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The King of Torts - John Grisham

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Author: John Grisham / Genre: Crime / Thriller

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    14 Reviews
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      24.12.2010 19:44
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      It has been a while since I read a John Grisham novel but as I was recently called up for jury service - which involved a lot of sitting around not doing very much I thought it would be a good time to read another one. Well read at any rate - this was actually the first book I grabbed from my book shelf when going in on my first day.

      Grisham is famed for his writing of tense legal thrillers and out of the ones I have read 'The Partner' and 'The Pelican Brief' are my favourites. However, it is getting on for 10 years since I have read these so I will need to read them again before I do a review of them.

      Still the edition of the novel I have was published in 2003 so I know it isn't his most recent offering but I have a few others to work through as well.

      Brief plot:

      Clay Carter is a poorly paid lawyer working for the office of the public defender. Defending those who can not afford to pay for legal representation. His life appears to him to be at a dead end. He has a job he hates, and the parents of his girl friend dislike him. To these snobby golf club members Clay is not their sort of person, he doesn't make enough money.

      However, a stranger approaches Clay and drops a big case in his lap, a case which could make him millions, followed by another, just what is this stranger up to and how does he get his information....

      Will Clay get rich and keep the girl?

      Opinion:

      With Grisham being a lawyer himself he does have a good insight into this kind of story and he has always been able to make the plot lines believable and this offering is no exception. This novel will probably follow the many others which have already been made into films.

      Grisham's character descriptions are excellent as far as the main characters go, however, as with most author's the more minor ones fair less well and many are quite forgettable. This is probably due to there being too many of them. As with most author's I still feel this could be corrected by simply having fewer of them and just making the remaining ones bigger roles.

      Within the novel the main plot does flow well and you can not help yourself wanting the lawyers to lose as Grisham does a good job of portraying them as money grabbing heartless swines but in a way the clients are even greedier for money and still bares out the policy of where there is blame there is a claim. This leads you in some ways to want all sides to lose so everyone ends up with nothing. For me his main character, however, does gain some sympathy along the way mainly due to how ghastly his girlfriend's parents are to him and that he has been badly advised by the higher powers in mass tort cases around him.

      The main sub plot away from all the legal stuff appears at times to have been used as padding in order to get the novel to a reasonable size. The parts of Clay's private life do, however, help in the ultimate climax of the novel but apart from this it is really for me a needless distraction from the main plot of the story and most of it adds little to the actual novel its self other than to provide a more human side to the main character.

      The chapters are of a good size and there are plenty of places where you can easily put the book down for a while. Unlike some other John Grisham books I found this surprisingly easy to do. This is not to say it is badly written, it isn't it is just that there are so few plot twists within it's pages and those that do crop up are far too predictable and for most of the novel there is frankly little in the way of tesion built up. Whilst this novel is based on the US legal system it is still easy to follow and understand.

      The conclusion of the novel did little for me and it did not exactly tie up all the lose ends. In a way it looked as if Grisham had hit a bit of writers block on it and simply used a cop-out ending so that he could get it finished and start his next one. This I found surprising and quite disappointing as Grisham usually concludes his novels better than he did here. It was as if he was planning to write a sequel to it but I think 'The return of the king' is already taken.

      Summary:

      All in all despite my panning of various parts of the book I did quite enjoy reading it but it is not a classic. Whilst most of his books have been best sellers this one does fall a little flat at times and it did not fully live up to my expectations I usually have from a John Grisham novel. Whilst this is better than 'The Street Lawyer' (His worst book so far in my opinion) it is not as strong as some of the others.

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        18.11.2009 19:48
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        Nothing special

        The King of Torts is a first book of John Grisham I've ever read, I'm not sure if I want to read another one novel of this author.
        It's telling about a man who's career turn-around. His life started to be like a dream but suddenly he had to wake up...

