A Time to Kill

Narrated by: Michael Beck
Series: Harry Rex Vonner, Book 1, Lucien Wilbanks, Book 1, Jake Brigance, Book 1
Length: 16 hrs and 47 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (41 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The multi-million copy best-selling thriller that introduced Jake Brigance to Clanton and inspired a sequel, Sycamore Row.

When Carl Lee Hailey guns down the hoodlums who have raped his 10-year-old daughter, the people of Clanton see it as a crime of blood and call for his acquittal. But when extremists outside Clanton hear that a black man has killed two white men, they invade the town, determined to destroy anything and anyone that opposes their sense of justice. Jake Brigance has been hired to defend Hailey. It's the kind of case that can make or break a young lawyer. But in the maelstrom of Clanton, it is also the kind of case that could get a young lawyer killed.

©1992 John Grisham (P)1992 Random House, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Grisham is an absolute master!" ( The Washington Post)

What listeners say about A Time to Kill

Average Customer Ratings
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Boring and Too Long

I realise that this book is well liked and from a successful and famous author and I also read that many consider this his best, but I didn't especially appreciate it. I have listened to other John Grisham books and really enjoyed them. However, I didn't think the characters were well developed or believable and the story line had little suspense and was almost boring in its predictability. This book could have been a great short story but it dragged on and on forever and ever and ever! The story certainly wasn't worthy of 500 plus pages. Edit out 250 pages and it might be less painfully boring! The book was written in 1989 therefore the storyline is very dated. If you have nothing but time to kill I wouldn't recommend this reading book. I enjoyed reading the sequel to this book "Sycamore Row" which I thought was a very good read. Michael Beck was fantastic with the delivery of the story and the reason I finished the book

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A worldwide problem of racism.

Legislative details are very extensive. The racist barriers very real. Without the skin we are all the same.

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Loved it. Excellent narrator. Highly recommended.

A brilliant narrator and a wonderful story well written and I really enjoyed it !

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You'll love this if you hate bigotry..

What did you love best about A Time to Kill?

The attempted justice of Carl Lee Hailey by the lawyer defending him and the hypocrisy of the people that were claiming to try and help him.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Time to Kill?

Without a doubt, the story itself, from start to finish.

What about Michael Beck’s performance did you like?

He explains the plot of the story in a way that compels you to keep listening to the story.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely nothing. The narrator was brilliant.

Any additional comments?

If you despise racism and bigotry, you will love this book and without giving too much away, you will LOVE the way the story ends. This has to be one of John Grisham's best. Highly recommended read!

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Profile Image for Simon
  • Simon
  • 08-02-18

This is Why I Love John Grisham!

John Grisham has written some wonderful books but recently I haven't been quite so enthralled by some of his output. Hardly surprising he's fairly prolific so it's pretty unlikely they would all be classics! This however is most definitely classic Grisham, even though I first read it in the nineties the seemingly timeless nature of the southern US states still made it feel fresh again. This type of story is Grisham's home patch, street lawyers, prejudice and simply crackling courtroom scenes. Some of the twists in this one you'll recognise as having been repeated many times in fiction since. The great thing is that in building his tangled web of motivations, prejudices and motives he avoids creating any characters that are whiter than white. Everyone from the local preachers to the defendant to Jake Brigance himself all have their flaws and less than completely honourable objectives. It's really clever stuff and for a relatively long story moves fast and covers the events from multiple viewpoints. Michael Beck does a great job of bringing Grisham's disparate cast to life for us with some very excellent character voices. I particularly enjoyed his pompous judges! For me Grisham with his large back catalogue to explore is always a go to guy when I'm in the mood for a legal thriller and if you aren't familiar with his work this is a good place to start.

12 people found this helpful

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  • C. J. Burn
  • 07-20-15

Another Gripping tale impeccably told

What did you like most about A Time to Kill?

The story unfolds slowly and steadily with occasional twists and turns to keep your attention. Michael Beck is the consummate Grisham narrator, changing pace when necessary and making each character come alive.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jake Braganza the hero of the story always seems to have the right intentions and although ambitious also has a moral core.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The description of the rape of a ten year old girl was graphic and horrific but even more moving is the ongoing trauma she experiences as a result and which shows the huge psychological as well as physical damage caused by the perpetrators.

Any additional comments?

Not my first Grisham audio book - and I'm sure it wont be the last. Great for long car journeys.

4 people found this helpful

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  • chillyt
  • 05-31-15

Brilliant book

it was well worth listening to although upsetting at times .

