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Archive for December 2014

ItemImageName: Gray Mountain

Author(s):   John Grisham

Genre : Legal Fiction (Issue based)

Series: –

Pages : 386 pages

Publication Year:  23 October 2014

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 2 stars (out of 5)

Buy: You can get it from here.

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Let’s get to the point straight away – this story revolves around Samantha Kofer, a third year associate at prestigious law firm but when Lehman Brothers collapses and US is hit with major recession in 2008 – she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Her firm gives her an option of keeping health insurance for a year if she take a Pro-Bono work and only option she gets is the becoming an intern in  a legal clinic in Virginia‘s coal mining country.

Legal clinic basic deal with Pro-Bono work specially related to coal mining, like handling the cases of cola miners who got black lung diseases (a diseases which is common with coal miners) filling the law suits against coal mining companies. Other issue this clinic deals with is “Strip Mining” – in which cola companies will remove mountain top to get the coal instead of tunneling the mountain. Strip Mining has a huge impact on nature and surrounding areas, the coal companies will store the toxic wastes in the dams constructed nearby the town and there is high risk that these dams will flood and toxic waste will be spread throughout the villages resulting in many diseases.

Now coming to the problem with the story – Once Samantha Kofer joins legal clinic in Virginia to keep her health insurance, the story started to become too much preachy, I mean literally preachy, almost 50 to 60 % of book was spent in explaining the problems with coal mining and specially strip mining. Once we get over the preachy part regarding coal mining we will come across usual divorce cases, property disputes cases etc which cover almost 20% of the book. The problem is if you are regular John Grisham reader, you will immediately see the repetitions because we have already read the same old cases in many of his books, then what’s the point of adding them here? May for new JG readers?

Rest 20% book deals with the case of two boys who died in their home when a huge stone from nearby mountain fell on there house and lawsuit against evil coal mining company which is dumping toxic wastes in rivers resulting in many disease. Just when you thinks the story is going somewhere, again we hit a road block and it ends without any end!

This is one of the weakest John Grisham Novel I have read so far and if you are thinking of reading it – I will say, avoid this one and wait for his next novel.

Excerpts from book:

The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.

In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.

Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.


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