        The King of Torts was recommended by my dad, he was pretty sure that I'll like it. He wasn't right.
        I really like criminal books, I enjoy to read Agatha Christie's stories. Since I was born I was always interested in criminal investigations. I was watching all the criminal series and solved complicated criminal problems in front of telly.
        When I started to read The King of Torts I was hoping it will be great fun. It wasn't! Everything that's in this book was so predictible. There was no sudden twists which should be. I was dissapointed. The story was monotonous and boring. I wasn't feeling any trill that I feel reading good criminal stories.

        No, I'm not going to read books of Grisham anymore.
        But... who knows?

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          03.07.2009 19:51

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          From public defender to Tort lawyer

          Clay carter is a lawyer from the public defenders office who stumbles into the world of the tort lawyers. He soon finds out how easy it is to make big money by becoming a tort lawyer.

          Once again John Grisham draws you into the story with ease. The one thing that does happen when you read a grisham novel is that you will learn something about the legal process. Grishams knowledge of the tort laws is no exception.
          This is a book that keeps it simple and makes it easy to read. The one thing is that the only people who make money from tort is the lawyers.

          The main character in the story is almost like-able as he comes across as a hard working person who suddenly finds the way to earn what we all dream of earning.

          The ease at which Grisham takes you through the legal processes is testament to his writing skills. If you have never read a grisham book before this is a nice one to cut your teeth on.

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          17.06.2009 11:29
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          Youngish lawyer makes a rapid fortune before problems arise

          Although this book is not new, it is one of John Grisham's later attempts at recycling his very successful formula of legal dramas. If you are not familiar with John Grisham then this will be an easy introduction to him and you will probably enjoy the story of boom and bust of a youngish lawyer.

          The story follows the career of Clay Carter, a public defence lawyer, who quite by accident suddenly finds himself amongst the big shot tort lawyers making millions from a pharmaceutical companies. Within just a few months, he goes from a Honda Accord to his own private jet. Unfortunately for him, greed gets the better of him and things start to go wrong and the money disappears even quicker than it appeared.

          John Grisham knows how to write a good story and, whilst the plot may feel a bit over-familar to anyone who has read a number of his other books, you do find yourself getting drawn into the story and wanting to read on to find out what will happen next to the main character.

          Perhaps the most interesting part of the book was actually learning how tort lawyers operate in practice. Although litigation was mainly an American phenomenom, it is rapidly spreading in the UK and, as this book makes clear, that is certainly not a good thing.

          There is nothing to dislike about this novel and it's an enjoyable and easy read. It is not one of Grisham's best but then neither is it one of his worst.

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          24.04.2008 00:25
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          Legal based thriller

          John Grisham is the author of a number of books which have also transferred onto the big screen and perhaps the most famous of these was The Firm staring Tom Cruise.

          The King of Torts again focuses the action on the America court systen and in this case the Tort system which is where huge class action lawsuits are bought against big multi national companies and the pay outs for both litigants and their lawyers can be huge.

          The central character in this book is Clay Carter and not very successful public defender in Washington. Clay has to defend Tequila Watson accused of a street killing and the evidence makes it appear like an open and shut case which will go against his client however Clay is approached by Max Pace who has evidence to suggest a drug may be the cause of the killings due to the effect it has on those taking it. This leads Clay into setting up his own practice and accessing the huge wealth potential from the case.

          This is not a bad Grisham book, he has struggled to regain the standards set with The Firm howeer this book goes back to doing what he knows best, fast paced edge of your seat stuff with lots of legal action as well.

          It is not his best work but it is worth checking out.

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          16.07.2007 18:21
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          Entertaining enough, but chances are you'll only read it the once.

          Public Defender J Carter Clay becomes a multi-millionaire overnight when he sues a drugs company over a bad product.

          The King of Torts is one of John Grisham's later books – released long after his legal potboilers had (in my opinion) gone off the boil. Unsuccessful forays into other areas (including semi-autobiographical novels) led to Grisham returning to the legal arena he always appears most comfortable.

          It's full of Grisham's trademarks (big, arrogant lawyers fighting to make even more money). Fans will immediately be comfortable with the tone and feel, and it rips along at a cracking pace. There's no doubting the fact that Grisham has a very readable style, writing in short sections and chapters that tempt the reader in to read “just a few more pages”. OK, so he's not the greatest writer in the world, and his prose is never going to challenge for any literary awards, but he sure knows how to keep the reader interested – and isn't that the real purpose behind any book meant for mass market entertainment?

