John Grisham rarely fails. He has that masterly storyteller's skill, somewhat like Somerset Maugham's, of drawing the reader inexorably into first, the characters, then the surroundings, then the situation - the plot effortlessly unwinding. One is mesmerised and hooked. And Richard Thomas enfuses the reading with just the right amount of dramatic tension.
Thoedore Boone is thirteen years old and the son of lawyer parents in small-town America. Naturally, he lives, breathes and talks the law, and hangs around the courts which are situated adjacent to his school, his home and his parents' office. Dad is a property lawyer, Mum a family lawyer.
Theo doles out free legal advice to his school friends and to their parents. And he's good: finding charges, cases and precedents by logging on to his parents' law firm's online legal databases. He also has friends at court, including amongst the judges, and when a big murder trial hits town he uses his connections to get seats for the opening day for his teacher and fellow students in his constitution class at school.
The case itself may be too 'open and shut', and Theo's discovery of a key witness a little too convenient, but those things don't detract from a brilliantly entertaining yarn and some highly sustainable characters.
If I were a television producer I would already have acquired the rights and started to cast young Theo.
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