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Posts Tagged ‘John Grisham

Sycamore RowName: Sycamore Row

Author:  John Grisham

Genre : Legal thriller

Pages : 400+

Publication Year: October 22, 2013

Is Review Spoiler: No

 Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)


Sycamore Row is a sequel to a best selling novel ‘A Time to Kill‘ from acclaimed author ‘John Grisham’ . A Time to Kill was the first novel from John Grisham which was published way back in 1989. You can find the review of ‘A Time to Kill’ – here.

The plot in Sycamore Row – revolves around a white man named Seth Hubbard, who is dying due to lung cancer and doctors have given him one months time and who is also filthy rich. Set Hubbard writes a  holographic will which invalidates the will which was previously prepared by big law firm in Tulpedo – in which he has distributed his wealth between his tow children – Ramona and Herschel.

Now in newly created holographic will he gives away 90% his wealth to his black maid – Lettie Lang, 5% to church and 5% to his brother Ancil Hubbard – whose whereabouts no one knows. We know the Ford County from A Time to Kill – which has many people who still believe racism, Klan and white supremacy kind of things which people used to do in 70’s and 80’s.

Grisham hasn’t visited his most famous character Jake Brigance for almost  24 years, now after 24 years Jake is back in action again who by now feels like very old friend from ancient time. Here we also meet the most funniest lawyer Harry Rex and Jake’s mentor Lucien. Like other Grisham novels, this novel too has many twist and turn to keep the reader hooked till the end.

Twist here involves the suicide of the wealthy white man ‘Set Hubbard’ – who before hanging himself on a sycamore tree writes a holographic will in which he gives 90% his wealth to the black maid ‘Lettie Lang’. Very next day after his suicide Jake receives an envelope containing a hand written will and a letter addressed to Jake – in which Seth instruct Jake to defend his holographic will at all costs. He writes in a letter to Jake saying “These are not nice people and they will fight, so get ready,” he warns. “Fight them, Mr. Brigance, to the bitter end.”

Jake has to defend this holographic will created by Seth who is in lot of pain due to lung cancer and hanged himself, Jake has to defend this will at all costs as instructed by Seth himself. The dilemma now Jake facing is – he knows for sure that this will be contested by Ramona and Herschel and it will be trial by jury.  If Jake wins the case – then Lettie will become the riches black person in Ford County – but the Ford County of 1988 which is kind of racist is not about let it happen. Jake has to do something and that something has to be more than what he has done in Carl Lee trial three years ago.

All of a sudden a quiet, racist, Ford County is in news again and again for same contextual reasons – a fight between black and white. All top white lawyers are now in Ford County to represent Ramona and Herschel  and most famous black lawyer – who is most hated by white folks is in to represent Lettie Lang and Ford County is all set for one more big fight.

Jake knows that one bad move by him or Lattie Lang will destroy the case – now the coming of the black lawyer ‘Booker Sistrunk’ changes the game because he is the most hated lawyer by white folks and Ford County has majority of white folks and there is 90% chances that jury for this trial will be  ‘all white’ – in situations like this and in 1988’s Ford County bringing in ‘Booker Sistrunk’ will result in huge damages to the trial. Jake has to find a way to get rid of this guy and he has to find it quicker!

In this first novel – A Time to Kill, the beginning was most disturbing and heartbreaking when Tonya -Carl Lee’s daughter was brutally raped and beaten by two white racist red necks and in Sycamore Row the ending is most disturbing and heartbreaking when everyone come to know the actual reason ‘why Seth Hubbard has  given all his wealth to black maid Lettie Lang’.

