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Extended Audio Sample The Appeal: A Novel Audiobook, by John Grisham Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (25,798 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Grisham Narrator: Michael Beck Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2008 ISBN: 9780739316511
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In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town’s water supply, causing the worst “cancer cluster” in history. The company appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it.

Who are the nine? How will they vote? Can one be replaced before the case is ultimately decided?

The chemical company is owned by a Wall Street predator named Carl Trudeau, and Mr. Trudeau is convinced the court is not friendly enough. With judicial elections looming, he decides to try to purchase himself a seat on the court. The cost is a few million dollars, a drop in the bucket for a billionaire like Mr. Trudeau. Through an intricate web of conspiracy and deceit, his political operatives recruit a young, unsuspecting candidate. They finance him, manipulate him, market him, and mold him into a potential Supreme Court justice—their Supreme Court justice.

The Appeal is a powerful, timely, and shocking story of political and legal intrigue—a story that will leave listeners unable to think about our electoral process or judicial system in the same way ever again.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A remarkable degree of suspense…Mr. Grisham delivers his savviest book in years.”

    New York Times

  • The Appeal delivers a real picture of a real problem…A gripping tale.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Chilling and timeless.”

    Washington Post

  • “Fascinating…filled with deadly accurate characterizations by an author who knows both the law and politics from the inside.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Packs a wallop.”

    USA Today

  • “Grisham holds up that same mirror to our age as Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Arresting fiction.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A #1 USA Today Bestseller
  • A 2008Washington Post Best Book

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John DeBoer | 2/18/2014

    " Familiar Mississippi setting for a Grisham novel of legal tactics and politics. Compared to his others in this mode, though, I thought the situations he set up were just a little too pat, and his having a moral to the story was too heavy-handed, though an effective lesson - high-court judges should be appointed, not elected! It still made for a good read, with the reader (me) rooting for the good guys up to the very end. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tim Williamson | 2/9/2014

    " absolute garbage...not only has Grisham lost all ability to bring a story to anything remotely resembling a satisfying conclusion, but now he showers everything in his personal politics that it completely taints any enjoyment that may be gained...he hasn't written a truly good fiction book since The Partner. Personally, I believe it is because he is more interested in promoting an agenda and story ends up taking a back seat. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina | 2/3/2014

    " Very entertaining book with a great reader (I listened to this on CD). Not exactly the happiest ending ever but probably pretty true to life...sigh. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky Rose | 1/25/2014

    " I listed to this book on CD in my car. (10 CD's) Disappointing end, great character development. Fascinating to see the manipulations of religion,and the courts. It's sick that some of this stuff and worse goes on in America. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ginger | 1/24/2014

    " It was good, but not my favorite (or even top 5 favorite) Grisham. The ending was perplexing, and the story was lacking in the complex richness that make Grisham such an immersing and enjoyable read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christy | 1/23/2014

    " A totally disappointing Grisham novel. I read the reviews and still read the book. Shouldn't have wasted my time. The ending was an utter let down. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brian | 1/21/2014

