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Publisher's Summary

In 1970, one of Mississippi's more colorful weekly newspapers, The Ford County Times, went bankrupt. To the surprise and dismay of many, ownership was assumed by a 23 year-old college dropout, named Willie Traynor. The future of the paper looked grim until a young mother was brutally raped and murdered by a member of the notorious Padgitt family. Willie Traynor reported all the gruesome details, and his newspaper began to prosper.

The murderer, Danny Padgitt, was tried before a packed courthouse in Clanton, Mississippi. The trial came to a startling and dramatic end when the defendant threatened revenge against the jurors if they convicted him. Nevertheless, they found him guilty, and he was sentenced to life in prison.

But in Mississippi in 1970, "life" didn't necessarily mean "life," and nine years later Danny Padgitt managed to get himself paroled. He returned to Ford County, and the retribution began.

©2004 Belfry Holdings, Inc. (P)2004 Random House, Inc., Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Here [John Grisham] is back in the fictitious town of Clanton, Miss., re-establishing the storytelling skills and sense of place that put him on the map....The Last Juror does not need to coast on its author's megapopularity. It's a reminder of how the Grisham juggernaut began." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Danielle
  • Eden Prairie, MN, USA
  • 02-08-04

Grisham's Finest

"The Last Juror" includes an ensemble of interesting characters in a setting brought to life with Southern culture, customs and dialect. It was difficult to pause once I was listening. I give it 4.5 at least.

24 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Mansfield, OH, USA
  • 01-27-05

Rambling Southern Comfort

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.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not quite as advertised...

This novel is more a series a vignettes or short stories than a serious courtroom thriller. I found myself caught up in the initial murder case but then led astray with all sorts of sidebars and meanderings into Southern culture, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, elements which I had thought were intended as background scenery but which unexpectedly became the main characters. If you do not find these topics of consuming interest you will soon be yawning and hitting the fast-forward button on your iPod. However, the trademark Grisham gifts abound and the narrator does an excellent job of characterization and rendering various Southern dialects. It's a good "listen", just not in the best-of-Grisham class.

49 of 55 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Barbara
  • San Jose, CA, USA
  • 06-08-04

Beautiful language, wonderful story

John Grisham writes beautiful book. The language is mesmirizing, the characters are loveable, the story kept me coming back to listen to just a little more, and more, and more.
What I appreciated most was the craft and artistry that Grisham displayed in describing the 9 years between the trial and the retribution that came next. A lesser author would have made it a transition paragraph rather than the take the opportunity to beguile us with the characters, let us experience the character growth, and the convey the development of that small town. I fell in love with the place as well as its population.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Judy
  • Hilo, HI, USA
  • 02-06-04

The Last Juror

Simple story, easy to listen to. Hard to stop listening. Narrator is realy great and makes the story come alive. One of the better audio books i've "read".

96 of 110 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Regina
  • Westlake Village, CA, USA
  • 07-13-05

The Last Juror

I hope that this book is an indication that Grisham is returning to the original style that I fell in love with. I had stopped reading his books around the time of The Street Lawyer and the Run Away Jury and a friend convinced me to listen to The Last Juror. This was his best work in my opinion.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Todd
  • Lehi, UT, USA
  • 02-10-04

A good book, but not Grisham's best...

I enjoyed the the book but the plot loses steam about half way through the story. The mystery is wrapped up nicely in the final pages of the book, but in a very predictable way. The character development is good but the main character's personality seems to change in the middle of the story along with his wardrobe, neither making much sense. Many of the more notable supporting characters from Grisham's other books appear again in The Last Juror, making for an entertaining supporting cast. Michael Beck does a wonderful job in defining the unique southern characters through his voice. Even with the weak plot, this book is worth a listen if you enjoy John Grisham.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

One of the best audiobooks I've ever heard.

I highly recommend this audio book for the story and the skill of the reader! I have read most Grisham books and this is my first time hearing one as an audio book. Michael Beck is the perfect reader - I think he must be from Mississippi. It's as if he's telling his own story. I grew up in Mississippi and really enjoyed the story - very colorful descriptions of the area and people - very well done! This story has helped me come to terms with the place where I grew up realizing that even for all its flaws, Mississippi is a very interesting place with very colorful characters!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Leslie
  • 07-26-04

Enjoyable Read

An easy read. I enjoyed how much you got to know every character. Nothing far fetched, I like believable. Would recommend to a friend.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Peggy
  • Baltimore, MD, United States
  • 04-12-04

Thank you it was a pleasure!

Wow this is a fun read. The pace is fast and the action and details fun to hear and think about. I could just see in my mind the town and the people. It was serious and funny at the same time. The reader really sets the listerner up for a surprise. You will not want to stop reading it and I found myself standing in the street lost in the story and what was happening. I want to hear more books like this!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful