A Time to Kill

A Time to Kill

Book - 1993
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Random House, Inc.
Before The Firm and The Pelican Brief made him a superstar, John Grisham wrote this riveting story of  retribution and justice. In this searing courtroom drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the savage depths of racial violence as he delivers  a compelling tale of uncertain justice in the small southern town of Clanton, Mississippi.  

The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault  rifle--and takes justice into his own outraged hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client's life...and then his own...

Baker & Taylor
Criminal lawyer Jake Brigance faces the fight of his life when he is asked to defend Carl Hailey, who, in a rage of anger, shot and killed the men on trial for the rape of his daughter. Originally in paperback. 200,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo.

Blackwell North Amer
John Grisham has become, in less than three years, America's most popular author. While The Firm first put him on bestseller lists across the country, and The Pelican Brief and The Client confirmed his status as the master of the legal thriller, it was A Time to Kill that launched his writing career. Originally published in a small print-run in 1989, and for years unavailable in hardcover, Doubleday is proud to publish a new trade hardcover edition of this gripping courtroom drama.
Near the rural town of Clanton, Mississippi, little Tonya Hailey is brutally raped, beaten, and left for dead by two drunken and remorseless men. The rapists are almost immediately caught in a road side bar, where they have been bragging of their exploits. When the men appear in court days later, Tonya's father Carl bursts out of the courthouse basement, and executes them with an assault rifle. Murder or executions? Justice or revenge?
Carl trusts his life to only one man in town - local criminal lawyer Jake Brigance, who dreams of famous cases, headlines, and the big time. Jake is about to face the fight of his life, and he knows it. Not only is he up against Rufus Buckley - a tough, ambitious district attorney who realizes that a murder conviction could help him gain higher office - but he has a much bigger problem: the rapists are white, the judge is white - and Carl is black. This is a trial sure to change forever the lives of everyone involved.
A Time to Kill is a riveting novel that challenges everything we think we know about justice and equality.

& Taylor

Criminal lawyer Jake Brigance faces the fight of his life when he is asked to defend Carl Hailey, who, in a rage of anger, shot and killed the men on trial for the rape of his daughter
Criminal lawyer Jake Brigance faces the fight of his life when he is asked to defend Carl Hailey, who, in a rage of anger, shot and killed the men on trial for the rape of his daughter.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 1993.
ISBN: 9780385470810
Branch Call Number: M GRI
Characteristics: 487 p. ; 24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Dec 23, 2017

no stars - I couldn't get past the heinous crime committed in the very first pages, the offensive language, the foul characters, which all would surely course through the next 440 pages, I stopped at page 4, already revolted - this book belongs in the garbage

May 16, 2015

Re-read. This is not one of Grisham's best but it's still extremely good. I couldn't help but like the main character and his friends despite all their flaws and this was only due to the great character development by the author. Slow at times and it rambles a lot but definitely worth reading

May 01, 2015

This was his first novel and it's still my absolute favorite. It opens your eyes to what people actually think, feel and do when faced with advercity.

Mar 05, 2015

i am definitely a John Grishom fan.This is one of my first books i read of his and it does not disappoint. I can actually invision this happening in the south, with all those racial tensons. Highly recommeneded

Dec 03, 2014

This book made me an instant Grisham fan. I was engrossed in the book from the beginning to the end, being fascinated by the Interesting characters and the cultures and society in a little fictitious Mississippi town in the 1980's, which should not be too far from reality in the Deep South?

Cutie625 Oct 01, 2014

Wow! Over 500 pages and the suspense and character development continue to the end.

Jul 04, 2014

A mesmerizing legal drama, vibrant, raucous and irreverent, this book has a freshness about it, so typical of early novels by blockbuster authors before they became rich and famous. It parodies small town Southern life, lawyers, and justice both white and black. I also loved the characters, which seemed totally alive.

Sep 04, 2013

A very interesting plot. A little ten year old black girl is raped, and viciously assaulted and her assailants are caught easily since they were heard bragging about their exploits in a bar. They are arrested, but before justice can be meted out they are shot by the little girl's father, Carl Lee.

The Southern town is divided on whether Carl Lee should be convicted and given the death sentence or treated like a hero! Jake Brigance is Carl Lee's lawyer and the story is about him, his family, and his friends as much as it is about Carl Lee. The politics, the racial undertones and the family dynamics are all handled really well and the book is a page-turner.

Jul 30, 2013

First, I want to say I did like this book. I spent a lot of the weekend reading it. It has a good plot and I did want to know how it ended. However, I find myself wishing Grisham would just write screen plays and forget the novels. I don't understand authors who can only describe what people do and say, only occasionally what they think and and never mention what anyone feels (no, hung over and nauseous don't count). Plot is about what characters do but the meat of fiction is (or should be) why. There's never a why to any of Grisham's characters. I should know that by now but it still amazes me.

Nov 02, 2010

An excellent story about racial tension in Mississippi. This is Grisham's first novel and it is excellent - keeps you onterested to the end. The move is also very good.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top