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If the formula works don't change it
The King of Torts - John Grisham
Member Name: freediveheaven
The King of Torts - John Grisham
Date: 12/07/04, updated on 12/07/04 (451 review reads)
Advantages: good solid read
Disadvantages: not his best work
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.