          Grisham also manages to make interesting plots out of events that normally would bore the pants off most people and he does it again here. If someone had told me that a novel about the tort system in America would keep me gripped, I'd have laughed in their faces! This is Grisham's peculiar talent. He can take a really dull, complicated subject, boil it down to its basics so that it's easily understood and digested by its readers and then craft an interesting story out of it.

          Because, make no mistake about it, The King of Torts is an interesting story. It starts off with a murder, which leads you to expect a traditional murder mystery/courtroom storyline, before veering off in a very unexpected direction. Within about 40 pages, the whole focus of the book has changed, and we're suddenly thrown into the arena of lawyers suing big companies, which is nowhere near as dry as it sounds. As mentioned above, Grisham lets the book rip along at a breathless pace, rushing the reader from one event to the next. The tension over the outcome of certain events does actually grip you and will have you wondering what's going to happen next.

          Whilst this is a strength, though, it's also a weakness. One of the reasons the plot can zip along so much is because it's actually pretty flimsy. It's also a little repetitive. The first battle suing a big company is pretty interesting, but then we go through the whole thing again with a second company, then a third. It's as if Grisham realises that this book is pretty much a one trick pony and that he doesn't have enough material to introduce anything new. True, he does introduce different aspects to each of these plot repetitions, but really, these are just variations on a theme.

          Equally, a long-standing complaint of Grisham novels is that the characters he creates are also pretty one-dimensional, and The King of Torts is no exception. Not only do most of the characters have ridiculous names, it's also difficult to find a likeable character in the book. Most of them are greedy, vain, self-obsessed and arrogant. The chief culprit here is J Carter Clay himself. We're meant to believe he's a good bloke, former committed defender of the poor, who gets lucky and has the opportunity to make lots of money. In fact, the part of the book where he is “good” is skipped over so quickly (for pacing issues) that you never once believe this. All he will do is confirm your opinion of lawyers (unless you are one, of course, in which case it will make your blood boil at its “unfair portrayal!”)

          In addition to possessing mostly unlikeable traits, Grisham's treatment of his characters is also very shallow. The descriptions of almost all the characters – even the key ones – is very superficial indeed. As such, it's really difficult to care what happens to them – good or bad. Characters appear quickly and then disappear just as quickly – forgotten about or reintroduced, as the story demands it. Outside of the main characters, it's sometimes difficult to remember who is who. Since they have virtually no features to distinguish them from other characters, they all tend to merge into one. Again, this doesn't help you identify with them or care about them.

          As with many of his other books, The King of Torts is best viewed as a disposable piece of entertainment – it's almost the very definition of holiday reading. Perfect for lazy days by the pool when you don't want to have to concentrate, or to take your mind off those long delays at the airport! It's the sort of book which is entertaining enough whilst you're reading it, but instantly forgotten the minute you read the last page and put it down.

          Efficiently-enough written, it would have benefited from a more substantial plot and more nuanced characters. It will pass a few hours for you, but it's unlikely you'll ever come back to read it a second time.

          Basic Information
          ----------------------
          The King of Torts
          John Grisham
          Random House, 2003
          ISBN: 0099416174 (paperback)
          Cost: £6.99 (paperback, new) or around £1 (second hand)

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            25.03.2005 18:05
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            I’ve never been a fan of John Grisham, although never from a position of great knowledge. He was an author I’d avoided based largely on reputation, as I didn’t think his courtroom style thrillers would really appeal to the horror fan I’ve always considered myself to be. My avoidance of Grisham was so complete that a book of his I was given as a gift sat unwanted and unopened on my shelf for more than 18 months until I really couldn’t find anything else to read recently.

            Clay Carter is a lawyer working in Washington’s Office of the Public Defender, the bottom of the line for lawyers, in that all their clients are people who cannot afford their own lawyer. After five years of trying to defend clients who are almost always guilty, he’s sick of it. To make things worse, his girlfriend’s parents think his job makes him beneath her and she’s starting to agree with them, even more so when he turns down a chance her father gives Clay to take a step up the career ladder.

