Although John Grisham recently took some risks (labeled by some as long overdue) by penning a number of books that deviated from the traditional legal thriller that made him a household name, I was delighted to find that he has reverted back to his classic genre in The Appeal. Here, avid Grisham fans will be treated to a fast-paced story that provides insight into our judicial system and exposes the inadequacies that leave the system vulnerable to significant abuse.
The book begins with an unprecedented verdict against a company accused of causing the death and suffering of inhabitants of a small town by knowingly polluting its water supply. While the small town victimized by the corporate greed works to comprehend the consequences of the verdict and prepare for the inevitable appeal, the corporation taps into its far-reaching resources to do the same. Since, coincidentally, there is an upcoming election for one of the nine justices who will render the ultimate decision, the Company sets a plan into motion to influence the Court and ensure that the verdict is overturned.
On one hand, the novel tells the story of a small town, its inhabitants, and their fight against insurmountable obstacles to make those with power and money accountable for their actions. This dynamic is interwoven with the corporation, its unlimited resources (both with respect to money and access to those in power), and its goal to maximize its profits by minimizing any small “victories” the victims are able to secure. The result is a great read which, although fiction, will leave you wondering whether justice is blind or whether, if you have enough money and power, it is for sale.