Long before John Grisham’s name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.
Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham dreamed of being a professional baseball player, but he realised this was not to be and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law, specializing in criminal defence and personal injury litigation.
In 1983, Grisham was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990
Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year. Nine of his novels have been turned into films and The Innocent Man marked his first foray into non-fiction.
Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea and they spend their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.
When he’s not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his ‘Rebuild The Coast Fund’, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball and he serves as the local Little League commissioner.
A Time to Kill
When Carl Lee Hailey guns down the hoodlums who have raped his ten-year-old daughter, the people of Clanton see it as a crime of blood and call for his acquittal, but when extremists outside Clanton hear that a black man has killed two white men, they invade the town, determined to destroy anything and anyone that opposes their sense of justice.
Jake Brigance has been hired to defend Hailey. It’s the kind of case that can make or break a young lawyer, but in the maelstrom of Clanton, it is also the kind of case that could get a young lawyer killed.
Sebastian Rudd takes the cases no-one else wants to take on. He believes that every person accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial – even if he has to cheat to get one. He antagonises people from both sides of the law, but things are about to get even more complicated for Sebastian. Arch Swanger is the prime suspect in the abduction and presumed murder of 21-year-old Jiliana Kemp, the daughter of the assistant chief of police. When Swanger asks Sebastian to represent him, he lets Sebastian in on a terrible secret – one that will threaten everything Sebastian holds dear.
The Rooster Bar
Law students Mark, Todd and Zola wanted to change the world, but these three disillusioned friends spend a lot of time hanging out in The Rooster Bar, the place where Todd serves drinks. As third-year students, they realise they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. When they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specialising in student loans, the three realise they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam. They have to leave law school, pretend they are qualified and go into battle with a billionaire and the FBI!