3 people found this helpful

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  • John Glasgow
  • 04-02-15

A fantastic listen

Would you listen to A Time to Kill again? Why?

This audiobook is of the highest quality, both in terms of story and performance. Michael Beck's excellent performance brings this book to life and at no point in the 16+ hours did I feel the story lose my attention.

Which character – as performed by Michael Beck – was your favourite?

I don't have a favourite because of how good Michael Beck was. Without spoiling anything I think his adaptation of Ellen Roark was brilliant as well as Lucian and Jake.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The whole book is totally engrossing, leaving you wondering what is going to happen next at all times. I have never read a John Grisham book before but I fully intend to listen to the next one, hopefully read by Michael Beck again.

Any additional comments?

A 5 star listen. A fantastic book, read by a fantastic narrator. For anyone who enjoys drama of any kind, put this on your wish list.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Newhaven Stud
  • 03-28-15

Ended too abruptly!

I did thoroughly enjoy listening to this audio book; I really did but was shocked by its really abrupt ending.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Joe
  • 12-18-14

A time to kill

Court room dramas are not my usual thing but i was recommended Sycamore row. I thought i would start with this book as its a prequel and where we first meet Jake Brigance and the people of Ford county. I vaguely remembered seeing this film many years ago but couldn't remember the end anyway.

Its a compelling tale, and an emotional one at that. It raises questions about right and wrong, justice and Equality. A really great story, badly told.

As i said, I'm not a Grisham reader or a Court room enthusiast. I seemed to me that the story was told rather matter of factly. A list of events rather than a characters journey. "Jake did this" "The judge said this"etc, etc. Not much character building at all. As a result i wasn't emotionally invested in any of the characters and this made the ending feel somewhat anti climactic.

Maybe this is typical of the genera or Grishams writing style but I'm not that eager to pick up the sequel now. Almost all of his best work is made into films anyway, i think I'll just stick to the films.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Laura
  • 01-06-20

Excessive use of the N-word

Racist labels do not add to the intrigue of a story. Too many stereotypes and accents I just became too annoyed. My first John Grisham, guess it's not for me!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ann D
  • 05-07-18

Excellent!

Compelling novel. Beautifully written, with richly drawn characters. The narration is perfect for the story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MAGGS
  • 01-18-17

A Time to Kill - good courtroom drama

A Time to Kill - good courtroom drama
Enjoyable if not a touch predictable, nice to revisit the characters of the previous book Sycamore Row
Good narration

1 person found this helpful

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  • RMG Rugby
  • 10-03-16

A thought provoking story brilliantly told.

There's a reason John's a best seller and this is another of them. A thought provoking story told brilliantly. Worth every penny.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Patrick
  • 05-26-15

Thrilling and completely captivating. I loved it

Loved it. completely captivating and i didnt want the story to end. brilliant audio book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-25-19

great story

Had me from the beginning, John is a master story teller and Michael Beck did an amazing job.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Noel Mathews
  • 05-22-19

Amazing

loved the story and the voice artist, he blew some real life into the characters.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-29-17

Brilliant

Would you listen to A Time to Kill again? Why?

Totally entranced from the start.
Articulately detailed and keeps you guessing all the way

What did you like best about this story?

Storyline and narratpr

Have you listened to any of Michael Beck’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Na

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bruce Warrington
  • 05-09-17

Typical Grisham.

In typical John Grisham style, he tells a story you simply can't stop listening to.
The narrator is one of the best yet and really helps bring you into the world that Grisham creates. Loved it from beginning to end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Adam Hayter
  • 08-16-16

A solid court drama

Having seen the film years ago I thought I'd give the book a go. It's an easy listening court drama, kept me entertained for a few days. Although this may be one of the rare occasions where the film is better than the book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dianne
  • 02-18-20

huge letdown

I was so keen to start Grisham's new book but quickly disappointed. The story didnt seem to move along and was so uninteresting I couldn't finish it. I've never not loved a Grisham novel.

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  • Mark Nathaniel White
  • 12-14-19

Riveting

Storytelling at its best, beautifully narrated. A Classic. Highly recommended. I wouldn't miss this book!

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  • Carol Barnard
  • 12-08-19

Gripping story

overall I really enjoyed the story although I thought it finished abruptly. It left me wondering what happened to some of the characters.

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  • Trish
  • 11-23-19

Brilliant narrator and great story.

Narrator was awesome, probably the best I've heard. I could easily see the characters in my mind just by the way he read them. Lucien was the best lol. What a good, and satisfying tale!