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A Time for Mercy

A Time for Mercy By John Grisham Summary

A Time for Mercy (Jake Brigance) Clanton, Mississippi. 1990. Jake Brigance finds himself embroiled in a deeply divisive trial when the court appoints him attorney for Drew Gamble, a timid sixteen-year-old boy accused of murdering a local deputy. Many in Clanton want a swift trial and the death penalty, but Brigance digs in and discovers that there is more to the story than meets the eye. Jake’s fierce commitment to saving Drew from the gas chamber puts his career, his financial security, and the safety of his family on the line.


In what may be the most personal and accomplished legal thriller of John Grisham’s storied career, we deepen our acquaintance with the iconic Southern town of Clanton and the vivid cast of characters that so many readers know and cherish. The result is a richly rewarding novel that is both timely and timeless, full of wit, drama, and—most of all—heart.
 
Bursting with all the courthouse scheming, small-town intrigue, and stunning plot twists that have become the hallmarks of the master of the legal thriller, A Time for Mercy is John Grisham’s most powerful courtroom drama yet.
 
There is a time to kill and a time for justice. Now comes A Time for Mercy.

About the Author

John Grisham Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

A Time for Mercy By John Grisham Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The unhappy little home was out in the country, some six miles south of Clanton on an old county road that went nowhere in particular. The house could not be seen from the road and was accessed by a winding gravel drive that dipped and curved and at night caused approaching headlights to sweep through the front windows and doors as if to warn those waiting inside. The seclusion of the house added to the imminent horror.

It was long after midnight on an early Sunday when the headlights finally appeared. They washed through the house and cast ominous, silent shadows on the walls, then went away as the car dipped before its final approach. Those insides should have been asleep for hours, but sleep was not possible during these awful nights.

On the sofa in the den, Josie took a deep breath, said a quick prayer, and eased to the window to watch the car. Was it weaving and lurching as usual, or was it under control? Was he drunk as always on these nights or could he have throttled back on the drinking? She wore a racy negligee to catch his attention and perhaps alter his mood from violence to romance. She had worn it before and he had once liked it.

The car stopped beside the house and she watched him get out. He staggered and stumbled, and she braced herself for what was to come. She went to the kitchen where the light was on and waited. Beside the door and partially hidden in a corner was an aluminum baseball bat that belonged to her son. She had placed it there an hour earlier for protection, just in case he went after her kids. She had prayed for the courage to use it but still had doubts. He fell against the kitchen door and then rattled the knob as if it were locked; it was not. He finally kicked it open and it slammed into the refrigerator.

Stuart was a sloppy, violent drunk. His pale Irish skin turned red, his cheeks were crimson, and his eyes glowed with a whiskey-lit fire that she had seen too many times. At thirty-four, he was graying and balding and tried to cover it up with a bad comb-over, which after a night of bar-hopping left long strands of hair hanging below his ears. His face had no cuts or bruises, perhaps a good sign, perhaps not. He liked to fight in the honky-tonks, and after a rough night he usually licked his wounds and went straight to bed. But if there had been no fights he often came home looking for a brawl.

The hell you doin’ up?” he snarled as he tried to close the door behind him.

As calmly as possible, Josie said, “Just waitin’ on you, dear. You okay?”

“I don’t need you to wait on me. What time is it, two in the mornin’?”

She smiled sweetly as if all was well. A week earlier, she had decided to go to bed and wait him out there. He came home late and went upstairs and threatened her children.

“About two,” she said softly. “Let’s go to bed.”

“What’re you wearin’ that thing for? You look like a real slut. Somebody been over here tonight?”

A common accusation these days. “Of course not,” she said. “I’m just ready for bed.”

“You’re a whore.”

“Come on, Stu. I’m sleepy. Let’s go to bed.”

“Who is he?” he growled as he fell back against the door.

“Who is who? There’s no one. I’ve been here all night with the kids.”

“You’re a lyin’ bitch, you know that?”

“I’m not lyin’, Stu. Let’s go to bed. It’s late.”

“I heard tonight that somebody saw John Albert’s truck out here couple of days ago.”

“And who is John Albert?”

“And who is John Albert, asks the little slut? You know damned well who John Albert is.” He moved away from the door and took steps toward her, unsteady steps, and he tried to brace himself with the counter. He pointed at her and said, “You’re a little whore and you got old boyfriends hangin’ around. I’ve warned you.”

“You’re my only boyfriend, Stuart, I’ve told you that a thousand times. Why can’t you believe me?”

“Because you’re a liar and I’ve caught you lyin’ before. Remember that credit card. You bitch.”

“Come on, Stu, that was last year and we got through it.”

He lunged and grabbed her wrist with his left hand and swung hard at her face. With an open hand, he slapped her across the jaw, a loud popping sound that was sickening, flesh on flesh. She screamed in pain and shock. She had told herself to do anything but scream because her kids were upstairs behind a locked door, listening, hearing it all.

