‘A Time for Mercy’ is Legal Paradox
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‘A Time for Mercy’ is Legal Paradox

John Grisham’s latest small-town legal drama mentions Emory University.

I have to admit I’m quite addicted to John Grisham. Perhaps it’s because I once wanted to be a lawyer. When I get a new book of his my wife understands she’ll be a “Grisham widow” for a while. Plus she’ll hear about some of the interesting cases the prolific author expands upon in his novels.

“A Time for Mercy” is no different. When I received it, I already had ordered his previous book, “Camino Winds,” to read next. Grisham has written 35 novels, a work of nonfiction, a collection of stories and seven novels for young readers. His books always keep me wanting to read more. They are hard to put down. This one is especially meaningful to me because it briefly mentions my alma mater, Atlanta’s Emory University.

Author photo: John Grisham presents his new book at the Book Festival of the MJCCA Wednesday.

“A Time for Mercy” has some relevance to one of Grisham’s first books, “A Time to Kill,” published in 1989. He brought back the hero Jake Brigance for another legal drama. But I don’t think you have to read “A Time to Kill” to understand “A Time for Mercy.” It stands on its own and is a good read because of its intriguing facts.

Former president John Adams once said, “facts are stubborn things,” and the set of facts in this book make it entertaining and thought-provoking. In this case those facts are that a 16-year-old killed a deputy because he is believed to have killed the boy’s mother and the teen fears for his life. But the deputy is well-known as an upstanding public servant in the community.

Grisham’s books always seem to have relevance to current events and in “A Time for Mercy” having a corrupt police officer relates to the current Black Lives Matter movement.

However, the book is much more than politics because it deals with legal strategy too.

Book cover: “A Time for Mercy” is the latest of best-selling author John Grisham’s legal novels.

My biggest takeaways are “quit while you’re ahead” and even teenagers can be prepped correctly to win cases and embarrass a prosecutor.

I also appreciate that Grisham is a wholesome writer. He only touches on sex and uses a few curses, too few to be offensive, but used effectively.

Like many of his other books, Grisham also included an author’s note acknowledging mistakes and alterations of the law to keep the story moving along.  In “A Time for Mercy,” he wraps up details enough that the reader is largely satisfied.

John Grisham will discuss his newest novel, “A Time for Mercy” at the Book Festival at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

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