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  • A Time to Kill

  • Jake Brigance, Book 1
  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Michael Beck
  • Length: 16 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (1,202 ratings)

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A Time to Kill cover art

A Time to Kill

By: John Grisham
Narrated by: Michael Beck
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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

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

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!

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant book

it was well worth listening to although upsetting at times .

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Ended too abruptly!

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

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Great Read

The matter of fact telling of a harrowing tale really allows us in to Jake's world. The style maintains the right balance of relative detachment as a baseline which allows the interjections of emotion to really hit home.

Tackles a society, Ford County, very unfamiliar to myself and allows insights in to the lives of its residents tackling large social issues.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!

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

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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

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1 person found this helpful