Tuesday, April 7, 2020

A Time To Kill

Title: A Time To Kill
Author: John Grisham

Carl Lee, an African-American distraught father who kills the two men responsible for the brutal rape of his ten year old daughter, is charged with capital murder. Jake Brigance, a close friend and white attorney, represents Carl Lee in his gruesome trial. Jake is aided by a pro-bono team of Lucien and Harry Rex to fight the case down to every possible thread, and finally they settle for the last possible defense: the plea of insanity. 

Set in a fictitious town of Ford County around the time period where the racial discrimination against the African-Americans was at its peak, Grisham's legal thriller projects and discusses through the simply woven story line about the steep unfairness and the biases of the judges almost always leading to an injustice served. 

The book also captures the support and the feelings of the fraternity of the African-American characters. As Jake and his friends fight the case, they also get a lot of aid and under-the-table illicit information from those departments where there is a rare African-American to help. During the plea of insanity backed up by a medical test, Jake presents before the jury an undeniably guilty string of corroborative evidences against the court doctor, who in all the previous cases wantonly denied the defense of insanity to all the African-Americans, and this had led to all of them receiving a death penalty. How Jake and his band of determined attorneys manage to get the acquittal of Carl Lee makes the crux of the novel.

The novel sometimes plays out more as an action sequence with killings, fights, bombs, and what not! Yet, A Time To Kill is not something that's a page-turner. There is nothing of the sort that you could call major twists or turns in the plot. The trajectory of the story is something that is well-expected out of it. It revolves around and focuses on death penalty, racism and injustice. If you have already read a book like To Kill A Mockingbird, then this wouldn't come across as eye-opening. 

However, it was a nice read. 

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