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The Last Juror
(John Grisham)

Willie Traynor is a 23-year-old college dropout. He is Memphis born and New York educated, with no goals or aspirations in life. He has wandered into a journalist job at the Ford County Times, Clanton?s weekly newspaper that?s drying up faster than the town. When the threat of bankruptcy threatens to fold the newspaper, Willie, with the financial backing of his wealthy aunt, buys it. He has a lot of pipe dreams of wealth and prestige, but jumpstarting some life back into the paper isn?t as easy as it seems.
The Padgitt?s of Ford County, Mississippi are mean, clannish, into every illegal venture, and not to be trifled with. When Danny Padgitt murders a young widow, the consensus among the good citizens of Clanton is that he?ll walk, just as every member of the Padgitt family has who?s been charged with a crime over the last 60 years.
Willie uses the murder and subsequent trial to breath life back into his little newspaper. His readership is growing, as is a unique relationship with Callie, an educated elderly black mother and grandmother. Thursday afternoon lunch at Callie?s house becomes a welcome ritual.
Until the trial.
Until Callie becomes the first black person to sit on a jury in Ford County.
Despite the overwhelming evidence against Danny Padgitt, no one really expects the guilty verdict the jury hands down, even though they spare him from the death sentence. Danny Padgitt vows revenge against the jurors, threatening their lives in open court. And the Padgitt?s are just mean and crazy enough not only to carry it out, but to get away with it.
And when someone does start picking off the jurors, one by one, Willie finds himself battling not only his fears for Callie and her family, but the numbing lethargy of a community that has been held hostage to the Padgitt?s for years.
The Last Juror isn?t one of John Grisham?s legal thrillers. If you enjoyed Grisham?s A Painted House, then you?ll like this coming-of-age story that?s set in a small community in the south during the 1970s. While Willie Traynor can hardly be considered a child, he has never really grown up or accepted any type of responsibility. His metamorphosis from an aimlessly wandering college dropout to a responsible, contributing citizen of Ford County is full of youthful zeal and arrogance, and plenty of humbling experiences. The Last Juror is a wonderful look at a small southern community, a rapidly dying fixture in this day of sprawling metropolises and growing suburbs.

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