JOHN Grisham’s book, The Innocent Man, is the latest in a series of books that have delighted readers for many years. Grisham is one of my favorite authors with whom I feel I have a “relationship"--always waiting to fall into his words and follow the twists and turns of his narrative.
WHEN I finish a Grisham book, I anxiously wait for the next book to be released, and lament the day when Grisham takes his fingers off the keyboard for the last time. I was particularly interested in his latest book because I had heard it was non-fiction and based on a homicide in Oklahoma. Little did I realize until I started reading the book that the murder took place in a town close to where I live, and many of the sights and sounds described in the book were familiar to me. Even the names of the characters involved had a familiar ring. But, my point here is not to review The Innocent Man, but to comment on Grisham’s style of writing.
IN analyzing Grisham’s particular writing style, it made me realize that even though writers may have mastered the mechanics or nuts and bolts of writing, the style or the flow of words is a gift inherent to the author. As much as I would like to emulate Grisham’s style, I don’t think it would be possible. What I like about the author’s prose is his relaxed way of inserting in his narrative a relevant point, often guised in subtle sarcasm, which boarders on humor. The reader gives a knowing little chuckle and then continues on reading. Grisham also is an observer of human nature and uses his observations to build his characters. And, in The Innocent Man real life characters are described in much the same way as fictional characters, which makes this book read like fiction with a carefully crafted plot and gently unfolding story. Grisham’s stories usually center on crime and the law; something he knows about because he is a lawyer. But he is also a talented writer and can move out of his genre and still create a successful story. Skipping Christmas (2004) is a great example and a must read before the holidays.
GRISHAM makes writing look easy; but as a writer I know that writing is a talent and it is one that has to be practiced every day. The more we write the better we are and the easier it is to accomplish our writing goals.