A Time to Kill by John Grisham (Book Review #180)

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading: 08/06/18

My 36th book this year)

Jake Brigance is taking on the biggest case in Ford County. He is representing the defence for Mr Carl Lee Hailey.

Mr Hailey has committed 2 counts of murder but it is his reason for murder that might save him from a death sentence to the gas chamber. Mr Hailey’s 10 year old daughter was brutally raped, beaten and tortured by two rednecks, Cobb and Willard. Mr Hailey has taken justice into his own hands and taken the lives of these two monsters who have torn his daughter’s life apart.

Jake Brigance has the biggest challenge ahead. He has great confidence in a positive outcome for Mr Hailey. But will he be able to convince a mostly white town to stand up for this black man, Mr Hailey? A black man who has taken two white men’s lives regardless of the reason.


I had great difficulty in rating this book. I expected much less court details and much more focus on the plot itself. I absolutely hated the racism issues although in those days, that was life. The hardships of the black community finally mixing with the white, but the stigma still stands in Ford County more than some other surrounding towns.

Throughout the book I couldn’t work out how many of the issues made sense. When Jake or any other white person was found to be defending Mr Hailey, they would be harrassed, blackmailed or threatened. How many people would risk their own and their families safety? How many would do this to save the life of another being?

I almost rated lower for this book. For me, it was completely unnecessary for the extremely detailed court procedures. The plot itself was exciting yet the execution didn’t satisfy my expectations. I didn’t feel the suspense, or the hatred, nor the empathy for the characters involved.

Apologies to the author but I wont be recommending this book nor would I like to read any more by this author. However, if you enjoy law, crime and complication behind the story, you will probably enjoy John Grisham’s work.

Written by Ling Lee (08/06/18).

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