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The Summons (Harry Rex Vonner)

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  54,773 Ratings  ·  1,492 Reviews
Ray Atlee is a professor of law at the University of Virginia. He's forty-three, newly single, and still enduring the aftershocks of a surprise divorce. He has a younger brother, Forrest, who redefines the notion of a family's black sheep.
And he has a father, a very sick old man who lives alone in the ancestral home in Clanton, Mississippi. He is known to all as Judge Atle
Paperback, 294 pages
Published September 27th 2005 by Delta (first published February 5th 2002)
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Sammy Loves Books
I found this book on CD at my local library. They were having a sale, so I grabbed this CD set.


This turned out to be a mystery about a son finding 3 million dollars in cash, stashed in boxes, in his deceased father's home. Deceased father was a well respected judge.


Someone knows that Ray has found this money, and is intimidating him to return it with acts of violence.


The mystery is solved in the final 2 chapters. It was so Anti-climactic that I felt like part of the book was missing. But NO!! A
Mar 31, 2008 Stephen rated it really liked it
I'm surprised to see how many readers were disappointed with this book since I thoroughly enjoyed it. Maybe the plot was a bit thin and predictable, but Grisham's writing style is so smooth and easy to read that I was able to consume this book in two sittings. It was like I was able to sit down and visit with an old friend. Perhaps some other readers confused this familiarity with boredom.
It all starts when law professor Ray Atlee and his prodigal brother, Forrest, are summoned home by their ai
John Conrad
Feb 04, 2008 John Conrad rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who like slow manipulative plots
Recommended to John by: Luckily it was free
Grisham has thrilled in the past, but those days are over, it appears. While I appreciated the theme of two brothers conflict over a large inheritance, and the drug addiction part was interesting, I thought I would go mad if Ray Atlee went to one more casino or hotel or restaurant or old friend or law office or rich lawyer's yacht or storage unit or private detective.... ad nauseum... Grisham is not his old self. I recommend The Firm, A Time to Kill, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Runaway Ju ...more
Claire Grasse
Jan 29, 2015 Claire Grasse rated it did not like it
And Grisham continues his downhill slide, unarrested.

Oh for the days of his earlier books, when the plots were intricately woven and I couldn't put the books down! You know what I thought when I read this book (and King of Torts, and The Broker)? I thought, OK, JG, we get it that you're a rich boy now, and now you want to explore your rich-boy interests in your fiction. Single malt whiskey, high-stakes gambling, yachts, piloting small aircraft... whatever. The reader can almost see the author's
Bill  Kerwin
Nov 08, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it did not like it

Not a very compelling read. Good while in the small Southern town, but boring just about everywhere else. A disappointment.
Aug 16, 2008 Dan rated it did not like it
Boring. Predictable. Stupid. Read it only if you really hate yourself.
Sep 22, 2012 Nenette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everything about it is good, but the ending did not work well for me. It is Grisham all the way, with a little twist, as this time there was no case in court, no big time law office...The summons is a document of such, though called so with a sarcastic tone. There was the usual thrill and suspense and it wasn't quite late in the book when I figured out the culprit. I read somewhere that The King of Torts is a thematic sequel to The Summons, so I'm reading that next. Never mind that it's only "th ...more
Apr 14, 2013 Bill rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
Writing For the Money (2012)

Grisham, John (2002). The Summons. New York: Random House.

A lawyer in Mississippi finds three million dollars in cash in his father’s house after the old man dies. The money is not mentioned in the will, and indeed there is no obvious way the judge could have amassed that much cash. Should the lawyer declare it to the IRS and lose half in taxes, as the law requires, or quietly split it with his no-good, loser, drug-addict brother who would probably use it to overdose,
Jul 26, 2012 Kelly rated it did not like it
So I'm at my mom's house drooling over her book collection...Okay, I'm lying. I'm looking over two shelves of either leftover college books in uninteresting subjects or my mother's extension collection of John Grisham books. They're all in hardcover. Let's just say she's a huge fan. I've avoided his books like I avoid anything I see on the bestseller's shelves assuming they are a bunch of crap because they are popular and popularity of most things literary tends to correlate with the number of i ...more
Dec 06, 2007 Fatema rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
When I first looked at the book, I first noticed a dull scene of a car driving to infinity as the sun reached the end of the horizon. But, as I read through the book, I grew more interested in the plot and just couldn’t put down the book. I found this book unique in its content and also the characters seemed so life-like. The book I am talking about is “The Summons” by a wonderful author named John Grisham.
I give this book a decent four stars because of its surprising characters and powerful sto
Una Tiers
Aug 08, 2015 Una Tiers rated it really liked it
The plot has a fun premise. The paranoia is overplayed.
Jul 23, 2010 Jerry rated it liked it
Shabby ending spoils good first three-fourths of money story...