    " I don't know why I keep hoping for more from John Grisham, but I keep waiting for him to get back to the thrillers he was once famous for. I recall enjoying The Pelican Brief and The Firm (though I read these so long ago that I haven't rated them here) and I have to wonder at this point if my enjoyment of them was because I had not yet been introduced to great writing. The major problems of this novel center on two issues: character development and a lack of any subtlety whatsoever. First, to character development. A writer should strive to have characters we care about with rich backstories explaining their motivations and who are not all perfect or all terrible. While having characters who are "all perfect" or "all terrible" can lead to interesting forays into symbolism and allegory, that is not what anyone should ever expect from a Grisham novel. But what Grisham delivers here instead IS the all perfect and all terrible characters with no real purpose whatsoever to their lack of flaws or pure evil besides getting his message out, namely "corporations are bad, plaintiff's trial lawyers are heroes". I have no doubt that it would be possible to craft a trial lawyer who is pursuing justice but is nonetheless capable of making mistakes and being ruthless in that pursuit (just ask Scott Turow, who is absolutely tremendous when compared to Mr. Grisham on this count). But apparently Mr. Grisham prefers his characters to be the zealous pursuers of the right who are nevertheless undone by malevolent forces beyond their control that they can hardly anticipate. They are pure and without any fault. In short, they are not real. The same can be said for Mr. Grisham's villain. I don't doubt that some version of Carl Trudeau exists in our world, but I do doubt that he is some sort of maniacal Cruella de Vil sort (who, by the way, is guilty of committing all sorts of SEC violations that would no doubt be uncovered in the real world). Ron Fisk is the only one who comes even close to appearing to be a real character, but even he is basically made into a simpleton when it's not truly necessary. This ties into my second criticism of the lack of any subtlety whatsoever to the novel. There is no doubt more or less from page one where Grisham is headed with this one, because he telegraphs how much he hates big business and how plaintiff's lawyers are heroes for standing up to the corporations. I don't necessarily object to the message (corporations have been known for doing exactly what is portrayed in this book, after all), but I think it's ludicrous the way it is presented. There is no pause to consider that corporations provide jobs and all sorts of other benefits. No, instead they are headed by men like Carl Trudeau who do nothing except plot ways to destroy others in pursuit of the almighty buck. To say this book was "too on the nose" in its criticism would be wildly understating the problem. I truly think Grisham has a point when it comes to judicial elections. I do not support them in any way. But the way that this novel is presented just makes it too much like an old fashioned morality play that undercuts the message. I gave this two stars because I felt the plot was at least OK, but that's really all that can be said for it. Grisham is capable of more, but maybe I have to stop expecting that I'll get more from him. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Molly | 1/20/2014

    " Not my favorite Grisham book for sure. Interesting, but didn't like the ending. The behind the scenes look into politics was however interesting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Wendy Hannnon | 1/16/2014

    " It was a good book, but I hated the ending. There were too many loose ends. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rozzinner | 1/9/2014

    " Do not read this book. You will be disappointed. I've read other Grisham books and enjoyed them, and happened upon this one. Apparently it is one of Grisham's first, and he has improved a lot since then. Read his others! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Saibal Bose | 1/5/2014

    " As always overwhelmed by Grisham's subject knowledge and how well he uses it to cast a web of an intricate thriller..just dont agree with the ending..otherwise a fine read.. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erica | 1/3/2014

    " Really great. Amazing what lengths politicians will go to!! I really enjoyed this one immensely. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tara | 12/30/2013

    " page 57 reduced me to tears! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Sanders | 12/26/2013

    " I was a little surprised by the ending of the book, and this was a little different than Grisham books I've read in the past as it focused less on some intrigue or another and more on the politics behind judicial elections. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sahar Kharrufa | 12/19/2013

    " Not bad but much to long winding. Do all the people in the right lose in Grishams books? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kasey | 12/10/2013

    " I've read this a long time ago, and nothing about it was memorable except the name of the firm. Payton and Parton. I don't understand why that held to my memory more than the rest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 10/7/2013

    " It was okay.....sort of flat at the end. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Aisha Ayoosh | 9/15/2013

    " Couldn't finish this. Got half way through and bailed ... It was like chewing sand lol! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather | 7/9/2013

    " It was rather long and drawn-out, which I was willing to forgive for a good conclusion. Unfortunately, that was not to be had. Although, I did learn quite a bit about why the Supreme Court should be appointed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Debbie Duran | 6/10/2013

    " If this is the way our politics are run, it is very distressing that it is so corrupt. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Misty | 5/3/2013

    " The book is slow in the beginning, but picks up later. Not one of his better ones. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mallory | 3/22/2013

    " This was pretty good. I liked the ending, but didn't like it also. I wish it ended a different way, but it was still entertaining and pretty good. Sometimes I would get confused with all the lawyer talk and things like that, but it was still pretty good. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jana | 11/30/2012

    " Definitely the worst John Grisham book that I have read. I just felt like it was a waste of my time from start to finish. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dan | 8/13/2012

