John Grisham has a new heroine in Samantha Kofer. It appears that Gray Mountain is the first of series with Kofer as the star. Given this great firstJohn Grisham has a new heroine in Samantha Kofer. It appears that Gray Mountain is the first of series with Kofer as the star. Given this great first book, if it does turn out to be a series, it will be most exciting.
Samantha is an attorney in the largest law firm in the world – over 2,000 lawyers in 20 countries, half of whom work on 36 floors in their Manhattan skyscraper. She is an associate on the real estate department who works up to 100 hours per week reviewing thick files for clients wanting to erect more skyscrapers. It is a cutthroat existence, but one she is desperately trying to hang onto in 2008 when the financial crisis and credit meltdown from the fall of Lehman Brothers begin to cause so many businesses to crumble. Big Law is no exception. The partners are trying to hang on to what they’ve got which means that the associates are heading for the door. For 10 days Samantha has been expecting to hear that she has been fired. When she is finally informed that she must leave, it is barely better than being fired outright. She has been offered the opportunity of being furloughed. The specifics of this are that the firm will keep her under contract for the next 12-months. She will receive no paycheck. She will retain her health benefits only if she accepts an unpaid intern position with a qualified nonprofit. After the 12 months, there is a possibility, no guarantee, of being able to return to a job, not necessarily her old job, with the firm, depending upon the state of the economy at that time.
Samantha is most undecided about what to do. For one thing, she begins to have a feeling a relief to have been freed from the rat-race she has been in. Now that she has a chance to step back from it, she realizes how much she dislikes what she has been doing. She will not become immediately destitute, because she has been able to accumulate some savings and thanks to her parents, she is not faced with student loans which must continue to be repaid. On the other hand, she loves living in New York City and very much enjoys the perks of her job and income she has gotten used to. When the HR department e-mails her a list of 10 qualified non-profits she can apply to, she is uncertain whether she even wants to do so. She finally decides that she ought to at least explore the possibility. After applying to several and being rejected by all, because other furloughed associates have been selected ahead of her, she applies to several more. Following her 10th rejection, she asks HR for more referrals. Finally, she receives a call from Mattie Wyatt at Mountain Legal Aid Clinic in the heart of Appalachia.
Samantha has conversations with each of her divorced attorney parents, both of whom try to talk her out of even thinking about the legal aid position. Her father is a former high-powered litigator who is now a disbarred legal consultant after his three years in prison. Her mother is in a very high-level position with the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. In spite of her parents’ advice, or perhaps because of it, she soon finds herself on the road to Brady, Virginia for an interview with Mattie Wyatt. With a feeling of freedom that she is now away from the Big Law rat-race and an equal feeling that if she doesn’t like the aid clinic she can always quit, Samantha accepts the offered position after having explained to Mattie than she hates litigation and is deathly afraid of courtrooms. Mattie tells her that won’t be a problem.
She soon finds herself drawn to the plights of the little guys, who can’t afford an attorney. This is most especially true of the coal miners with black-lung disease who are up against the huge coal companies who will just a soon pay their attorneys $900 an hour to keep having to pay a deserving and long-suffering miner $600 per month in black-lung disease benefits. The longer she stays, the more she becomes involves in the various cases that “walk in the door” of the clinic. Even though terrified of her first court case, she soon changes her tune when she has a victory and basks in the glow of the feeling she gets not only from the victory itself, but also from the difference she is beginning to make in the lives of extremely poor and desperate people. She is soon facing danger in the form of goons and thugs from Big Coal sent out to disrupt her efforts.
I MOST THOROUGHLY enjoyed this wonderful book and VERY HIGHLY recommend it to Grisham fans and non-Grisham fans very well. The latter group may find themselves hooked if they give this book a chance.
[Book 45 of 2014 Target 50 (Jan-5; Feb-3; Mar-4; Apr-3; May 4; Jun-4; Jul-5; Aug-1; Sep-5; Oct-10; Nov-1)]...more
Jack Brigance, the “hero” attorney from John Grisham’s first novel A Time to Kill set in 1985, returns in this semi-sequel set 3 years later.
