Book Review: A Time to Kill by John Grisham

October 10, 2023


A Time to Kill by John Grisham is the first legal thriller featuring Jake Brigance. This is the first book Mr. Grisham wrote, that started him on his path to legal thriller stardom.

  • 672 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Vintage
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0440245915

Book Review: A Time to Kill by John Grisham
My rating for Rogue Lawyer – 4

Buy A Time to Kill from*
More books by John Grisham*


I enjoyed this book very much. When I picked it up I didn’t realize it was Grisham’s first book until I read the preface. It was an interesting process, where working lawyer Grisham wrote chapter by chapter to give his wife to read.

A Time to Kill by John Grisham is very enjoyable and engaging. The story is interesting, the legal theories are fascinating, and the character are most believable.

I did think the book was too long, there were many sections which are unnecessary, or didn’t add anything to the story. I’m not talking about expanding the story with a few branches here and there, but sections which could have easily been deleted without being missed.

After reading about one quarter of the book I wasn’t sure how I felt about Jake Brigance. I don’t know if that’s how good guys talked and acted in mid-1980s Mississippi but, to me, it seemed unprofessional, almost as if the author plopped a lawyer out of the 1950 into the book’s time frame. Not to mention that Jake acts like a jerk to everyone in his life and keeps the company of other jerks.

It might be realistic to 1980s Mississippi; I have no idea. But why not make the main character somewhat relatable with shades of gray instead of hard-to-believe character flaws.

This is still an excellent book regardless of my pettiness. I can’t believe it’s his first book, as I’ve read later novels which I did not think were as good.


Carl Lee Hailey’s young daughter, Tonya, was raped and almost murdered by two career criminals in the small town of Clanton, Mississippi. When the two criminals were taken to court, Carl Lee ambushed and killed them.

Being that the two criminals were white, and Carl Lee is black, the case took on its own life. The KKK who had no representation in Clanton suddenly showed up, and so did thousands of African-Americans to show support and provide pushback to the Klan.

Lawyer Jake Brigance has been hired to defend Hailey. Jake knows this is a big case that can make or break his career. But Jake never thought of all the lives, including his, that could be lost or damaged.

Buy A Time to Kill from*
More books by John Grisham*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I borrowed this book from a Little Free Library.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

--- Please like and follow ---
Review Date
Reviewed Item
A Time to Kill by John Grisham
Author Rating

Wrap Up

A Time to Kill by John Grisham

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

85 − 79 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial
Visit Us
Follow Me
Post on X