    " At disc 5 of 8 I was still waiting for the action to start. Way too much character development and plodding storyline. Absolutely no excitement or action. Summary: Boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terri Wilkin | 7/10/2012

    " Very good book!! As a lawyer I really enjoyed the angle that this book took with judicial appointments!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ada | 6/29/2012

    " too close to the way things really work to make for easy reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie Baylor | 3/29/2012

    " Interesting and well-written; but overall very frustrating story with an unsatisfying ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zak | 2/7/2012

    " Good story, bad ending and felt a bit rushed at times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katharine | 12/2/2011

    " This book was not amazing, but it was an interesting enough plot to keep me engaged and to finish it in less than a day. The story would be an excellent movie considering the very relevant topic of buying elections. Hopefully someone in hollywood will write a treatment and make it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 11/17/2011

    " probably some truth to what really happens in the political arena unfortunately:( "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Raenie | 8/16/2011

    " I realize life isn't always fair and crap like this really goes on unfortunatly but I hated reading about it. It made me so much more cynical of politicians, government, and big business. But Grisham is a great story teller and author. Despite the content it made me want to keep reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lesnie | 5/22/2011

    " It was a typical John Grisham book with an unsatisfying--although realistic--ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angela | 5/21/2011

    " If you like John Grisham you will love The Appeal. It is return to some of Grisham's earlier works. . .which to me is good since I personally enjoyed his earlier writing to some of his more recent. If you are a fan this is a must read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debinthewoods | 5/20/2011

    " Good book. Held my attention throughout. Some edge of seat moments. I was hoping for a happy ending for the case, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brad | 5/19/2011

    " This was another good Grisham book, it has an atypical ending, but twists are good. I thoroughly enjoy Grisham's writing and enjoy getting a look into the legal system. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dennis | 5/8/2011

    " Very good read. However fictional, it is a true indictment of our current political mess. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 4/29/2011

    " Fast paced story about big business interference in politics, especially in judicial elections in states that have elections for judges. Seems too close to the truth in this country today. Also a good light book to take on a canoe trip.
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steven | 4/26/2011

    " It was a good listen on a long road trip from North Dakota to Florida, but it is not one of Grisham's best. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeri | 4/23/2011

    " This started out with the verdict unlike his other books I've read. I wasn't that interested until the final section. Then I wanted bad things to happen to the judge. Good ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marissa | 4/23/2011

    " Disturbing, but believable and quite unfortunate. Grisham does a good job at illustrating the problem of special interests having so much influence on elected positions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanne | 4/21/2011

    " Those with the money will usually win. A sad commentary on the legal system. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kay | 4/20/2011

    " I listened to it on CD, and it was about 3 disks too long. It was too drawn out and was more like an education on the justice system. It was boring and read more like the Innocent Man - a work of nonfiction instead of fiction. Too bad. I just to love Grisham books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deb | 4/19/2011

    " John Grisham... legal finanglings (or however that word might be spelled) You know what he does, so just enjoy & then wait for the movie. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Vicki | 4/17/2011

    " I long for the days when authors wrote books to entertain, not make political statements. IMO, Mr. Grisham's earlier books, though vastly unrealistic, were far more captivating, interesting and more fun than his later work. If Goodreads had half stars, I'd give this one a 1-1/2. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Catherine | 4/14/2011

    " Grisham is my "go to" author for long airplane rides but I have to say this book disappointed me. It lacked the page-turning suspense of other novels I've read and I kept feeling like I had read parts of it before. Maybe I've just reached Grisham saturation! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marianne | 4/8/2011

    " I didn't actually finish this book. I just got bored. "

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About the Author
Author John Grisham

John Grisham, whose name has become synonymous with the modern legal thriller, used to work sixty to seventy 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. When finally published, A Time to Kill met with little success, but when he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers. Spending forty-seven 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. His success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was then republished. This time around, it was a bestseller. Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year, and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 275 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into forty languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films, as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.

About the Narrator

Michael Beck is an American actor and audiobook narrator. He is best known for his role in the 1979 film, The Warriors. He has narrated numerous novels by John Grisham, as well as Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz and My Life by Bill Clinton. He lives in California.