            In a very short space of time, Clay’s life goes a little wrong. He gets a murder case, with another indefensible client, dumped in his lap. And he gets dumped in his personal life as well, with his girlfriend deciding to agree with her father that Clay’s refusal of the job he’d found was final proof that he has no ambition and isn’t right for her.

            But when life is as low as you think it can go, the only way is up. Within days, Clay has been contacted by someone offering him riches he’d never dreamed of, and the way to earn enough money to change his life completely. For the first time in his life, everything seems to be going Clay’s way.

            Grisham has quite an easy style that keeps the pages turning, and the story has enough events happening to keep it interesting, which helps it fly by. He’s not quite in the same all action style of writing as Elmore Leonard, but there’s very little that happens in “King of Torts” that doesn’t progress the story. There’s a little bit of what feels like padding at a couple of points, and not all of the back story seems totally necessary, but this is the exception rather than the rule, as seems to be the case with a lot of writers.

            For me, however, “King of Torts” falls down on a couple of major points. I don’t know if John Grisham was ever a lawyer before he started writing law based thrillers, or if he’s just researched the law well. Whatever the reason, he can be a little technical at time. He talks of torts and class actions and plaintiffs and paralegals. I suspect that unless you know a little about the law or are a dedicated follower of authors like Grisham, many of these things will be new to you. By the end of the book, they’ll still be fairly new. Grisham doesn’t dumb down his legal terms or waste time explaining them, which left me feeling a little detached from the story. Although I could still follow the action fairly well, the minutiae were a bit lost on me. I doubt this would reduce the enjoyment for anyone with more familiarity with the law, particularly American law, than I have.

            What will reduce their enjoyment, as it did mine, was the predictability of the whole book. Although there are a few unexpected events and although you might not be able to predict the specifics, in general you can see most of what happens coming a long way before it appears. It’s never a bad story and it’s rarely uninteresting, but it is fairly obvious. There were a couple of bits that took me by surprise, but the story in general followed a predictable and well trodden path.

            I can see why Grisham’s work appeals to the masses. If you can put aside the lack of legal explanation, it’s a well paced, easily readable thriller. It’s not one that’s going to take up your attention and makes it perfect travel reading, or for lying on a beach somewhere, as something to take your mind away from the fact that you have nothing else to do. If you’re looking for something to read for pleasure, you could do worse than this, although it isn’t really the kind of thing for those times when you want something to concentrate on and it’s not going to be a keeper, as it has few surprises first time around and will have even less should you ever come to read it again.

            Fortunately, for such throw away reading, it can be found at a pretty throw away price. Amazon’s £5.59 and Green Metropolis’ £3.75 are over priced for such a book, but both eBay and the Amazon Marketplace have had copies available from a penny, although you need to watch for postage charges. You may well find copies in charity shops or from second hand book sellers to help you avoid that problem, and these may be the best places to buy from.

            Personally, I’m grateful that my copy was a gift and so cost me nothing, as I’d be unhappy to have paid for something like this and it hasn’t impressed me so much that I’ll be desperate to read any of Grisham’s work again in future, although I’m grateful for the brief distraction from various bus journeys it provided. Not grateful enough, however, to prevent my first encounter with John Grisham also being my last.

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              15.07.2004 13:59
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              It was OK and I got to the end, but not an experience to be repeated.

              Having been an avid John Grisham fan for a number of years I?ve enjoyed his diversity through his ability to write stunning courtroom dramas as well as modern day tales like Skipping Christmas, that sees a couple struggling to overcome the commercial pressures of the festive season. So, when his latest novel is published in paperback, I?m usually given it as a present or buy it as soon as possible. The King of Torts was published in paperback in December 2003, and I received it as a gift at Christmas, although I only just got round to reading it a few months ago.

              The central character in this drama is Clay Carter, a ?burnt out? lawyer at the tender age of 31, based in political Washington DC.

