- The Rainmaker (John Grisham)
infobox Book |
name = The Rainmaker
language = English
Legal thriller novel
publisher = Doubleday
release_date = 1995
media_type = Print (
pages = 434 pp
isbn = ISBN 0385424736
:"For the film based on this novel, see
The Rainmaker (1997 film)." The Rainmaker is a 1995 novel by John Grisham. It was turned into a film in 1997. It is different from most other novels and books in that it is written completely in the simple present tense.
Rudy Baylor is a
lawgraduate from Memphis State Law School. He secures a position with a Memphis law firm, which he then loses when the firm is bought out by another larger firm. As one of the few members of his class without a job lined up, Rudy is forced to apply for part-time and poorly-paid law positions. He gets an offer from a large Memphis law firm, but it falls through before he has even begun. Desperate for a job, he reluctantly allows "Prince" Thomas, the crooked owner of a sleazy bar where he's been working part-time, to introduce him to J. Lyman "Bruiser" Stone, a ruthless but successful ambulance-chasing lawyer, who makes him an associate. But to earn his fee, Rudy is required to hunt for potential clients at the local hospital where he must pick up injury cases and sign them up. He is introduced to Deck Shifflet, a less-than-ethical former insurance assessor, now "paralawyer" (having failed to pass the Bar examination after six tries).
Rudy already has two cases, one case putting together a will for an old woman who becomes his landlady after having been evicted from his former home and another a case of insurance bad faith, which he passionately believes in. He represents a poor family, Dot and Buddy Black whom he met through a class visit to a community center. The case could be worth several million dollars in damages, but his personal life is falling to pieces and he is about to declare himself
bankrupt. With his employer about to be raided by the police and the FBI, he and Deck set up practice themselves and file suit on behalf of the Blacks, whose son Donny Ray is dying of leukemiabut almost certainly could have been saved with a bone marrow transplant because he has an identical twin brother, a fact which would make the procedure virtually certain to work due to the perfect genetic match. The procedure should have been covered and paid for by their insurance company, Great Benefit Life Insurance.
Rudy, having just passed the bar exam, has never argued a case before a
judgeand jury- but he now finds himself up against a group of experienced and ruthless lawyers from a large firm, headed by Leo F. Drummond. It is a daunting task, but he has several supporters and a sympathetic newly-appointed judge to sustain his commitment. Whilst preparing the case and also waiting about in the local hospital, he meets and later falls in love with Kelly Riker, a battered wifein the hospital healing from her latest injuries.
Before the trial commences, the Blacks' son dies. The case goes to trial and Rudy uncovers a scheme Great Benefit ran throughout
1991to deny every insurance claim submitted, regardless of validity. Great Benefit was playing on the odds that the insured would not consult an attorney. A former employee of Great Benefit testifies that the scheme generated an extra $40 million in revenue for the company. The trial ends with a plaintiff's verdict of $50.2 million which is somewhat symbolic because it is the total of the $200,000 transplant Donny Ray should have received, the $10 million Rudy originally sued for and the $40 million the scheme that killed Donny Ray generated.
Great Benefit quickly declares itself bankrupt, thus allowing it to avoid paying the verdict. There is no payout for the grieving parents and no fee for Rudy, although Dot Black was never concerned with the money from the trial. In fact, she testified that if awarded any money from Great Benefit, she would donate all of it to the
American Leukemia Society.
During the Black trial, Rudy continues to pursue Kelly, and eventually ends up in a violent fight with her husband while helping Kelly retrieve items from her home. At the end of the fight, with Rudy about to beat the husband to death, Kelly intervenes and tells him to leave. Kelly then finishes Cliff off with a final blow which is not shown but heard. Kelly spends some time in jail before Rudy gets her charges thrown out. Rudy is shaken by these events and becomes wary of the practice of law. He takes Kelly and they leave the area, heading for someplace where Rudy can let his law license expire and then become a teacher, and Kelly can go to college.
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