- Ruled by Race (2009)
- Race Relations in the Natural State (2007)
- Blood in Their Eyes: The Elaine Race Massacres of 1919 ( Oct. 19, 2001, by the University of Arkansas Press)
- Salted with Fire (2001)
- Blind Judgement (1997)
- Religious Conviction (1994)
- Probable Cause (1993)
- Illegal Motion (1992)
- Expert Testimony (1991)
by Jenny Gillentine (SHS)
Griffin Jasper Stockley was born October 9, 1944, while his parents were living in Lake Cormorant, Mississippi. He is the last born of three children. Stockley lived in Lake Cormorant, Mississippi, until the age of two, when he moved to Marianna, Arkansas, with his family. He had a happy childhood, was co-captain of his high school football team, the Marianna Porcupines; and was also the president of the student body. As a junior in high school, he wrote a column for the sports section of his local newspaper. Stockley found himself wanting to be a diplomat but still loved writing. He went to Southwestern University in Memphis, and following graduation, Stockley served in the Peace Corps. He served from 1965-1967, living off the coast of Columbia helping to develop rural areas. He was drafted into the army in 1967 during which time he married Susan Minter. In 1979 he and Susan Minter divorced, and he married Susan Gill in 1985. They divorced in 1995.
Returning to the United States after his two- year tour of duty in 1969, Stockley returned to school and graduated in 1972 from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville. He became a lawyer representing people in civil cases. Many of his stories are derived from his personal experiences as a lawyer. All of his stories are actually based on a relevant event and people he has known. Since Stockley writes about real events and real people, the plot and characters are very believable. He is a member of the Authors Guild and has a short story The Divorce published in Legal Briefs, a collection of today’s best legal thriller writers–a list which includes Stockley as well as John Grisham and Richard North Patterson.
To date, Stockley has written five lawyer Gideon Page novels including Expert Testimony, Probable Cause, Religious Conviction, Illegal Motion, and Blind Judgment. Salted with Fire is his latest book and the first not to have lawyer Gideon Page as the protagonist. Stockley wrote a non-fiction book about the 1919 race violence in Phillips County, Arkansas, often called the “Elaine Race Riot.” Blood in Their Eyes: The Elaine Race Massacres of 1919 was published by the University of Arkansas Press in 2002. Stockley received the 1999 Porter Prize given annually to an Arkansas writer for literary excellence. In June 2000 he was also inducted into the Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame.
Stockley has a daughter named Erin Temple Stockley, who lives in Virginia and is also a lawyer like her dad. Grif Stockley enjoys tennis, jogging, and hiking. He says that he writes because it is a way of self-expression for him. He currently lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he worked for the the Center for Arkansas Legal Services for over thirty-one years representing indigent and working-class people in civil law cases. Grif Stockley has been compared to authors John Grisham and Richard North Patterson. He plans to continue writing and hopes people will continue to read his novels and non-fiction books.
A Review of Illegal Motion
by Jenny Gillentine (SHS)
Illegal Motion is a gripping novel written by Grif Stockley. He gives the reader a real understanding of the situations lawyers have to deal with. One reviewer says of Stockley, “Stockley knows his stuff.” In fact, this book gives you the thrill you are looking for in a novel, but the realness of reading the newspaper.
Illegal Motion is about a small-time lawyer named Gideon Page who decides to take on a case in which he defends Dade Cunningham, the star wide receiver for the University of Arkansas razorbacks. At first he does not see the kinds of problems that might arise from his defending a poor, black male who contradicts the word of a rich, white cheerleader that he allegedly raped. Gideon makes enemies for a lifetime as he fights this racial, sexual case. (Not to mention the fact that he also has to deal with his daughter not liking much that her father is on her college campus.) Will the truth of it all come out during the trial? This is the question.
Stockley has a great writing style. He keeps his novel exciting and gripping, keeping the reader believing its actually happening. He gives the reader a basic understanding of what goes on in the mind of a defense lawyer who is going through a tough trial. He keeps you wondering about the trial while intertwining his love life and his relationship with his daughter as well.
The book takes place in eastern Arkansas and has sexual and racist themes. Stockley reveals how trials can be affected by prejudices cast by a community and by the media. He makes you think about how far racially America has truly come.One word of caution, there are numerous references to sex, including how Gideon feels about his own sexual life, what he thinks about the thought of his daughter having an affair, and his thoughts on the rape issue at hand. The issues are strong but subtly addressed.
Stockley paints a very realistic picture of this small, Arkansas town so you feel that you are a part of it. You can almost feel the sweat running from your forehead with anticipation during the courtroom scene. You feel not like a reader, but like a jury member, or just someone watching from the courtroom.
Stockley has a unique way of drawing everyone in the novel together in some way. Whether it is business associates, neighbors, secretaries, or family, they all tie together through Gideon Page, the protagonist, in some way or another. That is actually one of the novel’s best aspects. In addition, Stockley’s wit and irony adds much to the entertainment of this novel.
I personally thought that the book was great. I could not put it down. It does have a few references to sex , since it is a novel about defending an alleged rapist, but nothing that seems vulgar or offending. I thought it was a wonderful novel, and I recommend it.
by Jenny Gillentine (SHS)
What exactly is Mississippi’s claim on you?
I was actually born in the Baptist Hospital in Memphis, but my parents were then living in Lake Cormorant, Mississippi, close to Tunica. They had moved there from Lee county, Arkansas, and then moved to Marianna, Arkansas, (also in Lee County) when I was approximately two years old. Lee county is in the Arkansas Delta.
What does your writing do for you?
My books are a way of self-expression.
Good. I was co-captain of the Marianna Porcupines football team and president of the student body.
Who are some writers that inspire you?
I love John Updike–he writes so well. I also like William Styron and Jane Smiley.
Where do you currently live?
I live in Little Rock.
Who inspired you to write?
Charlotte Gordon, my former agent who is now deceased. Not only did she get me published, she had very high
Are you married, and do you have any children?
I am divorced. I have a daughter named Erin Temple Stockley, who is a lawyer in Virginia.
What are some of your hobbies?
Reading, (playing) tennis, jogging, and hiking.
- Stockley’s newest book detailed on the University of Arkansas Press’s site.
- Review of Probable Cause on Amazon.com.
- Reviews of Religious Conviction.
- Stockley’s short story The Divorce is published in Legal Briefs: Stories by Today’s Best Thriller Writers.
- Mysterynet.com provides chapter one of Blind Judgment.
- Grif Stockley: Arkansas on His Mind is Southern Scribe‘s featured author, includes interview and photos.
- Delta fiction novelists to speak at Blues Symposium VII at Arkansas State University has biography of Stockley
- The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and culture page
- Fleming review on Stockley, ‘Daisy Bates: Civil Rights Crusader from Arkansas’
- “Blind Judgement: A Gideon Page Novel”. amazon.com
- Hall, Robert L. “Grif Stockley: Arkansas on His Mind.” 2000. Available at
<http://arwritersassociation.cyberback.com…%20Stockley%20-%20Feature%20Interview.htm.4 Apr. 2001.>
- Parks, Michielle. “Stockley, Mann Read at Library.” Arkansas Writings. Nov. 10, 2000.
- Stockley, Grif. Personal Interview. 20 April 2001.
- Yarbrough, Ruben. “Grif Stockley-1944, Bio.” 2 May 1999. Available at