We see now why literally half a thousand reviewers either panned or expressed their disenchantment with Grisham's latest. Obviously his name and rep make it a best seller regardless - the book's been out a little while, which is why a bazillion people have weighed in. Indeed, at first, we were captivated and entertained, almost in the style of The Firm or The Partner. Grisham sinks a hook early with the discovery of three million in
Oct 27, 2012 J rated it liked it

I understand why not all John Grisham books get made into movies. If the protagonist is not wholly likable, it's sort of a downer.

That is the case with the main character in this book -- Ray Atlee, the older of two brothers who have grown up and grown apart from each other, as well as from their long widowed, now elderly dad. Both sons have made homes far from the small Mississippi town where their father, a widowed a
Neveen Helmi
Though classified as a thriller, reading "The Summons" left me truly thrilled but only over the fact that I have finally got over with it. Worse kinds of stories, in my opinion, are those you bear on with just for the sake of knowing how they end and for the shame of quitting after you have gone that far. "The Summons" perfectly qualifies as one; it starts all promising, the suspense is building up, the main characters are getting gradually unfolded, and it seems that a lot more excitement is he ...more
Aug 30, 2008 Richard rated it really liked it
Every once in a while you have to read something that isn’t deep and you are just carried along from page to page. That is what the Summons is. I’ve only read a few of his books but they are all about lawyers and usually old lawyers who die in the first few pages of the book. Then there are surprises that come up through out the book that keep you guessing. At the end you are totally surprised. That is the formula for Grisham. But, having said that I did like the book. An old judge dies and leav ...more
Dec 04, 2015 Jlsimon rated it it was amazing
There have been many of John Grisham books I loved, and some that just bored me. This one was a winner. I love the stories that include familiar characters. In this case we have Harry Rex that has been in the Jake Briggance books. I like him. He's funny.

In this story we have a judge who dies and his estate is in question. Our main character Ray finds a fortune in the house, and then has to forfeit it. I really enjoyed it a great deal. I would definitely recommend this book to those that enjoy th
Bill Donhiser
Oct 14, 2016 Bill Donhiser rated it really liked it
Another fine Grisham thriller. I love the setting, the characters, and the plot. Very well done
Andrea Ika
Mar 31, 2014 Andrea Ika rated it really liked it
The Summons (2002)
by John Grisham (Author)

Original Language: English
Publisher: Doubleday
Country: United States
Publication Date: February 5, 2002
ISBN: 978-0385503822
Page Count: 384

Once Judge Atlee was a powerful figure in Clanton, Mississippi--a pillar of the community who towered over local law and politics for forty years. Now the judge is a shadow of his former self, a sick, lonely old man who has withdrawn to his sprawling ancestral home. Knowing the end is near, Judge Atlee has issued a
Dag Dawit
Jun 12, 2013 Dag Dawit rated it liked it
Shelves: finished-reading
The Summons is a great book. This is one of the best work done by John Grisham. It was a number one new york times bestseller. Filled with excitement, and mystery the summons is a must read for all book lovers. I would definetly recommend this book to my friends.

The Summons is about a Judge that is well known in his city of Clanton Mississippi. Judge Atlee soon dies from sickness "there was no pulse Judge Reuben V.Atlee was dead". Since the judge knew that he was going to die he wrote a summon t
Dec 10, 2008 Reinhold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Der alte Richter Reuben Atlee ist gestorben und hinterlässt zwei Söhne. Einer Juraprofessor (Ray) der andere ein drogenabhängiger Tunichtgut (Forrest). Als Ray in seinen Heimatort reist, um die Verlassenschaft zu regeln, findet er mehrere Kartons mit Geldscheinen. Er macht sich auf die Suche nach dem Ursprung dieses Geldes. Eine Suche die ihm seinen Vater neu kennen lernen soll. Der Hauptaspekt dieser Geschichte ist jedoch weniger die Suche nach dem Ursprung des Geldes, sondern die Veränderungen ...more
Nov 08, 2013 Mac rated it it was ok
Over the years, I've dismissed John Grisham's books, thinking there's not much there. Admittedly, my assessment has been based on hearsay as lawyers claim in the courtroom. So after some at-home marital disagreements on Grisham's writing, I decided to dive into The Summons.

