Welcome back to the little town of Clanton, Mississippi, and the character of lawyer Jake Brigance. This is the third novel that John Grisham has written featuring Jake as the main character. Readers will remember him from “A Time To Kill” and “Sycamore Row”. Other characters that readers will immediately recognize are Ozzie Walls (the town’s first black sheriff), lawyers Harry Rex Vonner and Lucien Wilbanks, judge Reuben Atlee, and Jake’s wife Carla. A host of other minor characters complete the scene of a small town that has just had a scandalous murder.
Stuart Kofer is a police officer who is respected in the community. What the townsfolk don’t know about, is his dark side. He has a love for violence, which he takes out on his live-in girlfriend and her two teenage kids.
Author John Grisham has taken many twists and turns in his writing style. Being a lawyer in real life, his early books featured lawyers and courtrooms, the things he knew best. This period covered his first eleven novels, published between 1989 and 2000. Each book was an instant hit, and soared to the top of the New York Best Sellers list. Some of his novels were made into movies.
The next decade of writing was quite different. He wrote a small-town mystery, a humorous Christmas novella, two books centered on football, a non-fiction book about a man wrongfully convicted, a book of short stories, and a kids’ book – Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. There were also some courtroom stories, but clearly he was trying to break out of his old pattern of writing.
From 2011 to the present, Mr. Grisham has once again given courtrooms and lawyers a large part of his writings. In several of his books, he returns to the little town of Clanton, sharing a bit of nostalgia. Although these newer books were enjoyable, none of them reached the pinnacle of the books he wrote in his first decade of novels. Mr. Grisham wrote five more Theodore Boone books for kids, and these were actually – in my opinion – some of his best work from this period.
“The Rainmaker” was written during what I would call the Grisham golden era, the first decade.