              ?If Clay Carter had ever been attracted to a career in OPD (Office of the Public Defender), he could not now remember why. In one week the fifth anniversary of his employment there would come and go, without celebration, and, hopefully, without anyone knowing it. Clay was burned out at the age of thirty one, stuck in an office he was ashamed to show his friends, looking for an exit with no place to go, and now saddled with another senseless murder case that was growing heavier by the minute.?

              In the beginning, Grisham portrays Clay as an all round American nice guy with a conscience, who takes his responsibilities seriously, and who is trying to do his best by his ?clients?, even where the odds and the evidence are stacked against them.

              Whilst investigating his most recent murder case that apparently has no motive, he stumbles upon a number of similar motiveless murders against a range of street kids with little in common, other than the fact that they?ve been in residential rehabilitation centres to clean up their act. This, in turn, leads to Clay being headhunted by a guy who claims that
              his name has interested a number of clients who are recruiting new lawyers. The guy, Max Pace, turns out to be a ?fireman?, someone who takes the heat out of potentially explosive litigation claims, and matches lawyers to corporations to arrive at a mutually beneficial conclusion.

              ***This was my first problem with this novel. Grisham had portrayed Clay Carter, as a man with a sense of morality, a man with a conscience, and although suspicious about the ?fireman?s? motives, Clay seems to sell himself short to the devil, virtually at a drop of a hat. Quite literally, we move from one day Clay is an over worked lawyer at OPD, to the very next day he?s working in a suite of offices fit for a King, spending millions to make millions. To be fair though, who wouldn?t be tempted at the thought of making millions of dollars? However, I was disappointed that the character didn?t seem to question the reason had been chosen to any significant degree, or appear to struggle with this ?moral dilemma?.***

              Clay looks after his friends and takes some of his colleagues with him with the lure of money they could only previously dream off. His firm goes from strength to strength and becomes a major player in the mass tort market, settling claims for thousands of individuals against poorly tested and marketed drugs.

              Throughout the story there is a love interest in the form of a young ?socially superior? young lady, whose parents aspire for her to marry someone worthy and give them grandchildren. Clay loses Rebecca and hooks up with Ridley, a European model with a figure to die for, who it is rumoured ?prefers women?.

              ***In my opinion both female characters are poorly defined, lack depth of character and fail to add impetus or value to the underlying storylines.***

              To say any more about the story itself would be too revealing of the plot,
              and I would hate to spoil it for anyone who does decide to read it. As you wade your way through this book, the ending becomes very predictable, never something that I?ve found to be a problem with Grisham before.

              My final comments are thus:-

              ***Where was the depth of character that one can normally expect of this author?***

              ***Underlying threads through the tale fail to materialise and develop, and I found myself wanting to know what had happened to someone or something, only to discover by the end, I was never going to find out!***

              ***The ending is predictable, but weak.***

              This is definitely one I won?t be reading again, which is quite unusual for me.

              ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^

              What are Torts?

              Torts are a large subject area in litigation, where an individual seeks compensation from an individual or company who may have caused them harm. This type of litigation is more commonly referred to as ?mass tort? law in the USA when individuals or groups of individual sue corporations for damages. Mass torts tend to differ from individual torts in that they are distinctly different from personal injury claims. Large numbers of claims are submitted, but all have common factual and legal elements.

              ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^

              486 pages
              Available in paperback published by arrow books
              Price £6.99
              ISBN 0-09-941617-4

              Thanks for reading.

