Related to: 'Witness to a Trial: A Short Story Prequel to The Whistler'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

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The Whistler

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

The most corrupt judge in US history.A young investigator with a secret informant.The electrifying new thriller. Lacy Stoltz never expected to be in the firing line. Investigating judicial misconduct by Florida's one thousand judges, her cases so far have been relatively unexciting. That's until she meets Greg Myers, an indicted lawyer with an assumed name, who has an extraordinary tale to tell.Myers is representing a whistle blower who knows of a judge involved in organised crime. Along with her gangster associates this judge has facilitated the building of a casino on an Indian reservation. At least two people who opposed the scheme are dead. Since the casino was built, the judge has made several fortunes off undeclared winnings. She owns property around the world, hires private jets to take her where she wishes, and her secret vaults are overflowing with rare books, art and jewels.No one has a clue what she's been doing - until now.Under Florida law, those who help the state recover illegally acquired assets stand to gain a large percentage of them. Myers and his whistle blower friend could make millions.But first they need Lacy to start an investigation. Is she ready to pit herself against the most corrupt judge in American history, a judge whose associates think nothing of murder?'The best thriller writer alive' Ken Follett

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Camino Island

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

The Sunday Times 'Thriller of the Month', Mail on Sunday 'Thriller of the Week' and Sun 'Best for Mystery-Lovers'.John Grisham's novels have sold over 300 million copies worldwide. CAMINO ISLAND is both an unputdownable beach read and a thriller for book lovers, beginning with a literary heist and finishing with a cat and mouse duel between a beguiling criminal and the woman set to uncover his guilt.The most daring and devastating heist in literary history targets a high security vault located deep beneath Princeton University.Valued at $25 million (though some would say priceless) the five manuscripts of F Scott Fitzgerald's only novels are amongst the most valuable in the world. After an initial flurry of arrests, both they and the ruthless gang of thieves who took them have vanished without trace.Dealing in stolen books is a dark business, and few are initiated to its arts - which puts Bruce Kable right on the FBI's Rare Asset Recovery Unit's watch list.A struggling writer burdened by debts, Mercer Mann spent summers on Florida's idyllic Camino Island as a kid, in her grandmother's beach cottage. Now she is being made an offer she can't refuse: to return to the peace of the island, to write her novel - and get close to a certain infamous bookseller, and his interesting collection of manuscripts . . .'This story takes you into the dark underworld of the black market for rare books. Think Da Vince Code meets Sherlock Holmes' Sun'The gripping plot will have you devouring the chapters in such a frantic fashion you'll begin to wonder if you are somehow complicit in this perfect crime' Heat

Hodder & Stoughton

Theodore Boone: The Scandal

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

'I'm the lawyer, and you're the client. My advice to you is to bury this and not tell a soul. Never. Got it?'Theodore Boone, courtroom hero and the only kid lawyer in town, is facing a tough week at school with his exams.But things take a turn for the worse when a huge scandal is revealed - by none other than his best friend, April. And when April makes a decision that Theodore advises against, the scandal suddenly blows up and is all over the news. Their futures are on the line and April's running scared. Can Theodore find a way to reverse the damage and save several lives from ruin?

Hodder & Stoughton

Partners: A Rogue Lawyer Short Story

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

Discover how Rogue Lawyer's Sebastian Rudd meets his partner and bodyguard in this thrilling short story, by master of the legal thriller John Grisham.Ten years out of law school, and running an office out of what used to be a seedy bar, Sebastian Rudd is beginning to make a name for himself - and learning that in order to get justice, you often have to cheat.When he chooses to represent Thomas Cardell, he's about to make even more enemies. At 33 years old, and with no money and a son to care for, Thomas Cardell is forced to become a drugs mule. But on his first night in the game, he's ruthlessly shot at by an undercover cop, and his only choice is to shoot back in self-defence. When the cop is killed it's Cardell's word against the other police officer on the scene, and proving Cardell innocent will be far from simple. But who ever said getting justice was easy?Featuring the characters from ROGUE LAWYER, and full of the wit and fast-paced action that makes ROGUE LAWYER so irresistibly entertaining, PARTNERS is another classic Grisham story.

