The Last Juror

Version: Unabridged (Abridged version available here)
Author: John Grisham
Narrator: Michael Beck
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Mystery, Thriller & Horror
Publisher: Random House (Audio)
Published In: February 2004
# of Units: 10 CDs
Length: 10 hours
Tell Your Friends:


In 1970, one of Mississippi's more colorful weekly newspapers, "The Ford County Times, went bankrupt. To the surprise and dismay of many, ownership was assumed by a 23 year-old college dropout, named Willie Traynor. The future of the paper looked grim until a young mother was brutally raped and murdered by a member of the notorious Padgitt family. Willie Traynor reported all the gruesome details, and his newspaper began to prosper.
The murderer, Danny Padgitt, was tried before a packed courthouse in Clanton, Mississippi. The trial came to a startling and dramatic end when the defendant threatened revenge against the jurors if they convicted him. Nevertheless, they found him guilty, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
But in Mississippi in 1970, "life" didn't necessarily mean "life," and nine years later Danny Padgitt managed to get himself paroled. He returned to Ford County, and the retribution began.

"From the Hardcover edition.

Reviews (45)


Written by Ethan B. on June 12th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 4/5

As a huge John Grisham fan, this book had a decent twist in the end, but the journey to get there was pretty bland. Not one of my favorites.

The Last Juror

Written by Faye on December 17th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This was a surprising story not what I expected yet in fashion with the writer. I liked the characters and stories in it. The ending was very compelling.

The last Juror

Written by Trena from Greensboro, NC on January 29th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I enjoyed this book... It kept me entertained and the narrarator was great to listen to... The ending was sad, but sweet...

The Last Juror

Written by betty from Ethel, AR on December 25th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I really enjoyed this book. I'm a fan of John Grisham, but this book kept my interest from beginning to end. The narrator read very well for the old south. Would recommend highly.

Abridged Version Is Better

Written by Mickey Way on April 3rd, 2009

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I own the abridged version of this story, but rented the unabridged version to see if I was missing anything. Absolutely not. The abridged version has a much better pace that keeps you riveted the whole way through. This version has a lot of back stories that are quite unnecessary. I would recommend the abridged version first, then this one. (Also, two different narrators...yes, the abridged narrator is better.)

Easy On the Ears

Written by Sparkela from Dallas, TX on October 5th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Few things grate on my ears more than laboured, fake southern accents. The narrator here is flawless. Grisham's tale is funny and has good pacing. I love the Dickensian names of the some of his characters--they echo the names of people I grew up around in Florida. The plot is engaging, nothing new, just a solid good listen.

John Grisham

Written by Anonymous on August 22nd, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Always a good choice in authors. John Grisham can spin a court room tale like no other.

Pretty good

Written by Anonymous on July 28th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

If you are a fan of Grisham then this book will be enjoyed. I enjoyed the perspective and the book. Some of the twists and turns seemed a little forced, but for the most part I found the story enjoyable.

Fan for life

Written by Deb D from Manchester, NH on July 16th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I'd been meaning to check out Grisham for a long time and finally got around to it with this book. I am now a fan for life because this book was superb. It had the same comfortable feel of the town it depicted, Southern Comfort. I anticipated more drama, more action, but I soon realized that it was less a murder mystery than it was the story of a young man's journey into adulthood and his awakening into the realization that life is good, and can be hard. The characters are memorable, the writing exceptional, and the narration so well done that I felt he was talking to me directly in that easy southern drawl. I was often reminded of Matthew McConaughey's character in "A Time to Kill." Worth every star.

Good read

Written by Anonymous from Gaithersburg, MD on May 25th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Great beach read. I feel in love with the main character, reminded me of my younger brother.

Author Details

Author Details

Grisham, John

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.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500—the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.