              Cheers

              Christina ;-) x

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                12.07.2004 22:15
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                The Firm is one of a handful of books that I have read on more than one occasion because it is such a captivating read. Since this high Grisham has produced some great books but recently I have found his formula becoming a little tired and his last few books have not been the addictive read that The Firm was. In places King of Torts reminded me of The Firm without being quite the addictive read that for me earns a top score. The basic premise of the story is similar, great wealth secured from a too good to be true source and linked to the legal world followed by the inevitable loss of this wealth before setting off into the sunset with the girl and some money still in the bank. The central character is Clay Carter a struggling under achiever in the Washington public defender office who is plodding through life in a mundane job he despises earning little money and in a stale relationship. He loves his girlfriend but detests her rich property developer father and social climbing mother who attempt to force him into a better paying job so that he can support their daughter. At the same time as this relationship ends he takes on the case of Tequila Watson who is accused of a street killing, the evidence is concrete however Clay becomes suspicious of the treatment he had been receiving. Then a mysterious Mr Fixit known as Max Pace offers him inside information on a drug known as Tarvan that causes in a number of its users murderous tendencies. Pace persuades Clay to ditch his job and set up on his own to negotiate a deal with the pharmacy company he represents and the family of the dead people to keep the effects of the drug quiet. What follows in an insight into the American Tort system whereby lawyers represent huge numbers of people in class actions earning huge sums of money in damages and fees for themselves. Clay is fed information by Pace on other companies and has some fantastic successes before things start to unravel. Clay bu
                ilds up a successful practice and enjoys all the trappings wealth provides however throughout he pines for his former girlfriend who has since married the sort of successful man her parents wanted her to. This book gives a sometimes frightening insight into an American legal system which I hope never reaches these shores however just judging by the numerous day time ads for lawyers these days surely is not far away. As a read this is a good book, however I did find it at times uncomfortable, this may have something to do with the fact that Clay comes across throughout the book as a little lost boy always just out of his depth, as I read the book I felt uneasy turning the page because I always expected something bad to happen to him and his great world to come to an end. It is hard to find sympathy for the type of person he becomes but at the same time you do not want to see him fail. Maybe this plays on the reader?s own fears of coming into great wealth and then spending all your time worrying about losing it. In summary a good read and in paperback form the 500 page mark is ideal for any long haul flight or a couple of days on the beach.

