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Sycamore Row

(Jake Brigance #2)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  112,436 ratings  ·  10,378 reviews
Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlie ...more
Hardcover, 447 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Doubleday
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Barbara Huxley Typically, yes I do. If I like the author's style, flair and storytelling, I will continue with them. On the whole, John Grisham has been a pleasure, …moreTypically, yes I do. If I like the author's style, flair and storytelling, I will continue with them. On the whole, John Grisham has been a pleasure, along with Michael Connelly and Jodie Picoult. There many others, and some of their books are better than others. But for me, it's like that old shoe relationship, comfortable, warm and known.(less)
Julie Adams This book stands on it's own as a powerful read. Reading "A Time To Kill" is not needed in any way. You will find yourself thinking about this book lo…moreThis book stands on it's own as a powerful read. Reading "A Time To Kill" is not needed in any way. You will find yourself thinking about this book long after you have finished it.(less)

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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  112,436 ratings  ·  10,378 reviews

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Oct 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Now, I know I'll probably get bashed for this, but this is one boring read. For me personally, it would actually be a 2.5-star rating as Grisham's writing is commendable, but he has written so much better stuff. Firstly, I didn't see why this had to be set back in the late eighties (did so many people really have car phones back then?) and although I read A Time to Kill, to which this has been dubbed a sequel of sorts, I read it more than 15 years ago and remember it being a lot better than this ...more
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
Reading the first fifty pages of Sycamore Row I experienced two very different emotions. Firstly, and I can’t remember this happening before, I couldn’t help but grin as I lost myself in every page, in fact I wasn’t aware I was grinning until I heard my mobile ringing and looked away from the book – smiling! The second emotion was anger. Not of Grisham’s writing, his narrative or style, but Seth’s distant family. Racist, obnoxious, opinionated and just plain vile – you can’t help but feel for Le ...more
Susanne  Strong
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Seth Hubbard was a wealthy white man. He was also dying of lung cancer. After months of suffering, he decided he’d had enough, so he planned his own suicide and one of his workers finds Seth hanging from a Sycamore tree, on his own property, in Clanton, Mississippi. Before his death, Seth Hubbard leaves a suicide note, with burial instructions. He also re-did his will, the day before, having researched the laws in the State of Mississippi. Seth Hubbard knew that the hand written will, drafted by ...more
Maggie Della Rocca
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has spoilers.

I could not believe how dull this book was. I haven't read a Grisham novel for several years and although I often had issues with his plot lines, his books generally held my interest. The story is absorbing at the start when a wealthy man in Clanton, Ford County hangs himself in a very deliberate and planned fashion. There is no question about his death, but there are a lot of questions about his estate. Days before his suicide, he changed his will, cut off his children
Andrew Smith
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read the precursor to this book, A Time to Kill, but don't remember much about it - it was a long time ago. What I do know is that this is a brilliantly crafted courtroom drama in it's own right. It's worth reading whether you caught ATtK or not. Having recently read another excellent courtroom yarn, in Michael Connelly's latest offering The Gods of Guilt, I had little hope this would compare favourably. I was wrong, it's as good if not better.

I love the Deep South setting and the character
Wow! Grisham is back with another excellently written stunner. A smart, fast moving story about the legality of a Holographic Will. The sudden suicide of a family's Patriarch and his twenty-four hour old, handwritten Will, have his family up in arms when it is revealed that he has left millions to his black maid. Jake Brigance and the, "Time to Kill", original gang return with another southern, court room, roller coaster.

Jake Brigance is a handsome, lawyer who has a reputation for his ability t
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: past-favourites
A Good Story!
This is quite a good story especially if you are interested in a career as a lawyer. There is a lot of detail on preparing for the trial, seeking witnesses, and the actual trial itself. I was captivated right at the beginning and found it to be an easy satisfying read right to the end.

Dec 13, 2013 rated it liked it

3.5 stars

In this 2nd book in the 'Jake Brigance' series, the attorney gets involved in a monumental fight over a will. The novel works fine as a standalone.


Elderly Seth Hubbard of Clanton, Mississippi - suffering from cancer - commits suicide. Just before he takes his life, however, Seth writes a handwritten will.

The will specifically cuts out his family and leaves almost all of his considerable estate to his black housekeeper, Lettie Lang.

