The Rainmaker

( 182 )

Overview

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

It’s summer in Memphis. The sweat is sticking to Rudy Baylor’s shirt and creditors are nipping at his heels. Once he had aspirations of breezing through law school and punching his ticket to the good life. Now he doesn’t have a job or a prayer—except for one: an insurance dispute that leaves a family devastated and opens the door for a lawsuit, if Rudy can find a way to file it.

By the time Rudy gets to court, a ...

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The Rainmaker

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Overview

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

It’s summer in Memphis. The sweat is sticking to Rudy Baylor’s shirt and creditors are nipping at his heels. Once he had aspirations of breezing through law school and punching his ticket to the good life. Now he doesn’t have a job or a prayer—except for one: an insurance dispute that leaves a family devastated and opens the door for a lawsuit, if Rudy can find a way to file it.

By the time Rudy gets to court, a heavyweight corporate defense team is there to meet him. And suddenly he’s in over his head, plunged into a nightmare of lies and legal maneuverings. A case that started small is exploding into a thunderous million-dollar war of nerves, skill, and outright violence—a fight that could cost one young lawyer his life, or turn him into the biggest rainmaker in the land.

Bestselling author John Grisham returns to the courtroom for the first time since A Time to Kill to weave this riveting tale of legal intrigue and corporate greed. Combining suspense, narrative momentum, and humor as only John Grisham can, The Rainmaker provides another spellbinding, thrill-a-minute read.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A taut and terrific page-turner.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Great fun to read . . . The complex plotting is Grisham’s major accomplishment.”—Los Angeles Times

“The pace is fast, the characters quirky, the result entertaining.”—USA Today
 
“[Grisham is] a mighty narrative talent.”—Chicago Sun-Times

Michiko Kakutani
In "The Rainmaker," Mr. Grisham peppers his story with lots of behind-the-scenes glimpses of courtroom maneuverings and informative little asides about the psychology of defense motions, plea-bargaining and jury selection....Mr. Grisham makes only the most perfunctory effort to tie all these elements together into a coherent plot and makes even less of an attempt to relate them in an interesting or believable fashion.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Grisham's intricate, spellbinding sixth novel differs from his last fewit's his only book with first-person narration and his first since his debut to be set in a courtroombut the trademark Grisham touches are in place. Rookie attorney Rudy Baylor is the customary David fighting a legal Goliath here a multibillion-dollar insurance company, and the suspense builds with impeccable pacing despite workaday prose. When the modestly sized law firm that contracted for his future services unexpectedly merges with a tony Ivy League firm, Rudy finds himself without a job and bankrupt. Filing a $10 million lawsuit takes away some of the sting, as does a lonely elderly woman's offer of low rent on a small apartment in exchange for rewriting her will. To make a living, Rudy finds himself chasing ambulances for a racketeering shyster, leading to his becoming enthralled with a beautiful young woman hospitalized by her husband's murderous attack. When Rudy agrees to represent the parents of a dying 22-year-old denied insurance coverage for a bone-marrow transplant, he finds that he is up against the firm that broke contract with him. Melding the courtroom savvy of A Time to Kill with the psychological nuance of The Chamber, imbued with wry humor and rich characters, this bittersweet tale, the author's quietest and most thoughtful, shows that Grisham's imagination can hold its own in a courtroom as well as on the violent streets outside. Major ad/promo; large-print edition, ISBN 0-385-47512-8; audio rights to BDD Audio. May
Library Journal
Narrator Frank Muller's voice is just right for conveying both lawyer Rudy Baylor's early cynicism and restoration in Grisham's crowd-pleasing 1995 title. The story pits Rudy against two Goliaths: a downtown Memphis law firm and a scandalously inhumane insurance company. Tension rises as Rudy builds the case of a poor family whose son, in need of a transplant they cannot afford, is dying because their claim, covered in their policy, has been denied by the insurance company. Things become ominous, as in all Grisham stories, but there is a humorous subplot and a romance. We begin to care for Rudy as he sheds a moral bankruptcy developed in pursuit of his law degree and regains his original interest in the law as a way to fight injustice. An excellent production; recommended.Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty P.L., Columbus, N.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345531933
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/27/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 70,424
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 4.24 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John Grisham is the author of twenty-three novels, including, most recently, The Litigators; one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and a novel for young readers. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi School of Law. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.

