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Paperback The Rainmaker : A Novel Book

ISBN: 0385339607

ISBN13: 9780385339605

The Rainmaker : A Novel

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Book Overview

John Grisham's five novels -- A Time To Kill, The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client , and The Chamber -- have been number one best-sellers, and have a combined total of 47 million copies in print. Now, in The Rainmaker , Grisham returns to the courtroom for the first time since A Time To Kill , and weaves a riveting tale of legal intrigue and corporate greed. Combining suspense, narrative momentum, and humor as only John Grisham can, this is another...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Seriously, "The Rainmaker" is Grisham's funniest novel

"The Firm" still remains John Grisham's best novel, but "The Rainmaker" is far and away his funniest. I have never read a book that better managed to hit my funny bone straight on without tipping over the edge into farce (i.e., John Irving at his best). This time around Grisham's would be hero is Rudy Baylor, in his final semester of law school and required by one of his professors to provide free legal advice at a Senior Citizens home. There he meets Miss Birdie, an old lady who apparently has millions of dollars salted away and who definitely needs a new will, and Dot Black, who's son Donny Ray is dying of leukemia while their insurance company refuses to pay for medical treatment. In the legal world a "rainmaker" is someone who brings in big clients (i.e., big money) to a law firm. When Rudy's future job suddenly disappears in the wake of a surprise merger, these cases might be his ticket to a promising legal career. The villains are lawyers from a giant firm and a heartless insurance company, which is certainly stacking the deck but part of the fun as Grisham pours it on. As with "The Pelican Brief" there is a bit of misdirection at the beginning in terms of getting a read on the main character. Rudy is broke and has some shady friends in the legal profession, but the bottom line is he is a good guy and he will do the right thing. Even if it means playing David against Goliath in a stacked courtroom where the presiding judge is best buds with the great Leo F. Drummond of the giant law firm Trent & Brent, representing the Great Benefits Insurance Company. But then Rudy gets a break. The presiding judge suddenly drops dead and his replacement, Judge Kipler, is a plaintiff's dream. Rudy also has the truth on his side, but believe me, having the presiding judge on your side and having a key piece of damming evidence fall into your lap and finding the missing witness that has disappeared are all more important in the end. The joy of this book is watching little Rudy beat the big bad guys. Every single lawyer's trick used by Drummond fails with Judge Kipler. Every dirty trick by the insurance company is exposed by Rudy, who comes up with some little twists of his own. Sure, all the rabbits getting pulled out of the hat is a bit excessive, but that is what makes this such a fun read. At the heart of this book is the quest for justice, but that does not mean we can not enjoy a little payback along the way. The romantic subplot between Rudy and Kelly comes across as something of a diversion from the main story, but at the end it gives the hero someone with whom he can ride off into the sunset. "The Rainmaker" is one of those books where you pick it up from time to time to read the good parts. If you saw the movie and enjoyed Rudy sticking it to the bad guys, then you should enjoy much more of the same in this novel.

Best Grisham I've Read

Ok, granted I haven't read a ton of Grisham. But I have read a good amount and this is by far the best I've read from him. I tore through it in about 2 days. The basic plot was enough to keep me interested. The sub-plots only made things that much more interesting. The love story isn't overdone and fits nicely. I also love the way Grisham makes no apologies for Rudy's seemingly unrealistic good fortune. He's a likable kid who knows he isn't really worthy of being in the situation he's in. Things have fallen into place for him and he knows it. This story line could cause the reader to throw the book down screaming, "Oh come on!" But Grisham makes sure this isn't the case. The courtroom drama itself plays out in such a way that it never becomes boring. One thing I don't like about some authors is that they often seem to think their reader is fascinated with the same technical details they are (e.g. Clancy and his endless descriptions of ships and guns and such). Grishman interjects enough technical explanations of the legal system to explain things and keep it interesting. He never once goes too far. Through the 500+ pages of this book, I never once put it down because I was growing bored of it. As a disclaimer, I haven't seen the movie. I suspect the book is much better, but if you have seen it and already know what's coming next, it may ruin the book for you.

Never expected this from Grisham.

I often wonder; if Grisham can write this well, why aren't the rest of his novels anywhere near as good as this one? Is it laziness? Or was he finally writing about something he cared about?Of the two, my guess would be the latter. One of the things I am struck by when I read the Rainmaker (and I have done so quite a few times, much to my own amazement) is the emotional content. Grisham has always been about plot more than character, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Every person in this book hits exactly the right notes to become real.The main character, Rudy Baylor, starts out as a third-year law student who just wants to do his job, collect a paycheck, and retire as soon as possible. But along the way he is formed into a kind of crusading knight by his first client; Donny Ray Black, a young man dying of leukemia. He should be covered by an insurance policy, but the insurance company won't pay up. Rudy takes it upon himself, not to save Donny Ray, but simply to see justice done.Another thing I was struck by was the lack of thriller elements. There is no surprise ending, there is no cheap gimmicks. Grisham does not clutter his story with the usual questions of "will they win the case/championship/battle." Nobody's life is seriously in danger (except Donny Ray, and it's made pretty clear at the beginning that it's already too late for him). Instead, Grisham turns his attention to insurance companies in an expose not unlike Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle", about the Chicago meatpacking industry in 1906. We learn about murky accounting practices, cold-blooded corparate decisions designed to swindle people out of the smallest amounts of money, and a company who is willing to hide documents and buy off or fire their own employees in order to allay the firestorm they know is coming.I don't suppose that sounds familiar to anyone, does it?Grisham has written a remarkable, powerful, absorbing, educating novel. If only the rest of his work was up to snuff.

The Rainmaker Scores

After The Firm, John Grisham stumbled through low quality efforts The Pelican Brief, The Client & The Chamber. He got away from crisp writing and strong character studies of his first two books and threatened to lapse into hackdom. On The Rainmaker, he gets back to those original traits. Rudy Baylor is a young lawyer who looses his job with a promising firm and has no other prospects. He worked at a bar where shady characters frequented and the owner who likes him hooks him up with a small law firm. It is a less than scrupulous firm, with an ambulance chasing attitude. Rudy is schooled in the art of hanging around hospitals from Deck, a squirrelly little guy. In the meantime he moves into an apartment over the garage of a lonely old widow, Miss Birdie. He tends to her yard and starts working with her on her will. He also gets a case for a young man whose dying and his health insurance company refuses to pay for his medical treatments. While hanging around the hospital, he meets Kelly, who turns out to be a victim of spousal abuse. He gets involved with her while working on his cases. The case against the insurance company is a classic David vs. Goliath scenario. Mr. Grisham expertly weaves all these plot lines together and keeps the pages turning with bright, vivid and entertaining writing. The Rainmaker is the best book of his career.


I always enjoy John Grisham's books, but this one had a much "lighter" tone to it while still dealing with an incredibly sad situation. I liked the dry humor and, of course, Rudy Baylor was just a really personable fellow. Some of John Grisham's books deal with one major subject and others, like this one, have numerous subplots going on as well. I just found this to be an excellent book on all levels.
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