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Sycamore Row (The Jake Brigance) Paperback – August 19, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


“Powerful . . . immensely readable . . . the best of his books.”The Washington Post
“Welcome back, Jake. . . . [Brigance] is one of the most fully developed and engaging characters in all of Grisham’s novels.”USA Today
“One of [Grisham’s] finest . . . Sycamore Row is a true literary event.”—The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

John Grisham is the author of a collection of stories, a work of nonfiction, three sports novels, four kids’ books, and many legal thrillers. His work has been translated into forty-two languages. He lives near Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Jake Brigance (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 642 pages
  • Publisher: Dell Books (August 19, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345543246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345543240
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17,670 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel. Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.That might have put an end to Grishams hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller. Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, and The Appeal) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.

Photo credit Maki Galimberti

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

543 of 579 people found the following review helpful By Carollyn50 on October 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have always loved John Grisham's books. I can remember when I was introduced to his writing when I read A Time To Kill. I read ALL of the time - I inhale books. I have been disappointed in the last few Grisham books. In fact, I was quite irritated to read his baseball ones. I felt he had abandoned his best writing : lawyer, courtrooms, small Southern towns. Well, I just finished Sycamore Row. Oh, my! It's a wonderful book. I loved how I could not guess how the ending would be. I will have to say Grisham is back 100%. This book will shoot to the number one spot on the best sellers list!
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765 of 832 people found the following review helpful By Jason Frost VINE VOICE on October 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The beginning of 'A Time to Kill' opens with one of the cruelest act that could ever be committed on a fellow human being. That scene will forever be seared in the minds of anyone who has read it.

The ending of 'Sycamore Row' will evoke that exact same emotion.

I digress but let me quickly throw this in since I'll get this question five thousand times a day until Christmas. "Is this book really a sequel to 'A Time to Kill'? It depends on what your definition of "sequel" is. If to you a sequel is a book that includes the same characters as the previous book, then yes. If to you a sequel is a book that continues on the same storyline as the previous book, then no. There are references to Carl Lee and "that verdict" but not enough (in my opinion) to call it a continuation of the storyline in 'A Time to Kill'.

I know that's splitting hairs and to be honest... it really doesn't matter.

'Sycamore Row' is a GRAND SLAM in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, last game of the Series, off a pitcher that, up to that point, has thrown a perfect game. If you think I'm exaggerating I would love to chat with you after you've read this book. Seriously. I'm an unapologetic fan of Grisham and while I think he is a magnificent writer, I'm under no illusion that everything he writes is gold. (*Ahem*, 'The Last Juror', 'The Racketeer'). But there are the gold ones like 'The Broker', 'The Confession', 'A Time To Kill'...

And now 'Sycamore Row'.

This story centers around a colorful old man named of Seth Hubbard. Seth is old. Seth is dying. Seth is rich. Unfortunately the rich part is the one that draws the attention of everyone. Even if said rich is only speculative, and not yet proven.
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341 of 374 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reviewer TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
John Grisham, one of the most popular novelists of our time, first comes to prominence in 1988 with "A Time to Kill", a story set in a small town called Clanton, Mississippi, about a ten-year-old black girl ravaged by two whites, of an incensed father who takes the law into his own hands, killing the two rapists in a courthouse shooting, and of the young but sharp defense lawyer Jake Brigance who saved him from certain death.

Twenty-five years later, John Grisham brings back Jake Brigance to his stomping ground, the fictional town of Clanton, Mississippi and its courthouse in his new novel, Sycamore Row, which centers on a new trial that exposes Clanton's uneasy past with race relations. The sequel is about Brigance fighting for justice in a case that could tear the small town of Clanton apart.

A semblance of normalcy has been restored to Clanton after Brigance won acquittal for Carl Lee Hailey, but the deep fissure it had created was still smoldering. His house was burned down, and he nearly paid with his own life. But many of those involved in the incident still walked free. Though the case grabbed nation-wide attention, there's still no drastic change and Jack Brigance is still a small-town lawyer. Nothing out of the ordinary seems to be happening...

In one corner of Clanton lives Seth Hubbard, a reclusive rich old man who is dying of lung cancer. In a quirk turn of event, he hangs himself from a sycamore tree one rainy afternoon. His maid who took care of him for the last three years was kicked out of the house and left to fend for her family by Hubbard's greedy family who arrived soon after his death to stake claim to his property. It's assumed that they would inherit his estate and all that therein.

But something extraordinary happens.
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167 of 187 people found the following review helpful By rocketfuel on October 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a real page turner. John Grisham has written some of the best fiction in the world over the years although in recent years it did seem like he was experimenting with different writing styles and looser legal research. It wasn't clear if he was losing his touch or just bored. This yarn brings back many of the characters from "A Time to Kill" set just three years later. It starts off with a last minute, hand written will arriving in the mail just days after the wealthiest man in the county takes his own life--a man that was so secretive that virtually no one knew he had any wealth at all. His family is cut out of his estate and replaced with his black maid as the beneficiary at the last minute which is where the fireworks begin. The lawyers start piling on thicker than stacks of firewood. Its impossible to figure out what is going on with all the twists and turns and the pages just keep turning. Don't start this one if you have any important appointments to keep in the morning.

Update: It might not have been clear what was meant by different writing styles and looser legal research. In a number of the author's recent books, he had written in the first person ("I looked at the judge and wondered exactly what he was thinking"), adding to that a present tense approach, which can be really hard to get into ("I am walking down the hallway and see the opening to the courtroom ahead"). This book returns to the more traditional (and I think easier to read) what is called third person, past perfect ("She looked at the painting in silence and thought to herself that no one in their right mind would hang such an abomination on a perfectly good wall. The victim, of course, hadn't moved and still stared at it with unseeing eyes.").
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