The Appeal, by John Grisham (Read by Michael Beck)
The Appeal starts with a shocking verdict against Krane Chemical Company in a small town in Mississippi. The plant had been dumping waste into a ravine behind the chemical building without any interference from public or environmental agencies. After a number of years the town water started to taste bad, but the town officials said it was safe. Then people started getting sick, and so many died with various forms of cancer that the town of Bowmore was nicknamed Cancer County. Shortly after 68 deaths due to cancer, a woman whose son and husband died of cancer secured a local husband-and-wife law firm, Payton and Payton, to sue Krane Chemical Company for wrongful death. The lawyers spent four years and all their personal resources on the case and were on the brink of bankruptcy when the court awarded their client a huge settlement. Their financial relief was short-lived, though, because the owner of Krane Chemical Company mobilized his teams of lawyers to mount a "take no prisoners" appeal. Carl Trudeau, the owner of the company, swore that not one cent of his money would ever get to the woman or her lawyers, the Paytons. His plan is a dizzying, diabolical scheme involving political corruption and sleazy tactics that reach all the way to the Supreme Court of Mississippi.
Grisham's latest legal thriller is riveting from beginning to end. The listener can identify immediately with the loss and despair the victims are feeling as a result of a greedy big business poisoning their water, killing their loved ones and devastating their town. And although there is the desire to see the good guys win, there is also a curiosity about what dirty tricks Krane Chemical will use to see that they don't. As Carl Trudeau pours millions of dollars into winning his appeal, Grisham gives his listeners a chilling lesson in how elections can be manipulated and how judicial corruption can affect the outcomes of legal battles. Michael Beck's narration captures both the innocence of the Bowmore people and the arrogance of Trudeau and his legal advisors.
With today's concerns about the
environment, the economy and political outcomes, this timely
book is equally fascinating and terrifying. The listener will
be amazed at how a seemingly obvious ruling can be threatened
through the power of money and political connections. Grisham
has once again written a thought-provoking, suspenseful, entertaining
book that can be enjoyed by a wide audience. This is a keeper.