye to his hometown of Ada and left to pursue his dreams of big league glory.

Six years later he was back, his dreams broken by a bad arm and bad habits - drinking, drugs and women. He began to show signs of mental illness. Unable to keep a job, he moved in with his mother and slept 20 hours a day on her sofa.

In 1982, a 21 year-old cocktail waitress in Ada named Debra Sue Carter was raped and murdered, and for five years the police could not solve the crime. For reasons that were never clear, they suspected Ron Williamson and his friend Dennis Fritz. The two were finally arrested in 1987 and charged with capital murder.

With no physical evidence, the prosecution's case was built on junk science and the testimony of jaihouse snitches and convicts. Dennis Fritz was found guilty and given a life sentence. Ron Williamson was sent to Death Row.

If you believe that in America you are innocent until proven guilty, this book will shock you. If you believe in the death penalty, this book will disturb you. If you believe the criminal justice system is fair, this book will infuriate you.

The Firm

John Grisham

25th Anniversary edition of the bestselling legal thriller – now with a new introduction from John Grisham.

When Mitchell McDeere qualified third in his class at Harvard, offers poured in from every law firm in America. Bendini, Lambert and Locke were a small, well-respected firm, but their offer exceeded Mitch's wildest expectations: a fantastic salary, a new home, and the keys to a brand new BMW.

It was his dream job - but it was to become his worst nightmare.

Unravelling a complex trail of secret files, undercover surveillance, and millions of dollars of illegal mob money, Mitch stumbles across a shocking conspiracy and a horrifying truth: nobody has ever left Bendini, Lambert and Locke - and anybody who has ever tried has ended up dead.

'Slickly plotted ... unputdownable' Mail on Sunday

'A furiously paced thriller' Sunday Times

'Enthralling characters and mesmeric plot' Time Out

A Time To Kill

John Grisham

The multi-million copy bestselling thriller that introduced Jake Brigance to Clanton ... and has now inspired a sequel, Sycamore Row

When Carl Lee Hailey guns down the hoodlums who have raped his ten-year-old daughter, the people of Clanton see it as a crime of blood and call for his acquittal.

But when extremists outside Clanton hear that a black man has killed two white men, they invade the town, determined to destroy anything and anyone that opposes their sense of justice.

Jake Brigance has been hired to defend Hailey. It's the kind of case that can make or break a young lawyer. But in the maelstrom of Clanton, it is also the kind of case that could get a young lawyer killed.

Blood Drive (Storycuts)

John Grisham

The laugh out loud adventure of three men from rural Ford County who travel to Memphis to donate blood to an injured friend. The journey, however, takes longer than expected thanks to their inability to continue driving past any liquor store en route. Not to mention the fact that the men have no idea which hospital their friend is in. After a variety of shootings, and a strip club brawl, it seems as though these men will not just be visiting their friend in the hospital.

Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection Ford County.

Casino (Storycuts)

John Grisham

A story of high-stakes and revenge following the construction of a casino.

A sly entrepreneur and an unlikely Chieftain conspire to set up a casino on tribal territory. Money starts to pour in, business seems assured, as do the attentions of the local lonely-hearted women. But some people are upset by this - especially one spurned husband, who plans to strike back where it hurts.

Part of the Storycuts series, this story was previously published in the collection Ford County.

Fetching Raymond (Storycuts)

John Grisham

One mother's last trip to see her son on death row.

Wheelchair-bound Inez Graney and her two older sons, Leon and Butch, take a bizarre road trip through the Mississippi Delta to visit the youngest Graney brother, Raymond, who's been locked away on death row for eleven years. It could well be their last visit.

Part of the Storycuts series, this story was previously published in the collection Ford County.

Fish Files (Storycuts)

John Grisham

A middle-aged lawyer's tangle with the lure of money.

A middle-aged lawyer in a small town, handling small cases but faced with rising debts and a strained marriage, feels trapped - until a phone-call comes in from New York, from a famous law firm, offering a big cheque in return for a little skulduggery . . . What will Mack Stafford do for the money?

Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection Ford County.

Funny Boy (Storycuts)

John Grisham

One young man's homecoming shocks a whole town.

This is a homecoming that none of the respectable folk of Clanton are pleased about: that of a young man dying of AIDS. But their attempts to ostracise him merely show up some very ugly shortcomings of their own . . .

Part of the Storycuts series, this story was previously published in the collection Ford County.

Michael's Room (Storycuts)

John Grisham

An aggrieved man forces a lawyer to face natural justice.

Stanley Wade can't even be sure that his absence will be noticed, after a simple trip to the food store takes an unexpectedly dark turn. A practising lawyer, Wade is forced to confront truths that challenge his most basic notions of justice and good.

Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection Ford County.

Quiet Haven (Storycuts)

John Grisham

A scandal is uncovered at a nursing home - but is it a conspiracy?

A new employee starts work at Quiet Haven retirement home. Strangely pro-active, and keen to form friendships with the underlings and residents, he begins to uncover skeletons in the closet. At the same time, he's indulging his drink-ravaged landlady's desire for company. His intentions are good - too good to be true?

Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection In Between the Sheets.

Skipping Christmas

John Grisham

Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That's just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they'll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on the street without a rooftop Frosty the snowman; they won't be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren't even going to have a tree. They won't need one, because come December 25 they're setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences - and isn't half as easy as they'd imagined.

A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that has become part of our holiday tradition.

A Painted House

John Grisham

The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day. It was a Wednesday, early in September 1952. The Cardinals were five games behind the Dodgers with two weeks to go, and the season looked hopeless. The cotton, however, was waist high to my father, almost over my head, and he and my grandfather could be heard before supper whispering words that were seldom heard. It could be a "good crop."

Thus begins the new novel from John Grisham, a story inspired by his own childhood in rural Arkansas. The narrator is a seven year old farm boy named Luke Chandler, who lives in the cotton fields with his parents and grandparents in a little house that's never been painted. The Chandlers farm eighty acres that they rent, not own, and when the cotton is ready they hire a truckload of Mexicans and a family from the Ozarks to help harvest it.

For six weeks they pick cotton, battling the heat, the rain, the fatigue, and sometimes, each other. As the weeks pass Luke sees and hears things no seven year old could possibly be prepared for, and finds himself keeping secrets that not only threaten the crop but will change the lives of the Chandlers forever. A Painted House is a moving story of one boy's journey from innocence to experience.

The Appeal

John Grisham

In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company. They have been accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town's water supply, causing the worst "cancer cluster" in history. The company appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it.

But chemical company owner, Carl Trudeau, decides to try to purchase himself a seat on the Court. Through an intricate web of conspiracy and deceit, his political operatives recruit a young, unsuspecting candidate. They finance him, manipulate him, market him, and mould him into a potential Supreme Court justice. Their Supreme Court justice.

The Appeal is a powerful, timely, and shocking story of political and legal intrigue, a story that will leave readers unable to think about the electoral process or judicial system in quite the same way ever again.

The Brethren

John Grisham

Trumble is a minimum security federal prison, home to drug dealers, bank robbers, swindlers, embezzlers, tax evaders, and three former judges who call themselves The Brethren. They meet each day in the law library where they spend hours writing letters. They are fine-tuning a mail scam, and it's starting to pay big. The money is pouring in.

But then their little scam goes awry. It ensnares the wrong victim, a powerful man on the outside, a man with dangerous friends, and The Brethren's days of quietly marking time are over.

The Broker

John Grisham

In his final hours in the Oval Office the outgoing President grants a full pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison. It's a controversial move, but what no one else knows is that the presidential pardon comes as a result of enormous pressure from the CIA. They claim that Backman may have obtained secrets that would compromise the world's most sophisticated satellite surveillance system.