Stop it, Stu!” she shrieked as she grabbed her face and tried to catch her breath. “No more hittin’! I promised you I’m leavin’ and I swear I will!”

He roared with laughter and said, “Oh really? And where you goin’ now, you little slut? Back to the camper in the woods? You gonna live in your car again?” He yanked her wrist, spun her around, threw a thick forearm around her neck, and growled into her ear. “You ain’t got no place to go, bitch, not even the trailer park where you was born.” He sprayed hot saliva and the rank odor of stale whiskey and beer into her ear.

She jerked and tried to free herself but he thrust her arm up almost to her shoulders as if trying mightily to snap a bone. She couldn’t help but scream again and she pitied her children as she did so. “You’re breakin’ my arm, Stu! Please stop!”

He lowered her arm an inch or two but pressed her tighter. He hissed into her ear, “Where you goin’? You got a roof over your head, food on the table, a room for those two rotten kids of yours, and you wanna talk about leavin’? I don’t think so.”

She stiffened and wiggled and tried to break free, but he was a powerful man with a crazy temper. “You’re breakin’ my arm, Stu. Please let go!”

Instead, he yanked hard again and she yelled. She kicked back with her bare heel and hit his shin, then spun around and with her left elbow caught him in the ribs. It stunned him for a second, did no damage, but allowed her to pry herself free, knocking over a kitchen chair. More noise to frighten her children.

He charged like a mad bull, grabbed her by the throat, pinned her to the wall, and dug his fingernails into the flesh of her neck. Josie couldn’t yell, couldn’t swallow or breathe, and the mad glow in his eyes told her this was their last fight. This was the moment he would finally kill her. She tried to kick, missed, and in a flash he threw a hard right hook that landed square on her chin, knocking her out cold. She crumpled to the floor and landed on her back with her legs spread. Her negligee was open, her breasts exposed. He stood for a second or two and admired his handiwork.

“Bitch hit me first,” he mumbled, then stepped to the fridge where he found a can of beer. He popped the top, had a sip, wiped his mouth with the back of a hand, and waited to see if she might wake up or whether she was down for the night. She wasn’t moving so he stepped closer to make sure she was breathing.

He had been a street brawler all his life and knew the first rule: Nail ’em on the chin and they’re out for good.

The house was quiet and still, but he knew the kids were upstairs, hiding and waiting.

DREW WAS TWO years older than his sister, Kiera, but puberty, like most normal changes in his life, was coming late. He was sixteen, small for his age, and bothered by his lack of size, especially when standing next to his sister, who was struggling through another awkward growth surge. What the two didn’t know, yet, was that they had different fathers, and their physical development would never be in sync. Heredity aside, at that moment they were bound together as tightly as any two siblings while they listened in horror as their mother suffered another beating.

The violence was spiraling and the abuse was more frequent. They were begging Josie to leave and she was making promises, but the three of them knew there was no place to go. She assured them things would get better, that Stu was a good man when he wasn’t drinking, and she was determined to love him to better health.

No place to go. Their last “home” had been an old camper in the backyard of a distant relative who was embarrassed to have them on his property. All three knew they were surviving life with Stu only because he owned a real house, one with bricks and a tin roof. They were not hungry, though they still had painful memories of those days, and they were in school. Indeed, the school was their sanctuary because he never came near the place. There were issues there—slow academic progress for Drew, too few friends for both of them, old clothes, the free-lunch lines—but at least at school they were away from Stu, and safe.

Even when sober, which, mercifully, was most of the time, he was an unpleasant ass who resented having to support the children. He had none himself because he had never wanted them, and also because his two prior marriages ended not long after they began. He was a bully who thought his home was his castle.

The kids were unwelcome guests, perhaps even trespassers, and therefore they should do all the dirty work. With plenty of free labor, he had an endless list of chores, most designed to disguise the fact that he himself was nothing more than a lazy slob. At the slightest infraction, he cursed the kids and threatened them. He bought food and beer for himself and insisted that Josie’s meager paychecks cover “their” side of the table.

But the chores and food and intimidation were nothing compared to the violence.

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A Time for Mercy

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Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
ISBN0385545967, 978-0385545969
Posted onOctober 13, 2020
Formatpdf
Page Count480 pages
AuthorJohn Grisham

A Time for Mercy By John Grisham PDF Free Download - HUB PDF

A Time for Mercy (Jake Brigance) Clanton, Mississippi. 1990. Jake Brigance finds himself embroiled in a deeply divisive trial when the court appoints him attorney for Drew Gamble, a timid sixteen-year-old boy accused of murdering a local deputy. Many in Clanton want a swift trial and the death penalty, but Brigance digs in and discovers that there is more to the story than meets the eye. Jake’s fierce commitment to saving Drew from the gas chamber puts his career, his financial security, and the safety of his family on the line.

URL: https://amzn.to/3OtGDNd

Author: John Grisham

Editor's Rating:
4.6
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