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Gray Mountain

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham
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Theodore Boone: The Fugitive

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham
Hodder & Stoughton

The Brethren

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

Trumble is a minimum-security federal prison, a "camp," home to the usual assortment of relatively harmless criminals-drug dealers, bank robbers, swindlers, embezzlers, tax evaders, two Wall Street crooks, one doctor, at least five lawyers.And three former judges who call themselves the Brethren: one from Texas, one from California, and one from Mississippi. They meet each day in the law library, their turf at Trumble, where they write briefs, handle cases for other inmates, practice law without a license, and sometimes dispense jailhouse justice. And they spend hours writing letters. They are fine-tuning a mail scam, and it's starting to really work. The money is pouring in.Then their little scam goes awry. It ensnares the wrong victim, a powerful man on the outside, a man with dangerous friends, and the Brethren's days of quietly marking time are over.(P)2000 Random House, LLC

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A Painted House

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day. It was a Wednesday, early in September 1952. The Cardinals were five games behind the Dodgers with three weeks to go, and the season looked hopeless. The cotton, however, was waist-high to my father, over my head, and he and my grandfather could be heard before supper whispering words that were seldom heard. It could be a "good crop."Thus begins the new novel from John Grisham, a story inspired by his own childhood in rural Arkansas. The narrator is a farm boy named Luke Chandler, age seven, who lives in the cotton fields with his parents and grandparents in a little house that's never been painted. The Chandlers farm eighty acres that they rent, not own, and when the cotton is ready they hire a truckload of Mexicans and a family from the Ozarks to help harvest it.For six weeks they pick cotton, battling the heat, the rain, the fatigue, and, sometimes, each other. As the weeks pass Luke sees and hears things no seven-year-old could possibly be prepared for, and finds himself keeping secrets that not only threaten the crop but will change the lives of the Chandlers forever.A Painted House is a moving story of one boy's journey from innocence to experience.(P)2001 Random House, LLC

Hodder & Stoughton

The Summons

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

Ray Atlee is a professor of law at the University of Virginia. He's forty-three, newly single, and still enduring the aftershocks of a surprise divorce. He has a younger brother, Forrest, who redefines the notion of a family's black sheep.And he has a father, a very sick old man who lives alone in the ancestral home in Clanton, Mississippi. He is known to all as Judge Atlee, a beloved and powerful official who has towered over local law and politics for forty years. No longer on the bench, the Judge has withdrawn to the Atlee mansion and become a recluse.With the end in sight, Judge Atlee issues a summons for both sons to return home to Clanton, to discuss the details of his estate. It is typed by the Judge himself, on his handsome old stationery, and gives the date and time for Ray and Forrest to appear in his study.Ray reluctantly heads south, to his hometown, to the place where he grew up, which he prefers now to avoid. But the family meeting does not take place. The Judge dies too soon, and in doing so leaves behind a shocking secret known only to Ray.And perhaps someone else.(P)2002 Random House, LLC

Hodder & Stoughton

The King of Torts

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

The office of the public defender is not known as a training ground for bright young litigators. Clay Carter has been there too long and, like most of his colleagues, dreams of a better job in a real firm. When he reluctantly takes the case of a young man charged with a random street killing, he assumes it is just another of the many senseless murders that hit D.C. every week.As he digs into the background of his client, Clay stumbles on a conspiracy too horrible to believe. He suddenly finds himself in the middle of a complex case against one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, looking at the kind of enormous settlement that would totally change his life-that would make him, almost overnight, the legal profession's newest king of torts...(P)2003 Random House, LLC

Hodder & Stoughton

A Time To Kill

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham
Hodder & Stoughton

The Street Lawyer

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

Michael was in a hurry. He was scrambling up the ladder at Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. law firm with eight hundred lawyers. The money was good and getting better; a partnership was three years away. He was a rising star with no time to waste, no time to stop, no time to toss a few coins into the cups of panhandlers. No time for a conscience.But a violent encounter with a homeless man stopped him cold. Michael survived; his assailant did not. Who was this man? Michael did some digging, and learned that he was a mentally ill veteran who'd been in and out of shelters for many years. Then Michael dug a little deeper, and found a dirty secret, and the secret involved Drake & Sweeney.The fast track derailed; the ladder collapsed. Michael bolted the firm and took a top-secret file with him. He landed in the streets, an advocate for the homeless, a street lawyer."Fluent and fascinating. Few writers have so much to say, the skills to make reading what they say an irresistible pleasure -- and the clout to be able to say it to an audience of millions." Independent(P)1998 Random House, LLC