Biography

As a young boy in Arkansas, John Grisham dreamed of being a baseball player. Fortunately for his millions of fans, that career didn't pan out. His family moved to Mississippi in 1967, where Grisham eventually received a law degree from Ole Miss and established a practice in Southaven for criminal and civil law. In 1983, Grisham was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives, where he served until 1990.

While working as an attorney, Grisham witnessed emotional testimony from the case of a young girl's rape. Naturally inquisitive, Grisham's mind started to wander: what if the terrible crime yielded an equally terrible revenge? These questions of right and wrong were the subject of his first novel, A Time to Kill (1988), written in the stolen moments before and between court appearances. The book wasn't widely distributed, but his next title would be the one to bring him to the national spotlight. The day after he finished A Time to Kill, Grisham began work on The Firm (1991), the story of a whiz kid attorney who joins a crooked law firm. The book was an instant hit, spent 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, and was made into a movie starring Tom Cruise.

With the success of The Firm, Grisham resigned from the Mississippi House of Representatives to focus exclusively on his writing. What followed was a string of bestselling legal thrillers that demonstrated the author's uncanny ability to capture the unique drama of the courtroom. Several of his novels were turned into blockbuster movies.

In 1996, Grisham returned to his law practice for one last case, honoring a promise he had made before his retirement. He represented the family of a railroad worker who was killed on the job, the case went to trial, and Grisham won the largest verdict of his career when the family was awarded more than $650,000.

Although he is best known for his legal thrillers, Grisham has ventured outside the genre with several well-received novels (A Painted House, Bleachers, et al) and an earnest and compelling nonfiction account of small-town justice gone terribly wrong (The Innocent Man). The popularity of these stand-alones proves that Grisham is no mere one-trick pony but a gifted writer with real "legs."

Good To Know

A prolific writer, it takes Grisham an average of six months to complete a novel.

Grisham has the right to approve or reject whoever is cast in movies based on his books. He has even written two screenplays himself: Mickey and The Gingerbread Man.

Baseball is one of Grisham's great loves. He serves as the local Little League commissioner and has six baseball diamonds on his property, where he hosts games.

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    1. Hometown:
      Oxford, Mississippi, and Albemarle County, Virginia
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 8, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Jonesboro, Arkansas
    1. Education:
      B.S., Mississippi State, 1977; J.D., University of Mississippi, 1981
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

MY DECISION to become a lawyer was irrevocably sealed when I realized my father hated  the legal profession. I was a young teenager, clumsy, embarrassed by my awkwardness,  frustrated with life, horrified of puberty, about to be shipped off to a military school by my father for insubordination. He was an ex-Marine who believed boys should live by  the crack of the whip. I'd developed a quick tongue and an aversion to discipline, and his  solution was simply to send me away. It was years before I forgave him.

He was also an industrial engineer who worked seventy hours a week for a  company that made, among many other items, ladders. Because by their very  nature ladders are dangerous devices, his company became a frequent target of  lawsuits. And because he handled design, my father was the favorite choice to  speak for the company in depositions and trials. I can't say that I blame him  for hating lawyers, but I grew to admire them because they made his life so  miserable. He'd spend eight hours haggling with them, then hit the martinis as  soon as he walked in the door. No hellos. No hugs. No dinner. Just an hour or  so of continuous bitching while he slugged down four martinis then passed out  in his battered recliner. One trial lasted three weeks, and when it ended with  a large verdict against the company my mother called a doctor and they hid him in  a hospital for a month.

The company later went broke, and of course all blame was directed at the lawyers. Not once did I hear any talk that maybe a trace of mismanagement could  in any way have contributed to the bankruptcy.  