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                  08.06.2004 18:42
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                  I recently read a review extolling the virtues of John Grisham. I've known of this author for a while but have always thought him to be a political writer and of no interest to me at all. However, in the doctors a couple of weeks ago I found myself browsing the rack of second hand books they sell for charity and came across King of Torts for an astounding 25p. What better chance to try his work? I snapped it up (along with a few others) and as I had a long wait started reading it there and then. Grisham starts the book with an account of a murder, another random killing of one black youth by another in a run down area of Washington. The murderer is easily caught and can't explain (even to himself) why he shot the other man, he ends up being a case of Clay Carter who works for the Office of the Public Defender. Clay has been stuck at this job for years, it's dead end and he's starting to loathe the amount of work he's putting in for very little money and no recognition. Add to the equation a fiancee who's parents think he's nowhere near good enough for her, and neither does she really, and Clay is feeling despondent. Out of nowhere comes a call. A man wants to meet Clay, a 'fireman'. He has been employed by one of the major players in the pharmaceutical world, one of their drugs has a side effect that has only just become apparent. His job is to 'put out the fire' that could potentially damage his client. Clays recent client, the random killing, has been on this drug and the side effect is an urge for violence and murder. The deal is simple. The fireman gives Clay 15 million dollars for himself providing he can convince the families of several murder victims (the perpetrators have all taken the bad drug) to accept a multi million dollar payoff. In effect buying their silence. And so the new King of Torts is crowned. Overnight Clay is transformed from a lowly public defender to the owner of a new
                  litigation firm, providing vast amounts of cash for people who have unwittingly taken drugs that have harmed them in some way. In this book Grisham has taken an indepth look at the world of the mass tort lawyer. What's a mass tort lawyer? It's basically a compensation system. From shoddy housebricks to anti-arthritis drugs which give you bowel cancer, anything that goes wrong you can claim for. These claims are looked after by high profile lawyers who skim off millions of dollars in fees from the money the claimants are supposed to receive. Of course, those who have made the claim get money but the majority of the overall compensation payout will end up in the account of the mass tort lawyer. As Grisham shows us, the mass tort world is not a nice place to be. It gives a realistic picture of greedy lawyers scrabbling for a piece of the action, the main characters (with the exception of Clay) are detestable people who will think nothing of the feelings of a terminally ill man if it means adding another wad of cash to their already sizeable bank account. When I say main characters, Clay is really the only main character in the book. There are plenty of other people involved in the tale but Grisham focuses on Clay and his actions. Clay isn't the sort of man at home in the mass tort industry, he has too big a consience to be continually ripping off people who are in a worse position than himself. But he is blinded by the money. He wants to win back the love of his one time fiancee (who goes on to re-marry) and the only way he can think of doing it is with hard cash. So he carries on. Because of the constant drug and hospital references this book is reminiscent of a Robin Cook novel, all the more so because Grishams style of writing is so similar to that of Cook. He writes in a gritty way, this book is full of short expressive sentences adding to the element of nastiness and shock. While the book isn't full of descriptions of the
                  'he sat in a red sofa' kind, Grisham has a knack of making you able to see what he's talking about without launching into a full length narrative. Towards the middle of the book you can get a full mental picture of Clay based on seemingly irrelevant pieces of information, for example Grisham will comment on how Clay ran his hand through his dark hair immediately allowing you to add a mop of brown hair to the mental image you already have of the man. Very clever writing style. His writing is also passionate without being overpowering. When he discusses the Lear Jets that the big knobs of mass tort buy to travel the world you can sense the displeasure in his writing, it's Clay who is disgusted by the immense wealth these men display but I have a sneaking suspicion that Grisham himself finds it tasteless. The book itself is exciting, not in a fast paced way but with a more subtle approach centering on Clay hunting down new mass tort cases and claiming them for himself. A lot of the excitement comes from the various sub plots that are running throughout the book, which I can't go into for fear of ruining your Grisham experience. There are sub plots a plenty. While the main storyline is around Clay and his new found career, you find yourself drawn into other happenings which all concern Clay but in a different way and with completely different outcomes. The loose ends are all neatly tied up at the end, with the ending itself being a surprise in its own right. As a Grisham virgin I was unsure what to expect with this book. Even as I read as far as the first couple of chapters I couldn't decide whether I was going to enjoy it or not. My first impressions of him as a political author wouldn't go away, he has quite a stuffy writing style not unlike James Patterson but it's certainly enjoyable. Grisham manages to fill a whole 490 pages with 'legal stuff' without it being boring at all, there is little emotion involved
                  in the book apart from when Clay reflects on the lifestyle he is now leading without his fiancee. Very little in the way of sex scenes either, which is a bit of a bummer! If you fancy reading this, the paperback version is priced at £6.99 from WH Smiths and such places. A cheaper copy could probably be had on Ebay or Amazon, failing that there's always the library who stock a wide range of Grishams titles.

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                    20.05.2003 02:00
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                    I am a huge fan of John Grisham I?ve read most of his books and, seen the movies, it took me just over a day to finish reading King of Torts, Grisham, is a masterful storyteller and gives great depth to his characters. If you are not familiar with Grisham?s novels I can tell you that most of them deal with lawyers, law and feature a naïve main character that gets into all kinds of scrapes, basically in every Grisham novel the main character either wins in the end or looses everything he has gained. The plot is somewhat predictable Clay Carter who works in the office of public defender is assigned a murder defendant but is not very happy about it until he finds out that the defendant had been given a new drug in rehab that causes one to go out and kill. He then leaves the Office of public defender to start up his own firm, and takes on the drug company seeing it as a great opportunity where he can make lots of money by threatening lawsuits against drug manufacturers, and whoever happened to make a defective product. He hits gold, becomes a millionaire but at a what price? He is carried deeper into the vicious, and often unscrupulous world of tort lawyers. Buying and spending extravagantly thinking this is what is required of one who is now known of the King of torts. After making a few mistakes, Clay stands to loose everything, after the FBI start to investigate, he begins to think that he has chosen the wrong path. King of torts is not his best effort, it lacks in character development and the plot is too predictable unlike his usual heart-pounding twists. However it?s still a page turner, and on the whole I?m still a fan and look forward to his next novels. Would I recommend it? Yes

