Listeners looking for a courtroom thriller should look elsewhere. The Last Juror has little to do with juries or the courtroom. It has much to do with a broad canvas painting of a small, Southern town during the decade of the 1970s. This painting begins with a terrible crime and arrest. Predictably it moves on to the trial and the selection of the jury.
But somewhere along the way, the story takes a casual turn. Instead of the tight, focused story Grisham's readers have come to expect, Mr. Grisham changes course and spends more time on the diffuse background of the town and its characters. This reader had the distinct feeling that the author ran out of his story a quarter of the way in and changed his mind.
The rambling tale that follows is good... but is not the stuff of Grisham fame. Readers, who want courtroom action, would be much better off passing on this book and looking for other Grisham favorites.
Michael Beck does an outstanding job with the performance of this book. In fact, it is his personification of the characters in Grisham's tale that raises the rating on this audiobook. Once the listener figures out that this is no longer a courtroom shocker, but is a mural painting of the South, he or she can comfortably enjoy Beck's sourthern charms. Beck is more the draw with this audiobook than is the book itself.
I found both the book and the audio to be so compelling that I looked for opportunities to do other things while I listened. This financial thriller was so good that I finally gave up trying to do anything else and just sat down with my iPod to listen.
No One Would Listen is the story of Markopolos and three others, who figured out as early as 1999 that the highly respected Bernie Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme, ultimately cheating investors out of more than 60 billion dollars. The fascinating thing about his story is that on three different occasions, in 2000, 2001, and again in 2005, Markopolos provided detailed documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proving his case against Madoff. Each time Markopolos was ignored.
Markopolos tells how he was frightened by the possibility that either the mob or, after Madoff was arrested in December 2008, the federal government would attempt to murder him because of what he knew. The reader, in his or her more rational mindset, would be right to believe that Markopolos might have exaggerated this danger to himself. But then again, when either billions of dollars are involved (in the case of the mob) or massive embarrassment is involved (in the case of the S.E.C.), one may excuse Mr. Markopolos for his paranoia.
For those who like to read either finance or thrillers, No One Would Listen is the perfect amalgamation. Listening to the audio version is especially a luxury, with Scott Brick doing a masterful job of reading the story. The audio editors must have thought it would be helpful to have other readers handle the email portions. These portions, however, I found amateurish and distracting. However, near the end of the book, the audio book also includes the scathing comments by Rep. Gary Ackerman (in his own voice) during the SEC interview at the Madoff-SEC Congressional hearing. This was compelling after having listened to the Markopolos story.
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