Liquor became his life, and he became depressed. He went years without a steady job, which really ticked me off because I was forced to wait tables and deliver pizza so I could claw my way through college. I think I spoke to him twice during the four years of my undergraduate studies. The day after I learned I had been accepted to law school, I proudly returned home with this great news. Mother told me later he stayed in bed for a week.

Two weeks after my triumphant visit, he was changing a lightbulb in the utility room when (I swear this is true) a ladder collapsed and he fell on his head. He lasted a year in a coma in a nursing home before someone mercifully pulled the plug.

Several days after the funeral, I suggested the possibility of a lawsuit, but Mother was just not up to it. Also, I've always suspected he was partially inebriated when he fell. And he was earning nothing, so under our tort system his life had little economic value.

My mother received a grand total of fifty thousand dollars in life insurance, and remarried badly. He's a simple sort, my stepfather, a retired postal clerk from Toledo, and they spend most of their time square dancing and traveling in a Winnebago. I keep my  distance. Mother didn't offer me a dime of the money, said it was all she had  to face the future with, and since I'd proven rather adept at living on  nothing, she felt I didn't need any of it. I had a bright future earning money;  she did not, she reasoned. I'm certain Hank, the new husband, was filling her  ear full of financial advice. Our paths will cross again one day, mine and  Hank's.

I will finish law school in May, a month from now, then I'll sit for the  bar exam in July. I will not graduate with honors, though I'm somewhere in the  top half of my class. The only smart thing I've done in three years of law  school was to schedule the required and difficult courses early, so I could  goof off in this, my last semester. My classes this spring are a  joke: Sports Law, Art Law, Selected Readings from the Napoleonic Code and,  my favorite, Legal Problems of the Elderly.

It is this last selection that has me sitting here in a rickety chair  behind a flimsy folding table in a hot, damp, metal building filled with an odd  assortment of seniors, as they like to be called. A hand-painted sign above the  only visible door majestically labels the place as the Cypress Gardens Senior  Citizens Building, but other than its name the place has not the slightest hint  of flowers or greenery. The walls are drab and bare except for an ancient,  fading photograph of Ronald Reagan in one corner between two sad little  flagstone, the Stars and Stripes, the other, the state flag of Tennessee. The building is small, somber and cheerless, obviously built at the last minute with a few spare dollars of unexpected federal money. I doodle on a legal pad, afraid to  look at the crowd inching forward in their folding chairs.

There must be fifty of them out there, an equal mixture of blacks and whites, average age of at least seventy-five, some blind, a dozen or so in wheelchairs, many wearing hearing aids. We were told they meet here each day at noon for a hot meal, a few songs, an occasional visit by a desperate political candidate. After a couple of hours of socializing, they will leave for home and count the hours until they can return here. Our professor said this was the highlight of their day.

We made the painful mistake of arriving in time for lunch. They sat the four of us in one corner along with our leader, Professor Smoot, and examined us closely as we picked at neoprene chicken and icy peas. My Jell-O was yellow, and this was noticed by a bearded old goat with the name Bosco scrawled on his Hello-My-Name-Is tag stuck above his dirty shirt pocket. Bosco mumbled something about yellow Jell-O, and I quickly offered it to him, along with my chicken, but Miss Birdie Birdsong corralled him and pushed him roughly back into his seat. Miss Birdsong is about eighty but very spry for her age, and she acts as mother, dictator and bouncer of this organization. She works the crowd like a veteran ward boss, hugging and patting, schmoozing with other little blue-haired ladies, laughing in a shrill voice and all the while keeping a  wary eye on Bosco who undoubtedly is the bad boy of the bunch. She lectured  him for admiring my Jell-O, but seconds later placed a full bowl of the yellow putty before his glowing eyes. He ate it with his stubby fingers.

