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A Time to Kill
Cover of A Time to Kill
A Time to Kill
Jake Brigance Series, Book 1
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The master of the legal thriller probes the savage depths of racial violence in this searing courtroom drama featuring the beloved Jake Brigance. “John...
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The master of the legal thriller probes the savage depths of racial violence in this searing courtroom drama featuring the beloved Jake Brigance. “John...
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  • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The master of the legal thriller probes the savage depths of racial violence in this searing courtroom drama featuring the beloved Jake Brigance.

    “John Grisham may well be the best American storyteller writing today.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

    The life of a ten-year-old black girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless white men. The mostly white town of Clanton in Ford County, Mississippi, reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime—until the girl’s father acquires an assault rifle and takes justice into his own hands.
    For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life—and then his own.

    Don’t miss any of John Grisham’s gripping books featuring Jake Brigance:
    A TIME TO KILL • SYCAMORE ROW • A TIME FOR MERCY • SPARRING PARTNERS

Excerpts-

  • Chapter One Few people attacked the morning like Jake Brigance. He walked briskly to the end of the driveway and got the morning papers for Carla. It was dark, clear, and cool with the promise of summer rapidly approaching.
     
    He studied the darkness up and down Adams Street, then turned and admired his house. Two homes in Ford County were on the National Register of Historic Places, and Jake Brigance owned one of them. Although it was heavily mortgaged, he was proud of it nonetheless. It was a nineteenth-century Victorian built by a retired railroad man who died on the first Christmas Eve he spent in his new home. The facade was a huge, centered gable with hipped roof over a wide, inset front porch. Under the gable a small portico covered with bargeboard hung gently over the porch. The five supporting pillars were round and painted white and slate blue. Each column bore a handmade floral carving, each with a different flower—daffodils, irises, and sunflowers. The railing between the pillars was filled with lavish lacework. Upstairs, three bay windows opened onto a small balcony, and to the left of the balcony an octagonal tower with stained-glass windows protruded and rose above the gable until it peaked with an iron-crested finial. Below the tower and to the left of the porch, a wide, graceful veranda with ornamental railing extended from the house and served as a carport. The front panels were a collage of gingerbread, cedar shingles, scallops, fish scales, tiny intricate gables, and miniature spindles.
     
    Carla had located a paint consultant in New Orleans, and the fairy chose six original colors—mostly shades of blue, teal, peach, and white. The paint job took two months and cost Jake five thousand dollars, and that did not include the countless hours he and Carla had spent dangling from ladders and scraping cornices. And although he was not wild about some of the colors, he had never dared suggest repainting.
     
    As with every Victorian, the house was gloriously unique. It had a piquant, provocative, engaging quality derived from an ingenuous, joyous, almost childlike bearing. Carla had wanted it since before they married, and when the owner in Memphis finally died and the estate was closed, they bought it for a song because no one else would have it. It had been abandoned for twenty years. They borrowed heavily from two of the three banks in Clanton, and spent the next three years sweating and doting over their landmark. Now people drove by and took pictures of it.
     
    The third local bank held the mortgage on Jake’s car, the only Saab in Ford County. And a red Saab at that. He wiped the dew from the windshield and unlocked the door. Max was still barking and had awakened the army of bluejays that lived in Mrs. Pickle’s maple tree. They sang to him and called farewell as he smiled and whistled in return. He backed into Adams Street. Two blocks east he turned south on Jefferson, which two blocks later ran dead end into Washington Street. Jake had often wondered why every small Southern town had an Adams, a Jefferson, and a Washington, but no Lincoln or Grant. Washington Street ran east and west on the north side of the Clanton square.
     
    Because Clanton was the county seat it had a square, and the square quite naturally had a courthouse in the center of it. General Clanton had laid out the town with much thought, and the square was long and wide and the courthouse lawn was covered with massive oak trees, all lined neatly and spaced equally apart. The Ford County courthouse was well into its second century, built after the Yankees burned the first one. It defiantly faced south, as if telling those from the North...

About the Author-

  • John Grisham is the author of a collection of stories, a work of nonfiction, three sports novels, four kids’ books, and many legal thrillers. His work has been translated into forty-two languages. He lives near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Reviews-

  • Library Journal.

    "Grisham's pleasure in relating the Byzantine complexities of Clanton (Mississippi) politics is contagious and he tells a good story...An enjoyable book."

  • Dallas Times Herald "Grisham excels!"
  • Washington Post "Grisham is an absolute master."
  • Houston Chronicle "Grisham enraptures us."

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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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