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153 of 172 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE REAL JOHN GRISHAM IS BACK, October 23, 2013
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This review is from: Sycamore Row: A Novel (Jake Brigance Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
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."). As to looser legal research, the author, himself, mentioned that in disclaimers at the end of the last several stories, stating that he has become a lazy writer and has made up a good portion of the legal and technical facts. I tend to think he has been stretching the truth a little on this point as he has listed quite a few individuals as consultants, professional or otherwise. The characters--this is Grisham after all--are as disfunctional as ever but they come to life with his great writing such that you have to love them anyway. Most of them are like bad relatives that you wouldn't actually want to spend time with but love hearing stories about for the entertainment value.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 3, 2013 6:29:34 PM PST
YAY!!! I bought this as I loved "A Time To Kill."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2013 7:13:48 PM PST
rocketfuel says:
John Grisham has a way of bringing his characters alive on paper. Granted, almost all of them have major issues of one kind or another, but I think that allows us, the readers, to vicariously experience the seamier side of life without actually having to live it or even feel guilty about it. I don't know about you, but I feel pretty good about myself when I meet all these crazy people in a book.
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