“The Senator did not know who owned the jet, nor had he ever met Mr. Trudeau, which in most cultures would seem odd since Rudd had taken so much money from the man. But in Washington, money arrives through a myriad of strange and nebulous conduits. Often those taking it have only a vague idea of where it’s coming from; often they have no clue. In most democracies, the transference of so much cash would be considered outright corruption, but in Washington the corruption has been legalized. Senator Rudd didn’t know and didn’t care that he was owned by other people.”
I usually enjoy books written by John Grisham. Why do I say usually? Because this one disappointed me. Big time. The end just made me want to throw my mobile (e-book) against the wall, which would have been painful (and expensive). I’m not sure what he was thinking, but it looked more like a political statement than the typical legal thriller. And I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way. It’s really a shame since I’m used to Grisham writing solid stories, but now I’m not so certain anymore… I’ll pick up the next book with great caution for sure.
The story is about a big company situated in Mississippi dumping toxic waste close to a small town’s water supply, and therefore after a few years turning it into a town suffering from cancer, death and undrinkable water. The company tries to hide the evidence and moves its business elsewhere, but they cannot escape justice… Or can they? There is a big line of people wanting to sue the company, the first in line being the poor Jeanette who lost her husband and little boy to cancer. A small law firm owned by the Paytons is taking the case, almost bankrupting them in the process. Surprisingly they win the case, but the enormous 41 million verdict is worth nothing as the company directly appeals.
The owner of the company feels the Mississippi Supreme Court isn’t friendly enough, and he decides to buy a seat in order to save his company. We then see a election race between the supposedly liberal acting Justice and a new conservative and unsuspecting candidate named Ron Fisk. Fisk is being modelled into the perfect candidate, supported by and supplied for by big business. You can say they almost brainwash him into thinking whatever they want, and Fisk doesn’t even suspect anything… After a lot of mud throwing he wins the race, and even a terrible accident insolving his son cannot change the way he feels he has to act… And he does the unthinkable.
Like I said before, the ending completely ruined The Appeal for me. The story itself wasn’t that bad, although Grisham was too political for my taste in some of the opinions expressed in this novel. All in all this definitely belongs to his best work and I would recommend picking up a different title if you want to read his work; he has plenty of books to choose from.