Seth HubJack Brigance, the “hero” attorney from John Grisham’s first novel A Time to Kill set in 1985, returns in this semi-sequel set 3 years later.
Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man in the small town of Clanton, Ford County, Mississippi in 1988, but he is dying as a result of the cancer that is torturing his body. Ten years earlier he had just been wiped out financially speaking for the second time as a result of the outcome of the second of his two divorces. He was estranged from his son and daughter, who lived elsewhere, would very briefly visit only on extremely rare occasions, and never wanted to have anything to do with him. He had vowed that he would avenge these injustices. Having been left with only his home and 200 acres of property, he sought out every business opportunity he could. Using the little with which he was left and borrowing heavily, he took many chances and frequently went against conventional wisdom in amassing a very sizable fortune in timber, sawmills, and many other investments spread out over many southern states. He was very secretive about his business dealings. No one in Clanton, and certainly not his son and daughter, had any idea that he was now worth considerably in excess in of $20,000,000.
When Seth was diagnosed with cancer, he sought out the best medical care available, but after a while the battle was hopeless. When he was told that he had less than a year to live, he began to liquidate many of his investments keeping the funds he was consolidating in banks far removed from Clanton. When his life expectancy came down to but a few weeks and he was in considerable pain, he sat down alone in his office and prepared a holographic last will and testament, which he planned to use as the instrument of his revenge. In this brief handwritten will, he left 5% of his estate to his church, 5% to his long-missing brother, and the remainder – in excess of $21,000,000 – to his black housekeeper, who had been in his employ only three years. He stated in very specific terms that he was renouncing his prior, more conventional will which basically split his estate between his son and daughter, and now wanted to disinherit each of them as well as his ex-wives and his grandchildren. He did not trust any of the mainstream lawyers in Clanton, but selected Jack Brigance as the attorney for his estate, because of Jack’s clean-cut reputation and his success in the dramatic murder trial three years prior.
Seth and Jake had never met, nor would they during Seth’s lifetime. After Seth completed his holographic will, he prepared a letter to Jake hiring him to be the attorney for his estate and instructing that he wanted Jake to fight to the very end to ensure that this new will was upheld. Seth indicated that he knew it would be most controversial. On a Saturday afternoon he placed in the mail to Jake this letter along with the holographic will. On Sunday morning he attended church, then went out to a Sycamore tree on his property, placed a rope around his neck, and hanged himself.
The will and letter from Seth arrived in the mail to Jake on Monday morning after Seth’s death. Seth had given very specific instructions that there was to be no autopsy and that the funeral and burial would be very brief. He wanted to make his family sit through the funeral and burial without any knowledge of the will revision, so he specifically instructed that Jake would not disclose the existence of this final will until after his burial. Thus Jake enters into one of the toughest fights of his professional career, with racial tensions overlaying every aspect. The proponents of the original will maintain that Seth did not have testamentary capacity, as a result of his deteriorating physical condition and the painkillers he was taking, and that he prepared the revised will only after being unduly influenced of his black housekeeper.
I thought this was a terrific tale and enjoyed it immensely. I highly recommend it both to Grisham fans as well as others who love a great story.
Malcolm Bannister, a former attorney from a very small-town, is currently a resident at the Federal Prison Camp at Frostburg, Maryland. He does not taMalcolm Bannister, a former attorney from a very small-town, is currently a resident at the Federal Prison Camp at Frostburg, Maryland. He does not take issue with the fact that what he did was wrong but is completely convinced that he was merely the scapegoat and that others more seriously involved in the wrongdoing are still free and going about their business.
Although he has lost his license to practice as a conventional attorney, he has quickly become quite proficient as a “jailhouse lawyer,” advising his fellow inmates about, among other areas, their chances for winning an appeal of their conviction. Judge Raymond Fawcett has very recently become the 5th active federal judge to be murdered. Malcolm soon realizes that he fairly sure he knows the identity as well as the motive of the murderer, based on information he acquired while functioning in his unofficial capacity as an advisor of his fellow inmates on legal matters.
Judge Fawcett was killed along with his young secretary while they were having a tryst at the judge’s remote lakeside cabin. The only evidence beside the two bodies is the judge’s large, extremely secure safe, which was opened and found empty. The FBI is under extreme pressure to solve the crime as soon as possible. Malcolm sees the information he has as his ticket out of jail but recognizes that he must proceed very carefully in negotiating for its disclosure, for once they have the information, he is no longer of any value to the FBI. He must first convince them that the information is legitimate. Then he can more on to negotiating for his release based on his well-thought-out terms.
The Racketeer is a very imaginative legal thriller by the undisputed master of that genre. I very thoroughly enjoyed it and do highly recommend it.
[Book 12 of 2013 Target 50 (Jan-6; Feb-3; Mar-3)] ...more
A young boy Paul Tracey, who is a pitcher on his White Plains, New York Little League team, is a baseball fan in the extreme with full recall of all tA young boy Paul Tracey, who is a pitcher on his White Plains, New York Little League team, is a baseball fan in the extreme with full recall of all the stats and records for all his favorite players and teams as well as scrapbooks for each. He should be on top of the world since his father Warren Tracey is a starting pitcher for the New York Mets. Unfortunately, Warren is a mediocre pitcher at best with occasional streaks in which he is quite good as well as being an alcoholic who beats his wife and son. He is very jealous of those with greater success and very vindictive to those whom he feels have slighted him during a game, such a gloating when they hit a homerun off his pitching.
Joe Castle, a promising young first baseman for a Double-A team in Midland, Texas, suddenly finds himself on the way to Philadelphia to join the Chicago Cubs as their new first baseman. With spectacular, record-breaking hitting, he becomes a sensation after his first several games. While all the prognosticators are expecting him to cool off, his phenomenal hitting and flawless defense continue. Since he is from Calico Rock, Arkansas, the sports writers soon hang the nickname Calico Joe on him.
Paul Tracey quickly adopts Joe as his new baseball hero. Soon the Mets play the Cubs with Warren Tracey pitching. With his warped sense of what is right and wrong and fair, Warren commits an unpardonable act, at least as far as Cubs fans are concerned, which has a devastating impact on the promising career of their rookie sensation Calico Joe. Paul Tracey is devastated and spends the following many years trying to bring closure to the effects his father’s act had on the lives so many people.
This is really a great story, as only Grisham could conceive of and tell. I enjoyed it tremendously and highly recommend it. ...more
Grisham has done it again. THE LITIGATORS is a great read and quite humorous. David Zinc is a feel-good hero. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend itGrisham has done it again. THE LITIGATORS is a great read and quite humorous. David Zinc is a feel-good hero. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it very much. ...more
What a preeminent storyteller John Grisham!! Listening to this CD-audio version of the book read by the author himself greatly reinforced that impressWhat a preeminent storyteller John Grisham!! Listening to this CD-audio version of the book read by the author himself greatly reinforced that impression. Bleachers tells the tale of a small town in Texas - Messina - whose whole spirit lives and dies with their high football team. It is told from the perspective of Neeley Crenshaw, who is returning to his hometown for the first time in 15 years, because his former coach Eddie Rake is about to die. Neeley was undoubtedly the greatest football player that Messina ever produced, a high school and college All-American quarterback who had an outstanding career in the pros in his future until he had a severe, career-ending knee injury as a sophomore. Neeley had a love-hate relationship with Coach Rake, who was characterized as a cross between Vince Lombardi and Attila the Hun. He was a taskmaster without peer who won had a record of 418-62 in his 34 years of coaching the Messina Spartans - including a streak of 84 in a row.
Neeley and Coach Rake had a major altercation during Neeley’s last game as a senior, the 1987 championship. After the game and graduation, Neeley swore that he would never return to Messina or talk to Coach Rake again, but as soon as he heard that Rake was about to die, he was drawn back as were all Rake's former players from years past. They reminisce about the glory years and what Rake meant to them and their lives.
This is a WONDERFUL tale. I most thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and would highly recommend it to all readers.