An hour passed. Lunch proceeded as if these starving souls were feasting on seven courses with no hope of another meal. Their wobbly forks and spoons moved back and forth, up and down, in and out, as if laden with precious metals. Time was of absolutely no consequence. They yelled at each other when words stirred them. They dropped food on the floor until I couldn't bear to watch anymore. I even ate my Jell-O. Bosco, still covetous, watched my every move. Miss Birdie fluttered around the room, chirping about this and that.

Professor Smoot, an oafish egghead complete with crooked bow tie, bushy hair and red suspenders, sat with the stuffed satisfaction of a man who'd just finished a fine meal, and lovingly admired the scene before us. He's a kindly soul, in his early fifties, but with mannerisms much like Bosco and his friends, and for twenty years he's taught the kindly courses no one else wants to teach and few students want to take. Children's Rights, Law of the Disabled, Seminar on Domestic Violence, Problems of the Mentally Ill and, of course, Geezer Law, as this one is called outside his presence. He once scheduled a  course to be called Rights of the Unborn Fetus, but it attracted a storm of  controversy so Professor Smoot took a quick sabbatical.

He explained to us on the first day of class that the purpose of the course was to expose us to real people with real legal problems. It's his opinion that all students enter law school with a certain amount of idealism and desire to serve the public, but after three years of brutal competition we care for nothing but the right job with the right firm where we can make partner in seven years and earn big bucks. He's right about this.

The class is not a required one, and we started with eleven students. After a month of Smoot's boring lectures and constant exhortations to forsake  money and work for free, we'd been whittled down to four. It's a worthless  course, counts for only two hours, requires almost no work, and this is what  attracted me to it. But, if there were more than a month left, I seriously  doubt I could tough it out. At this point, I hate law school. And I have grave  concerns about the practice of law.

This is my first confrontation with actual clients, and I'm terrified.  Though the prospects sitting out there are aged and infirm, they are staring at  me as if I possess great wisdom. I am, after all, almost a lawyer, and I wear a  dark suit, and I have this legal pad in front of me on which I'm drawing  squares and circles, and my face is fixed in an intelligent frown, so I must be  capable of helping them. Seated next to me at our folding table is Booker Kane,  a black guy who's my best friend in law school. He's as scared as I am. Before  us on folded index cards are our written names in black felt—Booker  Kane and Rudy Baylor. That's me. Next to Booker is the podium behind which  Miss Birdie is screeching, and on the other side is another table with matching  index cards proclaiming the presence of F. Franklin Donaldson the Fourth, a pompous ass  who for three years now has been sticking initials and numerals before and after his name. Next to him is a real bitch, N. Elizabeth Erickson, quite a gal, who wears pinstripe suits, silk ties and an enormous chip on her shoulder. Many of us suspect she also wears a  jockstrap.

Smoot is standing against the wall behind us. Miss Birdie is doing the  announcements, hospital reports and obituaries. She's yelling into a microphone  with a sound system that's working remarkably well. Four large speakers hang in  the corners of the room, and her piercing voice booms around and crashes in  from all directions. Hearing aids are slapped and taken out. For the moment, no  one is asleep. Today there are three obituaries, and when Miss Birdie finally  finishes I see a few tears in the audience. God, please don't let this happen  to me. Please give me fifty more years of work and fun, then an instant death  while I'm sleeping.To our left against a wall, the pianist comes to life and smacks sheets of  music on the wooden grill in front of her. Miss Birdie fancies herself as some  kind of political analyst, and just as she starts railing against a proposed  increase in the sales tax, the pianist attacks the keys. "America the  Beautiful," I think. With pure relish, she storms through a clanging rendition of the  opening refrain, and the geezers grab their hymnals and wait for the first  verse. Miss Birdie does not miss a beat. Now she's the choir director. She  raises her hands, then claps them to get attention, then starts flopping them  all over the place with the opening note of verse one. Those who are able  slowly get to their feet.

The howling fades dramatically with the second verse. The words are not as  familiar and most of these poor souls can't see past their noses, so the  hymnals are useless. Bosco's mouth is suddenly closed but he's humming loudly  at the ceiling.

