The King of Torts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The King of Torts
King of Torts by John Grisham cover.jpg
Author John Grisham
Country United States
Language English
Genre Legal thriller novel
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
ISBN 0-385-50804-2
OCLC 51033987

The King of Torts (2003) is a legal/suspense novel written by American author John Grisham. Doubleday published the first edition (ISBN 0-385-50804-2) in hardcover format; it immediately debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list, remaining in the top 15 for over 20 weeks.[1] Dell Publishing published the paperback edition later in 2003 (ISBN 0-440-24153-7). Penguin Random House released an audiobook version in 2007.[2]


Clay Carter is a poorly paid public defender who dreams of joining a large law firm. One day he reluctantly takes on the case of Tequila Watson, a man accused of a random street killing. Watson insists that he somehow wasn't in control of his body when he pulled the trigger, a story which Clay tries to dismiss, but can't get out of his mind. A short while later, unexpectedly, a mysterious man named Max Pace contacts him, asking him to arrange a series of large payoffs to victims of a drug named Tarvan. As it turns out, Watson and other recovering drug addicts were experimented on illegally by an unnamed pharmaceutical company, and in 10% of the cases, Tarvan led the test subjects to commit random and senseless killings, which the pharmaceutical company wishes to pay to cover up.

Having earned a large amount of money from this task, Clay establishes his own law firm specializing in torts, hiring several of his colleagues. He continues to work with Max Pace, who provides him with insider information concerning two other defective drugs, Dyloft and Maxatil, allowing him to mount class-action lawsuits and profit further. Before long, Clay has become one of the top 10 highest-paid lawyers in the country, with a net worth in the low hundreds of millions. As time goes on, however, Clay becomes reckless and is subject to investigations for various crimes, including insider trading. In the end, Clay is beaten up by some men from Reedsburgh, which sends him to the hospital. Then, he loses a huge case against Goffman and slides downhill as previous clients sue him. In the end, having declared bankruptcy, Clay and his girlfriend fly to London

List of characters[edit]

  • Jarrett Clay Carter II - The main protagonist of the story
  • Max Pace - a mysterious adviser of Clay Carter
  • Tequila Watson - A victim of the side of effects of the mysterious drug, Tarvan
  • Adelfa Pumphrey - Mother of the slain victim, committed by Tequilia Watson
  • Rebecca Van Horn - Clay's on and off girlfriend
  • Bennett Van Horn - Rebecca's rich interfering father
  • Barbara Van Horn - Rebecca's pushy mother
  • Jermaine
  • Miss Glick
  • Oscar Mulrooney
  • Paulette Tullos
  • Ridley - Clay's model girlfriend used to make Rebecca jealous
  • Patton French - The wealthiest tort lawyer in the U.S.
  • Dale Mooneyham
  • Rodney
  • Jonah


  1. ^ "The New York Times Best Seller List" (PDF). February 23, 2003. .
  2. ^ Grisham, John (2007). The King of Torts. Random House Audio. ISBN 9780739357798.