John Grisham
AUTHOR

John Grisham

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grishams hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one book a year. His other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza,The Appeal, The Associate, Ford County, The Confession, The Litigators, Calico Joe, The Racketeer, Sycamore Row, Gray Mountain, and Rogue Lawyer. All of them have become international bestsellers. In addition he has written six novels for Young Adult readers: Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, Theodore Boone: The Abduction, Theodore Boone: The Accused, Theodore Boone: The Activist, Theodore Boone: The Fugitive, and Theodore Boone: The Scandal (2016). There are currently over 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection. Partners (March 2016) was his first original digital short story. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500--the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

Photo credit Billy Hunt

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Best Sellers

    • The Reckoning

    • A Novel
    • By: John Grisham
    • Narrated by: Michael Beck
    • Length: 17 hrs and 36 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 10,615
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 9,666
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 9,628

    Pete Banning was Clanton's favorite son, a returning war hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, a father, a neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church....

    • 2 out of 5 stars
    • Would make a 5 star four hour novella, ...

    • By Wayne on 11-03-18

    Regular price: $31.50

    • The Rooster Bar

    • By: John Grisham
    • Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
    • Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 13,187
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 11,773
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 11,757

    Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped....

    • 2 out of 5 stars
    • Story=Terrible

    • By Amazon Customer on 11-04-17

    Regular price: $31.50

    • Sycamore Row

    • By: John Grisham
    • Narrated by: Michael Beck
    • Length: 20 hrs and 46 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 19,305
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 17,389
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 17,342

    John Grisham's A Time to Kill is one of the most popular novels of our time. Now we return to that famous courthouse in Clanton as Jake Brigance once again finds himself embroiled in a fiercely controversial trial....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Grisham at his best (again)

    • By Brock on 10-23-13

    Regular price: $35.00

    • Camino Island

    • A Novel
    • By: John Grisham
    • Narrated by: January LaVoy
    • Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 12,513
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 11,257
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 11,225

    Priceless F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts stolen in a daring heist; a young woman recruited to recover them....

    • 2 out of 5 stars
    • Grisham wrote this?

    • By Dan on 06-13-17

    Regular price: $31.50

    • The Innocent Man

    • Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
    • By: John Grisham
    • Narrated by: Craig Wasson
    • Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 2,076
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,301
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,310

    John Grisham’s first work of nonfiction: a true crime story that will terrify anyone who believes in the presumption of innocence....

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Good Book - Not Typical Grisham

    • By Mark on 01-17-07

    Regular price: $31.47

    • The Testament

    • A Novel
    • By: John Grisham
    • Narrated by: Frank Muller
    • Length: 14 hrs and 33 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 6,701
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5,319
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5,313

    Troy Phelan is a self-made billionaire, one of the richest men in the United States. He is also eccentric, reclusive, confined...

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • A Late & Glowing Review

    • By Bee Keeper on 03-13-10

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    • The Whistler

    • By: John Grisham
    • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
    • Length: 13 hrs and 10 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 13,954
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 12,533
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 12,459

    Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct....

    • 2 out of 5 stars
    • It's John Grisham, right?

    • By Elle on 10-30-16

    Regular price: $31.50

    • Gray Mountain

    • A Novel
    • By: John Grisham
    • Narrated by: Catherine Taber
    • Length: 14 hrs and 46 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 6,760
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 6,014
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 6,022

    The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer's career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track - until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building....

    • 2 out of 5 stars
    • Painful to listen to

    • By Toni on 10-24-14

    Regular price: $35.00

    • A Time to Kill

    • By: John Grisham
    • Narrated by: Michael Beck
    • Length: 16 hrs and 47 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,546
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,348
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,342

    Clanton, Mississippi. The life of a 10-year-old black girl is shattered by 2 drunken and remorseless...

    • 5 out of 5 stars
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    • By Alicia on 08-18-16

    Regular price: $39.93

    • The Racketeer

    • By: John Grisham
    • Narrated by: J.D. Jackson
    • Length: 12 hrs and 46 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 7,294
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 6,298
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 6,285

    Nothing is as it seems and everything’s fair game in this wickedly clever new novel from John Grisham, the undisputed master of the legal thriller....

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Very Enjoyable Grisham

    • By Ron on 10-25-12

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