As usual character development and the twist and turns and plot development is just awesome. Grisham know how to tell a story which will captivate the reader till the end and leaves him wanting more.


a_time_to_killName : A Time to Kill

Author: John Grisham

Genre : Legal thriller

Pages : 500+

Publication Year: 1989

Is Review Spoiler: No

Movies based on book: A Time to Kill (film)

Rating: 5/5


A Time to Kill is the first novel by acclaimed author John Grisham published in 1989 and instantly became a masterpiece in legal thriller genre. A Time to Kill takes place in Clanton, Mississippi and revolves around Carl Lee Hailey, Black, father of four children, three males and one 10-year-old female child named Tonya Hailey.

One dreadful day while returning from the grocery store, Tonya was abducted by two racist white ‘rednecks’ named Billy Ray Cobb and James Louis Willard. They brutally rape and beat Tonya and dump her in a nearby river after a failed attempt to hang her. She is rescued by fishers and survives.  Both the rapist are arrested.

Both men now indicted in rape and attempt to murder of Tonya but Carl Lee fearing all jury members will be white and acquitting – he kills both the accused using a M-16 machine gun by executing a well thought out plan.

Carl Lee is charged with capital murder. Despite efforts to persuade Carl Lee to retain high-powered attorneys, he elects to be represented by his friend, white attorney Jake Brigance. Jake Brigance who once acquitted Car Lee’s brother Lester in a capital murder case in Clanton.

The book is set in fictional town named Clanton, Missisipi. Clanton is the mixture of both blacks and whites but city has 76% of whites whereas blacks consists only 26% of total cities population. The marrow-deep racism still exists in Clanton and white people getting acquitted in criminal cases compared to blacks are very common in Clanton as majority of jury(or most of the time all jury) member are white.

This case of Carl Lee becomes a national sensation and every lawyer in the country wants to take this case for free. The quiet looking Clanton city is now filled with reporters and strangers. And to make things more complicated to defense lawyer Jake Brigance, the long forgotten and believed to be lost hundreds of years ago – Ku Klux Klan comes back to life in Clanton. The marrow-deep racism and presence of Klan members are handled pretty well in this book. The brutal attacks of the Ku Klux Klan on those who directly or indirectly involved in the defense of Car Lee Hailey puts them on par with the rapists.

All the characters in this book are well thought and well-developed, specially the Jake’s character. You can feel the tension mounting up as the trial date comes near and near. Though trial of Car Lee won’t take place until the climax of the book. But the events which happens in Clanton before Car Lee trial either the coming Ku Klux Klan or NAACP lawyers who want to take the case from Jake are handled really well.

Dialogues are well crafted and is crackling, specially dialogues between Jake and Roark. How the rape and aftermath of the murders effect the folks of the city both white and black is handled well. The psychological effect of rape on victim and victims family is handled well. It’s really heart-braking when doctor tell Tonya’s mother that Tonya will not have any child in the future.

The way the legal system works in criminal cases and how people try to twist these systems either by purchasing one of the jury member to result in hang jury or by choosing all white jury or by presenting false witness or by using insanity defense to defend the victim very well handled and described in such way that even a novice to law can understand it pretty well.

This book is well written and at times hard to follow as it has more description than dialogues but once you start reading – it’s really hard to put this book down.

A sequel named ‘The Sycamore Row‘ will be released next month written after 25 years of publication of A Time To Kill. Can’t wait to read it.

A Time To Kill is highly recommended for anyone who want’s to read a good thriller.

Name : The Racketeer
Author:  John Grisham
Genre : Legal thriller
Pages : 400
Language: English
Publication Year: October 23, 2012
Is Review Spoiler: No
Rating: 5/5


Malcolm Bannister, Black, in his mid 40’s – Ex Lawyer and Ex Marine – in prison serving 10 year term for a RICO violation. He caught up in big Washington real estate scandal in which he played a very small and unintentional role. He is innocent, but his life is ruined, he is now barred from law practice.  His wife – who were very supportive at the beginning of term – now divorced and remarried. His son has a new dad. He lost all his friends. He has no money and no carrier.

