A Time for Mercy (2020) by John Grisham – Book Review

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Firstly, I’d like to thank my friend Chad A. Clark, an excellent author in his own right, for recommending John Grisham’s earlier novels. I loved reading The Firm (1991). Next on the list was A Time to Kill (1989), then The Pelican Brief (1992) and out of curiosity I checked out Sycamore Row (2013) which can stated as a spiritual sequel to A Time to Kill as it features the same main character, Jake Brigance, but in this story, he is defending an African-American housemaid whose former white employer leaves behind a will declaring 90% of his estate to be transferred to this woman.

But I found Grisham’s latest work, A Time for Mercy (2020), again considered the 3rd part of the trilogy due to featuring Mr. Brigance, to be superior to the original 2 novels. Maybe it’s because times have certainly changed around the world especially since the 2010s and this applies heavily to the law both inside and outside America. So despite Grisham setting this gripping tale in the 1990s fictional Ford County, it still had a modern vibe to it, especially seeing how the case is not about race this time around, as Jake Brigance has to save a 16-year old white boy who killed an off-duty white police officer from the gas chamber via a sensational capital murder trial.

I advise all lovers of the thriller genre, especially courtroom dramas to read this novel, and to only, out of a sense of completion, approach the other two. In my opinion, the series improves after each entry making A Time for Mercy not only the best Jake Brigance book but also one of my all-time favorite John Grisham novels. I have read other 2000s novels by Grisham namely The Brethren (2000) and The Whistler (2020) but only A Time for Mercy matches his best work (published in the 90s, of course) in terms of sheer quality. This novel would also make a suitable introduction for readers to Grisham’s oeuvre.

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