And I was pleased, sort of. The story moved along clearly (although slowly), and I was interested in the outcome. The plot ended in a twist that brought some symmetry to the the story and stimulated a little thinking about who
Jul 21, 2015 Kathy rated it it was ok
This was the 1st John Grisham book that I've read----after hearing rave reviews on him as an author. Thank goodness, he has written other books. The Summons was slow to start, long, boring and the characters were poorly developed. I kept thinking that it has to get better. The plot of what to do with $3 million dollars that 1 of 2 brothers found hidden in their dead father's home should have easily been dealt with in less than 300 pages.... I actually read this in book form and it was 373 pages. ...more
Dec 23, 2011 Ensiform rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
My second Grisham novel, this one concerns Ray, a law professor, the son of a respected Judge of a small Southern county. Summoned to the Judge’s house, he finds his father dead and three million dollars in cash hidden in boxes behind the couch. Uncertain what to do and unwilling to tell his drug
addict brother Forrest, Ray hides the money. Soon, however, he’s plagued by greed and doubt, as well as the more physical threats of someone who knows about the money. This is a pretty suspenseful book,
Hope Harris-Gayles
Sep 04, 2011 Hope Harris-Gayles rated it it was ok
I chose The Summons as my first selection from Audible thinking I couldn't go wrong with a Grisham book. Well...yes and no. In this story two sons are summoned to the family home by their ailing father Judge Atlee. The main character arrives to find the judge already dead and a very large sum of money. The story picks up from there--where did the money come from, was the judge dirty, etc. A good premise but the story was lacking in drama. Several times drama seemed around the corner, but instead ...more
Feb 04, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it
A law school professor and his brother – a recovering addict – are summoned home by their father (a domineering old judge), but the professor arrives a few hours too late, finding his father already deceased. It was not a surprise, because he was terminally ill, but he IS surprised to find that the old judge, who was as by-the-book as the day is long, had a secret fortune in cash! He is reluctant to share it with his brother (whom he fears will kill himself with all that money), so he hides it, ...more
Jun 21, 2016 Betty rated it did not like it
I had a very hard time getting interested in this one, and that's usually not the case for a Grisham novel. I was bored to tears until Ray (finally) went home to see his father, and discovered the Judge's body. The story did improve from that point on, but still, it wasn't as enthralling as what I've come to expect from Grisham. I was able to figure out 'whodunnit' very easily, and thought the ending was quite lackluster. It's not the worst book I've ever read, but it's the worst I've read from ...more
Doug Clemens
Dec 30, 2014 Doug Clemens rated it liked it
This is a mildly entertaining book. I'm fairly new to this genre so I'm not sure if I don't like this genre as much or if this wasn't done that well. I guess I'm not a fan of books that you are trying to figure things out and then come to find out the explanation given is really not that plausible just so you would be surprised. It feels contrived to me. Maybe that can't be helped but that is how I felt on this book. It had its moments but overall it just didn't do it for me.
Jun 12, 2016 Lydia rated it liked it
Not a very good book. The plot was a bit lacking in the area of complexity and interest, and the writing style did not appeal to me. I would have rather read straight forward, simple sentences than the clauses and phrases he used to try to sound fancy. The only thing the poorly placed clauses and phrases did was confuse the meaning.
"Meh," that's all I have to say about this book. Definitely not Grisham's best. Found most of it rather dull, and Ray Atlee's decision-making skills annoyed me throughout the narrative. I'm not certain what I would do if I acquired that kind of cash, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't act that irrationally.
Jul 29, 2015 Crystal rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. Or, more accurately, I liked this book in the beginning and then proceeded to dislike it more and more with each additional chapter until the end, where two chapters pulled it together into a pretty awesome book.
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"Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he 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
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Other Books in the Series

Harry Rex Vonner (5 books)
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