This book is purely a fiction – if you are looking for some researched fiction like his other books, than this is not the one.  Quoting Grisham’s words from author’s note “Research, hardly a priority, was rarely called upon. Accuracy was not deemed crucial. Long paragraphs of fiction were used to avoid looking up facts.” If you are looking for some well researched legal fiction then – this is not the one. This book is purely entertaining and a real page turner.

When Judge Raymond Fawcett was murdered and his body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied. – FBI is clueless about the murder and are in intense pressure from Washington to solve the case as soon as possible. Enter Malcolm Bannister – who knows who murdered Judge Raymond Fawcett and most importantly knows the motive behind the murder.

A Racketeer is A person who engages in dishonest and fraudulent business dealings or A person who commits crimes such as extortion, loansharking, bribery, and obstruction of justice in furtherance of illegal business activities.

Malcolm Bannister who tried everything legally possible to get out of prison without any result, already served five years and has to serve five more years to complete his ten-year sentence now got an ace up his sleeve. He want to cut a deal with FBI in exchange for crucial information about Judge’s murder under Rule 35 – Correcting or Reducing a Sentence.

This book has two different plot lines which revolves around Malcolm Bannister – one – which deals with his time in prison and cutting a deal between him and FBI to get his freedom and second – as a documentary film maker working on project with ex-con and these two stories converge brilliantly at the end and merging perfectly to give excellent end to the book.

What was in the safe? The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price—especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett’s death. And the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday . .

Nothing is as it seems and everything’s fair game in this wickedly clever new novel from John Grisham, the undisputed master of the legal thriller.

Overall a must read for all John Grisham fans and also for non JG fans, a real page turner, can’t put-down-able book.

Name : The Pelican Brief 

Author:  John Grisham

Genre : Legal thriller novel

Pages : 436

Language: English

Publication Year: 1992

Is Review Spoiler: No

Movie based on this book : The Pelican Brief (film)

Rating: 4/5


The Pelican Brief is a very interesting and real page turner novel by John Grisham. I have read all best-selling books of Grisham, The Firm, A Client, A Time To Kill, The Associate but I must say this one is better than all above mentioned books. This book is more suspenseful and entertaining than I thought it would be. This book is blend of everything which makes it a good suspense thriller – conspiracy involving high-profile people, assassinations, investigative journalism, decent unpredictable plot and some adorable characters.

In suburban Georgetown a killer’s Reeboks whisper on the front floor of a posh home… In a seedy D.C. porno house a patron is swiftly garroted to death…

The next day America learns that two of its Supreme Court justices have been assassinated. And in New Orleans, a young law student prepares a legal brief… To Darby Shaw it was no more than a legal shot in the dark, a brilliant guess. To the Washington establishment it was political dynamite.

Suddenly Darby is witness to a murder — a murder intended for her. Going underground, she finds there is only one person she can trust — an ambitious reporter after a news break hotter than Watergate — to help her piece together the deadly puzzle. Somewhere between the bayous of Louisiana and the White House’s inner sanctums, a violent cover-up is being engineered. For someone has read Darby’s brief. Someone who will stop at nothing to destroy the evidence
of an unthinkable crime.

John Grisham is an excellent story writer and great at creating suspense. John Grisham’s this novel has everything which makes a book – must read. It has a top-secret, it has a big revelation at the end, it has a conspiracy which go all the way up to white-house and it has big cover up. Every chapter in this novel end with a cliffhanger, it’s kind of book – you just don’t want it to finish but at the same time you want it to end.

Overall this book is suspenseful, thrilling, well plotted and a must read for all John Grisham fans and also those who love mystery/thriller books.

Name : Calico Joe

Author: John Grisham

Genre : Sports novel

Pages : 246

Language: English

Publication Year: April 10, 2012

Is Review Spoiler: No

Movie based on this book :

Awards :

Rating: 4/5


Most of us know that John Grisham is an author of number of good and best-selling legal thrillers. He himself is lawyer and best know for his legal thrillers. John Grisham apart from author is big baseball fan and coaches his son’s team.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a fan of baseball or not, this book is a must read for all! This is a story of family, passion for sport(baseball in this case), disappointments,forgiveness and resilience.