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                      22.04.2003 00:37
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                      The "King of Torts" is Grisham's 2003 release and after his recent disappointments I was hopeful that a return to the legal thriller might rekindle his previous form. In part it did but I still couldn't help but feel that ultimately this is another sub-standard book from a man who can produce so much better. Clay Carter is the central figure in this story. He works at the Office of the Public Defender on a meagre salary and has little happening in his life. His relationship with Rebecca is all he wants it to be but he despises her family who disapprove of him mainly due to his low social standing. His circumstances begin to change when Rebecca splits up with him and quickly marries someone of a proper social standing. Clay begins to realise what he has lost and fights to get her back. At work, he picks up what appears on the surface to be yet another run of the mill case. A more sinister plot develops and Clay quickly finds himself thrown into the world of mass tort; the practice of settling lots of cases for a fixed settlement without going to court. Clay has no idea of how this world operates but his new acquaintance Max Pace shows him the ropes and with the lawyers fees being in the region of 30% of the settlement Clay soon finds himself a multi-millionaire and christened the new "King of Torts". The cases roll in as do the dollars but still Clay struggles to fit into a world he finds obscene. Personal jets are seen as vital status symbol and bank balances are a sign of your importance. Clay slowly gets drawn into this world but it all seems to easy and can he win back Rebecca?? I found this book a little slow to get into. It took about 100 pages before it really caught my interest and even then it wasn't exactly gripping reading. Similar to Grisham's "The Street Lawyer" it is more a tale of morality and how greed can corrupt. Clay was an interesting
                      if s lightly stereotypical character. He could have been developed further and it would have made for a better read had he been more involved in the story, especially at the end. The problem with the book was that the ending seemed so obvious. Grisham's earlier books contained twists or surprises at the end but some of his more recent books struggle to even have an end. Unfortunately this looks like another one where he reached a point and got fed up with the story so just finished it off quickly. It does provide a good insight into the working of the mass tort system and how corrupt it seems. Grisham again has obviously done a lot of research into the subject and he acknowledges a lot of people at the end of the book. I certainly feel more informed about the subject but it?s a pity that the story doesn?t really justify taking the time to read the book. All in I would give this 4/10. It is worth picking up if there is nothing else that you fancy but definitely not one I would recommend. Pusblished by Century books ISBN: 0 7126 7059 9 372 pages

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                        11.04.2003 16:46
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                        John Grisham has done it again. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am a fan. But this latest book (he doesn't write them fast enough for me) is great reading. From the first page to the last, John keeps you hanging on. Not a lot of court room banter on this one. So even those who don't like leagal jargon, will keep reading these pages. A story of greed that even the most humble can relate to. Thanks for the reviews. This is a keeper.

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                          01.04.2003 00:59
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                          Having read a John Grisham book a while ago I decided it was time to read another and lo and behold this came up on offer at my book club. The Storyline It starts out with a crime that happens every day in Washington DC, a random shooting. Tequila Watson, who had been in and out rehab centres, went out on his 2 hour walk and shot another young boy. This brings in the obligitory lawer in every Grisham novel, Clay Carter, who is the public defender in the courtroom at the time. He gets the case but is none too happy about it. The background checks on Tequila show he had no previous violent arrests and the rehab centre said he was afraid of violence. Carter's girlfriend, Rebecca, has rich and intimidating parents who he despises. He dreams of marrying Rebecca and moving as far from them as possible, he even turns down a job offer from her father with a large pay packet so that there were no ties. When approached by a contractor, from a large pharmaceutical company with the offer of untold riches and his own law firm Carter is obviously sceptical, when he finds out why, his suspision grows, but once the money starts pouring in ethics and morality go out of the window. The king of Torts is born. Carter finds himself in a world full of greed, money and scams that you wouldn't touch with a barge pole. If you're like me, you have no idea what a Tort is. This novel will bring you into the wicked world of laywer speak (and believe me it can be hard to follow sometimes), but it's well worth the trouble. At first I thought it would be very predictable reading, but it certainly isn't. I was just amazed at how laywers can get so greedy so quickly, without even realising what they're doing. Definately one to buy. I got the large softback version from my bookclub for £8.99. Happy reading!

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                        • Product Details

                          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 ¿