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The Testament

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham
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Sycamore Row

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

In the long-awaited successor to the novel that launched his phenomenal career, John Grisham brings us the powerful sequel to A Time to Kill. As filled with page-turning twists as it is with legal mastery, Sycamore Row proves beyond doubt that John Grisham is in a league of his own.Jake Brigance has never met Seth Hubbard, or even heard of him, until the old man's suicide note names him attorney for his estate. The will is dynamite. Seth has left ninety per cent of his vast, secret fortune to his housemaid. The vultures are circling even before the body is cold: the only subject more incendiary than money in Ford County is race, and this case has both. AS the relatives contest the will, and unscrupulous lawyers hasten to benefit, Jake searches for answers to the many questions left by Seth Hubbard's death: What made him write that last-minute will leaving everything to a poor black woman named Lettie Lang? Why did he choose to kill himself on the desolate piece of land known as Sycamore Row? And what was it that Seth and his brother witnessed as children that, in his words, 'no human should ever see'?

Hodder & Stoughton

Theodore Boone: The Collection (Books 1-3)

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

Collecting the first three of John Grisham's bestselling Theodore Boone series together for the first time, Theodore Boone: The Collection showcases three classic mysteries. In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he's only thirteen years old, Theo Boone thinks he's one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk - and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom. In Theodore Boone: Young Lawyer, Theo finds himself dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial when a cold-blooded killer is about to be set free. In Theodore Boone: The Abduction, Theo's best friend April disappears from her bedroom in the middle of the night. As fear ripples through his small hometown and the police hit dead ends, it's up to Theo to use his legal knowledge and investigative skills to chase down the truth and save April. Theodore Boone never expected to be the victim of crime himself. But, in Theodore Boone: The Accused, stolen computer equipment turns up in Theo's school locker. The police start leaning on him hard, and Theo is the only suspect. What if he is found guilty? What about his dreams of becoming a lawyer?

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The Racketeer

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

Number One bestseller John Grisham returns with his most suspenseful thriller yet.Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of the USA only four active federal judges have been murdered.Judge Raymond Fawcett just became number five.His body was found in the small basement of a lakeside cabin he had built himself and frequently used on weekends. When he did not show up for a trial on Monday morning, his law clerks panicked, called the FBI, and in due course the agents found the crime scene. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies - Judge Fawcett and his young secretary.I did not know Judge Fawcett, but I know who killed him, and why.I am a lawyer, and I am in prison.It's a long story.

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Calico Joe

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

An unforgettable novel about childhood, family, conflict and guilt from America's greatest storyteller John Grisham.Thirty years have passed since eleven-year-old Paul Tracy watched his troubled father, Warren, a pitcher for the New York Mets, clash with his childhood hero, the Cubs' golden-boy Joe Castle, in a contest from which no winners emerged.Now the news that his father is dying brings the memory of that day flooding back. Deciding that it's time to face up to what really happened on that baseball field in 1973, father and son make their way to Calico Rock, Arkansas, where either redemption or rejection awaits them.

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The Litigators

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham
Hodder & Stoughton

Theodore Boone: The Accused

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

THEODORE BOONE is obsessed with the courtroom, justice and prosecuting the guilty. But now thirteen-year-old Theo stands accused.Stolen property has been found in his locker and soon Theo is under investigation. Somebody is sabotaging his reputation and framing him as a criminal.As the evidence against him mounts, Theo must use all of his legal powers to chase down the real thief. Can Theo convince the police he's the victim of a crime he did not commit?(P)2012 Penguin Group USA

Hodder & Stoughton

Theodore Boone: The Abduction

John Grisham
Authors:
John Grisham

THEODORE BOONE'S best friend April has disappeared in the middle of the night.The only suspect is an escaped convict, and he won't give them any answers. Thirteen-year-old Theo - the son of two lawyers - knows the criminal justice system. Terrified that he'll never see April again, he begins his own investigation. But as the days drag on with no new leads, Theo starts to think the police are chasing the wrong person. Can he hunt down the truth and find his friend - or is it really too late?(P)2011 Penguin Audio