The story narrated from the perspective of 11-year-old Paul Tracey son of Warren Tracey. Warren Tracey was a pitcher for Mets and best known for his beanball’s (“Beanball” is a colloquialism used in baseball, for a ball thrown at an opposing player with the intention of striking him such as to cause harm, often connoting a throw at the player’s head (or “bean” in old-fashioned slang)).

Every child sees in his father a hero and every child want’s become like his father but this not the case with Paul Tracey. His father Warren Tracey –  who abuses alcohol, his wife and his son. He is also known for hitting opposing batters. He is not kind of father that child will adore.

Calico Joe – has the fantasy of every growing up child, Big dream debut, bringing back the dead team to life, scoring three home runs in his debut match,broken records and huge fan following. In one night he becomes the hero, role model for every child and an idol for baseball aspirants.

Paul Tracey – 11 year old son of Mets picher Warren Tracey, he loves baseball, follows all major league and his idol is Calico Joe – he watched all his matches, he knows everything about him though his father play’s for mets he secretly prays for cubs because Calico Joe is in cubs.

One game changes the lives of all three – this is a story of that game and aftermath of that game. The game when Mets and Cubs face off at Shea Stadium. The game in which Calico Joe faces for the first time Warren Tracey. The game which ruined the career of Calico Joe and Warren Tracey. After watching this game Paul Tracey never watched another baseball game.

Whatever happened to Calico Joe?
It began quietly enough with a pulled hamstring. The first baseman for the Cubs AAA affiliate in Wichita went down as he rounded third and headed for home. The next day, Jim Hickman, the first baseman for the Cubs, injured his back. The team suddenly needed someone to play first, so they reached down to their AA club in Midland, Texas, and called up a twenty-one-year-old named Joe Castle. He was the hottest player in AA and creating a buzz.
In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen.  The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records.
Calico Joe quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his Dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever…

A very good, short,  story that is gripping with a good conclusion and a good moral at the end.

Name : The Litigators

Author: John Grisham

Genre : Legal Thriller

Pages : 436

Language: English

Publication Year: 2011

Is Review Spoiler: No

Movie based on this book : –

Awards :

Rating: 5/5


The master of legal fiction is back!, this time with gripping legal thriller. The litigators is the first Grisham book which I liked much and had really fun reading it. I say it again ‘This is by far one of the best book by the greatest legal thriller writer of all time.”

In his latest installment, Grisham tells a story of the young Harvard pass-out lawyer who run from the well paid corporate job and found a new thrill in a ambulance-chaser law firm ‘Finely & Figg’. This firm has hell lot of problem with only two lawyers and one secretary and least of which is they don’t even have money to purchase a nice billboard advertisement instead they use BINGO cards for advertising there firm.

I have been Grisham’s biggest fan for many years, I loved his some awesome books like ‘The Firm’, ‘The Client’, ‘A Time To Kill’. If you recently started thinking after his few not so good books that Grisham won’t be coming up with the legal thriller like he used to, then this is a book for you. The story is so gripping that you won’t think for second for putting it aside.

The characters seem so alive with gripping story line and best legal thriller, a best work from Girsham. Highly recommended!I hate that I read this book so fast, I could have enjoyed it for few more days but this book so gripping and enthralling that you cannot even think to put it down!.

The characters are so alive – David Zinc, a young 33 year old, Harvard pass-out shows up at work one morning to prestigious law firm with 600 attorneys, where he works for fifteen hours a day, he freaks out in elevator and run out of the firm goes to nearest bar and spends whole day there and winds up at the doorsteps of Finely & Figg law firm asks for job.

