John Grisham's The Appeal is notable for its disheartening ending. The novel's subject is political corruption: more specifically, a company in legal troubles over its criminal negligence (poisoning a community's water table to the point of increasing cancer rates by a substantial amount) decides to buy a judge. They find a candidate and bankroll his election campaign, slandering his opponents as being too soft on Democrats, intellectuals, and homosexuals. They win; their boy dons the black robes and gets the case. This kind of corruption is depressing by itself, but The Appeal is cruel in making the reader think the judge's moral crisis (following the death of his son from another company's negligence) will see him turn against the business, or at least step down. But no. He throws the entire community under the bus despite having sufficient motive to do the right thing.
I'd like to see it rewritten so the ending is.....at LEAST ambiguous. Have the judge declare a mistrial and step down -- give us hope of SOME kind.