Spoilers in this post.
I have seen the movie several times so I decided to read the book. The book was slightly different than the movie and it had more details in it and characters. I don’t remember in the movie if Sam Cayhall’s brother Donnie was in it or if he was his partner to bombs the Kramer’s. In the book, it was Rollie Wedge and they were unrelated but worked together. The bomb was meant to go off before the office opened but it didn’t go off when it was supposed to because someone had re timed it and had it set off when Mr. Kramer would be in the office and his boys. Ruth Kramer wasn’t really in the book but only at the beginning and she was then only mentioned in it. Adam didn’t go see her in the book like he does in the movie. Lee didn’t go see her father in prison like she did in the movie and she instead got drunk and drove under the influence and got arrested and then she was gone for the rest of the book until the very end when she decided to burn down her childhood home to destroy the memories in it and the bad stuff that happened there.
The year was 1990 than 1996 and the execution happened August 8th than April 13th. Adam was born in 1964 than 1970ish and he was 16 when his dad committed suicide, not ten. Sam had been in prison for 9 years than 16 years. Adam never gave that one speech in the capital about Sam never having a chance because his dad was a Klansman and so was his grandfather and great grandfather so all he knew was hate. Sam’s brother came and saw him in Prison and gave him the clothes he bought him, Adam brings in Eskimos pies during the visits.
Rollie Wedge never gets caught like he did in the movie at the very end. Sam refused to say his name in the book, he could have right before his execution so Adam could dig into the case and bring proof to catch the man.
Adam never got beaten up in the book like he did in the movie by the KKK.
Adam also had a sister, I don’t remember if he did in the movie, but she came and visited her grandfather in prison and then flew back to California.
Adam never ran from the prison during the execution, he got escorted by Lucus.
The book never mentioned the details of Sam being executed in the chamber like the movie showed.
One thing I learned about the book is John Grisham worked as a lawyer for real and went to law school and the book made me wonder some things. Do states really carry out executions to impress their state residents and to compete with other states that do executions? In the book, the state of Mississippi wanted to keep up with Florida and Texas so they needed to do an execution and picked Sam because of notoriety due to the Kramer bombing. More details were mentioned about his family in the book like his siblings and his wife and his parents, his wife died of cancer in 1977 and Sam took care of her before passing and she despised him in the story but yet never left him. He was about to run off to South America but waited too long because he was already being watched by the FBI when David McAllister decided to reopen the Kramer case. The reason why he didn’t run was because he thought it was all over but by then things were different in 1981 than they were in 1967. So he got convicted and sentenced to death.
But if a US state does decide to do an execution to compete with Texas and Florida, it wouldn’t surprise me. I have heard of plenty fucked up things in politics, one of them was that Arkansas wanted to execute 8 inmates in one month because the lethal drugs were about to expire. To me that just sounded messed up. But the federal judged halted it so that didn’t happen.
One thing I found ironic in the book was Sam hated Jews but yet there were Jews that have actually kept him out of the gas chamber, Jewish lawyers that is. Ironic that Jews would actually defend him to fight to keep him alive behind bars because they were opposed to capital punishment. It took Sam years to fire them all. The book also explained why Sam hated lawyers. They don’t really care about him, they care about getting in the press and making money off him by fighting for him. The lawyers were just doing it for notoriety and Sam hated how he was being used for it. Adam reassured him he was not like those lawyers and it wouldn’t happen and he won’t talk to any press and give them any details. So Sam made a contract and had him sign it or else he is fired if he breaks his promise. Sam also decided to just let him take him as his case for him to practice on.