Wally Figg – a second partner in Finely and Figg, who is drunk spend many months in rehab now in recovery, searches for clients in streets, hospital, funerals, and every where there is a chance of getting a client. One day, he winds up at the funeral office and meets the son of dead client who thinks his father died due to side effects of Krayoxx which is rumored to cause heart attacks Wally Figg believes he’s hit the jackpot.

Oscar Finely –  A senior partner, 65-year-old, cop turned lawyer, expert in divorce cases who thinks he waster 30 years of his life in ambulance-chasing law firm. He don’t have any thing in his bank balance and planning a divorce with his wife.

As the dreams of settlement fades away, the protagonist Zinc and his two litigators take the class action all the way to the federal court and face trial against the legal team led by the same company the protagonist left.

The partners at Finley & Figg—all two of them—often refer to themselves as “a boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who’ve been in the trenches much too long making way too little.

Their specialties, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in. After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.

And then change comes their way. More accurately, it stumbles in. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that  he’s suddenly unemployed, any job—even one with Finley & Figg—looks okay to him.

With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law. An extremely popular drug, Krayoxx, the number one cholesterol reducer for the dangerously overweight, produced by Varrick Labs, a giant pharmaceutical company with
annual sales of $25 billion, has recently come under fire after several patients taking it have suffered heart attacks. Wally smells money.

A little online research confirms Wally’s suspicions—a huge plaintiffs’ firm in Florida is putting together a class action suit against Varrick.  All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of people who have had heart attacks while taking Krayoxx, convince them to become clients, join the class action,
and ride along to fame and fortune. With any luck, they won’t even have to enter a courtroom!

It almost seems too good to be true.

And it is.

Name : The Firm

Author: John Grisham

Genre :Legal Fiction/Thriller

Pages : 470+

Language: English

Publication Year: 1991

Is Review Spoiler: No

Awards : –

Movie based on this book : The Firm

Rating: 4.5/5 —————————————————————————————————————————

The Firm is a 1991 legal thriller and the second novel by John Grisham. This is the novel which bought John Grisham the fame and attention of general public. The Firm is published in 1991 and almost overnight John Grisham became popular and master of legal thrillers.

I am not a big fan of legal fiction/thriller but the novels from John Grisham are totally different even though the genre is legal thriller but this man knows how to make a story so gripping and so alive that one can’t put it down until he finishes it. The Firm is the best novel of Grisham so far which has twists in plot and a great suspense. The Firm has some brilliant characters and character development is so amazing that you will be so hooked to this book that you will never know when you turned the last page.

At the top of his class at Harvard Law, he had his choice of the best in America. He made a deadly mistake. When Mitch McDeere signed on with Bendini, Lambert & Locke of Memphis, he thought he and his beautiful wife, Abby, were on their way. The firm leased him a BMW, paid off his school loans, arranged a mortgage and hired him a decorator. Mitch McDeere should have remembered what his brother Ray — doing fifteen years in a Tennessee jail — already knew. You never get nothing for nothing. Now the FBI has the lowdown on Mitch’s firm and needs his help. Mitch is caught between a rock and a hard place, with no choice — if he wants to live.

The Story of The Firm is well constructed, character development is amazing and overall a very interesting and good read. I will recommend this book to every one, even though you are not a Grisham or Legal fiction fan, Go read this. I have read so far Six to Seven John Grisham books, but of all seven books, this one is the best.

The Story revolves around Mitch McDeere, a fresh college pass out with flying colors. He has many offers in hand from best law firms in America but he chooses Bendini, Lambar and Locke a small firm located in Memphis who offer Mitch great money along with BMW and low interest home loan and pays all his student loans. Soon he finds out that FBI is behind him and every word which come out of his mouth in office or home or in-car is being recorded by the Firm and Firm has extensive surveillance for all the associated who joins it, but Why?. No one has ever left The Firm and he soon finds out Why. A brilliantly told and narrated tale of young lawyer, a must read.

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