The Appeal, by John Grisham

The Appeal by John Grisham: Book CoverFinished 10-14-09, rating 3/5, fiction, pub.2007

“There are two fees.  First, a million as a retainer.  This is all properly reported.  You officially become our client, and we provide consulting services in the area if government relations, a wonderfully vague term that covers just about anything.  The second fee is seven million bucks, and we take it offshore.  Some of this will be used to fund the campaign, but most will be preserved.  Only the first fee goes on the books.”

Carl was nodding, understanding.  “For eight million, I can buy myself a supreme court justice.”

Wes and Mary Grace Payton have been fighting a huge chemical company in the courts for years, trying to get justice for a small Mississippi  town decimated by years of poisoning by Krane Chemical Corporation.  Carl Trudeau doesn’t take this lawyers seriously and is shocked when the jury sides with the plaintiff for $42 million and decides that it is time to put his money to work and buy an election. 

This story has a bit of courtroom drama and lots of the ugly side of politics.  There was a clear contrast between the haves and the haves nots, the rich and the poor, the power players and the powerless, and it was easy to root for the Davids as they battled Goliath.  Most states still elect state supreme court justices and this books shows how easily these elections can be bought.  And it is only the voters who suffer from the manipulation. 

This was a cynical and probably very accurate look at the election process we have in place and it will anger you.  Many of you know that I have been working at the elections the past few years and I encourage everyone to vote, but more than that I want people to vote with knowledge.  This book shines a spotlight on this problem.  I could go on for a while about this, but that’s a whole different post.

I really liked the first half of the book with the environmental focus, thought the middle was slow with way too much detail on the campaign play-by-play, and really hated the end.  If you are interested in politics or are a Grisham fan you may like this more than me.  Although, I’m interested in politics and I didn’t love it.

This came from my own library.