The piano stops abruptly as the sheets fall from the grill and scatter  onto the floor. End of song. They stare at the pianist who, bless her heart, is  snatching at the air and fumbling around her feet where the music has  gathered.

"Thank you!" Miss Birdie yells into the microphone as they suddenly fall  back into their seats. "Thank you. Music is a wonderful thang. Let's give  thanks to God for beautiful music."

"Amen!" Bosco roars.

"Amen," another relic repeats with a nod from the back row.

"Thank you," Miss Birdie says. She turns and smiles at Booker and me. We both lean forward on our elbows and once again look at the crowd. "Now," she says dramatically, "for the program today, we are so pleased to have Professor  Smoot here again with some of his very bright and handsome students." She  flops her baggy hands at us and smiles with her gray and yellow teeth at Smoot  who has quietly made his way to her side. "Aren't they handsome?" she asks,  waving at us. "As you know," Miss Birdie proceeds into the microphone,  "Professor Smoot teaches law at Memphis State, that's where my youngest son  studied, you know, but didn't graduate, and every year Professor Smoot visits  us here with some of his students who'll listen to your legal problems and give advice that's always good, and always free, I might add." She turns and lays  another sappy smile upon Smoot. "Professor Smoot, on behalf of our group, we  say welcome back to Cypress Gardens. We thank you for your concern about the  problems of senior citizens. Thank you. We love you."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 182 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 183 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    Great!

    I loved this book and i read it when i was only 11.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2012

    Grisham at his best

    A David-and-Goliath story never gets old, even if a story about evil corporations does. This book, through its adept narration and quirky characters, tugs at readers' heartstrings regardless of political views. The plot may not be fresh, but the characters are quirky and the dialogue and narration are crisp. Why Grisham chose first person point of view and present tense is beyond me, but the writing in this book is witty, sarcastic and engaging. Also, unlike most other Grisham novels, The Rainmaker has a protagonist who is somewhat realistic and a cast of characters who could be your next-door neighbors. If you want to read a Grisham novel, then read The Rainmaker. This book is Grisham at his best.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    One of my favorite Crisham's books

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had a little of everything, legal action as well as a romance. I had a hard time putting it down! The author's writing style is very entertaining and unique and I love his sense of humor in this story.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    Classic Grisham -- a Great read!

    Just as I said above, and with the added bonus that the proof-reading (when transferring into the e-book format)is much better than usual -- I didn't notice any of the normal "he" instead of "the", etc.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2013

    Could not put it down!

    This was a spellbinding book from start to finish. A very enjoyable read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2013

    Amazing

    Amazing story keeps you wanting more! My favorite book ever.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2012

    Gripping story!

    Rudy Baylor's conviction to get Miss Birdie what was due her was inspirational. Grisham's characters in the story are strong and believable. I really enjoyed reading this e-book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012

    Keepps I Ani Another mind capturing novel by JG

    This book has a way of keeping you wanting to find out more about Rudy Baylor and his many obstacles since law school. It is realistic, suspensful, and relatable.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2011

    Grisham doesnt disappoint

    Fabulous plot, entertaining and everything i expect from this author!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2014

    Recommended for Grisham fans

    Grisham writes a good mystery about lawyers as a large insurance company is taken on by a lowly lawyer. As most Grisham books it is lengthy, yet holds the reader's interest to the end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2013

    Boring

    Too much talking and too much lawyer stuffm

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2012

    Value for money

    Typical John Grisham

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Excellent Read

    My first John Grisham novel and enjoyed every minute. One of those books where I couldn't wait until I got home from work to pick up where I left off.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    great book!

    Great book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Make it rain

    Makes you think twice about the health insurance you buy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2011

    Typical Grisham

    Much better than the movie.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

    great

    awesome book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    Rain maker

    I liked this book alot. At times it was very funny! One of john grisham's best! #1fan karebee

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  • Posted June 13, 2011

    My favorite Grisham book!!!!

    I loved all the twists and turns in the plot and how he falls but rallies. Fantastic!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2010

    Not high literature

    Not even low literature.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 183 Customer Reviews

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