Backman is quietly smuggled out of the country in a military cargo plane; he is given a new name, a new identity, and a new home in Italy. Eventually, once he has settled into his new life, the CIA will leak his whereabouts to the Israelis, the Russians, the Chinese and the Saudis. Then the CIA will do what it does best: sit back and watch. The question is not whether Backman will survive there's no chance of that. The question the CIA needs answered is: who will kill him?

The King Of Torts

John Grisham

The Office of the Public Defender is not known as a training ground for bright young litigators. Clay Carter has been there too long, and, like most of his colleagues, dreams of a better job in a real firm. When he reluctantly takes the case of a young man charged with a random street killing, he assumes it is just another of the many senseless murders that hit Washington D.C. every week.

As he digs deeper into his client's background, Clay stumbles upon a conspiracy too horrible to believe. He suddenly finds himself in the middle of a complex case against one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, looking at an enormous settlement that would totally change his life a settlement that would make him, almost overnight, the legal profession's newest king of torts...

The Last Juror

John Grisham

In 1970, The Ford County Times, one of Mississipi's more colourful weekly newspapers, went bankrupt. To the surprise and dismay of many, ownership was assumed by 23-year-old college drop-out, Willie Traynor. The future of the paper looked grim until a young mother was brutally raped and murdered by a member of the notorious Padgitt family. Traynor reported all the gruesome details, and his newspaper began to prosper.

The murderer, Danny Padgitt, was tried before a packed courtroom in Clanton, Mississippi. The trial came to a startling, dramatic end when the defendant threatened revenge against the jurors if they convicted him. Nevertheless, they found him guilty, and he was sentenced to life in prison.

But in Mississippi in 1970 'life' didn't necessarily mean 'life', and nine years later Danny Padgitt managed to get himself paroled. He returned to Ford County, and the retribution began.

Playing for Pizza

John Grisham

With a 17-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick Dockery provided what was arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he became a national laughing stock and, of course, was immediately dropped by the Browns and shunned by all other teams.

But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent, Arnie, finds a team that needs him. Against enormous odds, Arnie finally locates just such a team and informs Rick that, miraculously, he can in fact now be a starting quarterback for the mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy.

Rick reluctantly agrees to play for them at least until a better offer comes along and heads off to Italy. He knows nothing about Parma (not even where it is), has never been to Europe, and doesn't speak or understand a word of Italian.

The land of opera, fine wines, extremely small cars, romance and football americano certainly holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery.

The Confession

John Grisham

An innocent man is days from execution. Only a guilty man can save him.

Travis Boyette is a murderer. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high-school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched and waited as police and prosecutors arrested Donte Drumm, a local football star with no connection to the crime. Tried, convicted and sentenced, Drumm was sent to death row: his fate had been decided.

Nine years later, Donte Drumm is four days from execution. Over 400 miles away in Kansas, Travis faces a fate of his own: an inoperable brain tumour will soon deliver the end. Reflecting on his miserable life, he decides to do what's right. After years of silence he is ready to confess.

But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges and politicians that they're about to execute an innocent man?

Bleachers

John Grisham

High school All-American Neely Crenshaw was probably the best quarterback ever to play for the legendary Messina Spartans. Fifteen years have gone by since those glory days, and Neely has come home to Messina to bury Coach Eddie Rake, the man who molded the Spartans into an unbeatable football dynasty.

As Coach Rake's 'boys' sit in the bleachers waiting for the dimming field lights to signal his passing, they replay the old glories, and try to decide once and for all whether they love Eddie Rake or hate him. For Neely Crenshaw, still struggling to come to terms with his explosive relationship with the Coach, his dreams of a great career in the NFL, and the choices he made as a young man, the stakes could not be higher.

John Grisham

Biography

John Grisham is the author of twenty-two novels, one work of non-fiction, a collection of short stories, and a novel for young readers. He is on the Board of Directors for the Innocence Project in New York and is the Chairman on the Board of Directors for the Mississippi Innocence Project at the Mississippi School of Law. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi. His website is www.johngrisham.co.uk