Grisham's latest inspired by Charlottesville case

John Grisham's latest literary effort The Associate was reportedly inspired by a real Charlottesville case.

Every John Grisham novel has a Charlottesville tie–- the author lives in Albemarle County and is a frequent fixture at various Downtown Mall establishments. But his latest effort, The Associate, due out tomorrow, is connected to Charlottesville by more than just its author's home address.

According to a review in the Washington Post, Grisham's 21st novel is inspired in part by what became widely known as the 12-Step Apology case, in which a former UVA student wrote a letter of apology to the woman he had sexually assaulted in a fraternity house more than 20 years earlier.

Grisham's novel may be inspired by that case, but according to the review, it quickly differentiates. Grisham's protagonist, a recent law school grad, is blackmailed with a cell phone video purportedly showing him in a room just three years earlier when two of his college friends have sex with a college freshman who may or may not be conscious.

Although one of the book's characters apologizes as part of a 12-step program, Grisham made no mention of the Charlottesville case during a January 27 appearance on the Today Show. Instead, host Matt Lauer mentions the Duke Lacrosse case, which Grisham confirms is mentioned in the book.

More than any specific case, Grisham explained to Lauer, he wanted to explore the "proliferation of cell phones, video recorders" and the legal woes they have brought down on individuals– many of them young– across the country in the past several years.

Liz Seccuro, the real-life 12-Step victim, says she didn't know about Grisham's new book prior to its publication, but she's pleased with its reported connection to her case.

"I am so flattered that such a beloved and prolific writer as Mr. Grisham would choose my story to fictionalize," says Seccuro. "It brings the issue of campus rape to millions. I am thrilled and humbled."

Seccuro's own book, a memoir detailing her experience as a sexual assault survivor and the case that catapulted her into the international spotlight, is due out from Bloomsbury in September and is available for pre-sale on Amazon under the title Crash Into Me: A Memoir.

At posting time, neither William Beebe, the real-life 12-Step apologizer, nor Grisham– who for the third year is judging the Hook's annual fiction contest– had responded to the Hook's request for comment.

–Story last updated January 27, 2009 at 11:30am.


Please, Mr. Grisham, come on over the mountain to the sleepy little town of Staunton and help unravel the High's Murder and write a best seller about this. Maybe you could help get to the bottom of the motive, the cover-up and bring some truth and closure. It would make for a very intesting book that I would surely buy!

The Washington post headline -- PAST SINS, HELL TO PAY does not resemble the Beebe case. Beebe was not successful and was not blackmailed to keep quiet. There are, on the other hand, several little websites and blogs that document and converse about UVA rapists of years gone by. Now those boys may wish they had not had their antics blogged on and reported ... when they open their law firms, their past may also rise to expose itself. Perhaps Grisham was thinking smugly of them?

Yo Grisham, you got plenty of some socks.

You don't need socks when your chilling at home not having to worry about things like "work" and "cold"

What a waste of taxpayer's dollars.

First off, look at the Abercrombie arrest. How could they not know that a conviction would be impossible? It seems to me that some one had a personal vendetta against the store. There is no way they would ever see a conviction.

Then we have the William and Mary incident. The Attorney General Bob McDonnell gave the green light on the show, and still police had to be taken away from legitimate police work, to baby sit this show.

And lastly the After Hours bust. Let's face it, they don't want adult videos sold in their community, so rather than work on legislating them out, as they should, they opt to tackle a very difficult obscenity case, and hope by bringing in big Fed guns, they stand a chance. There hasn't been an obscenity case won in 20 years, and after hearing which titles they are prosecuting for, I doubt they will have much luck in this case. It looks more like they are trying to intimidate employees into not working there, than using appropriate legal means to close the store, why else would they arrest employees?

Once again, our trusted servants are more concerned about making themselves look good, than actually taking on the issues at hand.

What a silly waste of time enerdy and money! Lets get real and grow up!