In a letter mailed just before he died, Seth asks
Reading Corner
This was my first John Grishaw book and I never read the first book in this series, A Time To Kill but I was pretty disappointed after reading this book. Many reviews and some of my friends rated this as a definite must-read, highly praising the plot but I found many parts boring. The story wasn't very gripping as it's a story about the legal struggle over the legitimacy of a will. Seth Hubbard hangs himself, leaving a newly written will which leaves a massive sum of money to his housekeeper an ...more
Patrice Hoffman
Oct 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Initially I wasn't going to write a review for this forgettable novel but surprisingly I couldn't forget it. No, Sycamore Row is not a great followup to A Time to KIll. It doesn't even compare to Grisham's The Chamber. Neither does it compare to the one that Tom Cruise starred in. I can't remember the name at this time... but we all know which one I'm talking about. I'm pretty much a die-hard Grisham fan so I will not filter this review. He can afford to get one semi-rant-hateful-disjointed revi ...more
Tara Rock
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oh how I love these characters and after all these years, it was great to meet up again. No one does the Legals like John Grisham in my opinion. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment in this novel.
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: december-2013
From my five star rating, I guess you would know I loved this book. This was the author, John Grisham, that I once loved. He was back in full swing with a fast moving wonderful story with a cast of characters that we grew to love and appreciate in Grisham's A Time to Kill.

I believe it is always wonderful to see an author return to his or her roots, the things that made them special and gave readers a thrill to have read them. In this book, Grisham shows what a wonderful storyteller he is as he
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books by John Grisham that I've read. I highly "recommend" it to anyone that enjoys the writing of JG. To the few people who have not read John Grisham, this title would be a good place to start. This book deals with subjects that effect our lives today: love, lies, greed, racism, hatred, revenge....all woven together in an absorbing story. ...more
Luanne Ollivier
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Twenty five years ago, the initial print run of John Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill, was 5000 copies. His second novel propelled him onto the bestseller lists - where every subsequent novel has landed.

In his latest novel, Sycamore Row, Grisham takes us back to Clanton, Mississippi and his first character - 'street lawyer' Jake Brigance. Three years ago, in 1985, Jake successfully defended a black man accused of murder - the murder of the white rapists of his ten year old daughter. The tr
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you have read A Time To Kill and enjoyed it, you will almost certainly enjoy Sycamore Row. All of the characters rerun from the first book. Jake Brigance a lawyer who at times seems to be in way over his head. Lucien his his alcoholic landlord and somewhat mentor. His pal and fellow lawyer Harry Rex, and Ozzie the sherif of Ford county.
The story is about a handwritten will written by a man named Seth Hubbard done so the day before he hangs himself and whether the will is valid or if the one h
Dec 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
this book is very slow and boring. I am a die hard fan of john grisham and was deeply disappointed.
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who feel sick when contemplating racial injustice
4.5 stars. I love Grisham when he is on top of his game. The beginning was wonderful, 5 stars all the way. The middle was a little long in places. But when Grisham writes courtroom scenes, I can see and hear everything. I feel it in my gut, the way he writes it. I just love it. Ending also, five stars all the way.

I also want to add that the last 30 pages of this book are worth the price of admission. Even if you don't think courtroom thrillers are your thing, I think you should give this book a
Nov 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
I was pleased to revisit Jake Brigance, who is one of my favorite Grisham lawyers as well as his colorful group of friends (and foes). This is a good story, a few twists and turns, but maybe a bit too predictable all in all. Grisham has done better courtroom drama, but he is still a master at building characters and telling their stories. Expected to love this....but it fell a bit short. Still, it is a Grisham story and always a dependable and enjoyable read.
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Jake Brigance returns in Grisham's 'Sycamore Road' This novel is a sequel to 'A Time To Kill' but can be read as a stand alone. I went back and scanned just to refresh my memory, but it's not necessary.

The book starts out when a wealthy lumber tycoon named Seth Hubbard hangs himself from a sycamore tree. Before he does that however, he has hand written another will to override the preceding one. He has left the majority of his money to his black housekeeper and not his family. Why ? He has also
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
John Grisham, one of the most popular novelists of our time, first comes to prominence in 1988 with "A Time to Kill”, a story set in a small town called Clanton, Mississippi, about a ten-year-old black girl raped and disfigured by two whites, of an incensed father who takes the law into his own hands, killing the two rapists in a courthouse shooting, and of the young but sharp defense lawyer Jake Brigance who saved him from the gas chamber.

Twenty-five years later, John Grisham brings back Jake B
“Ethics are determined by what they catch you doing. If you don’t get caught, then you haven’t violated any ethics.”
― John Grisham, Sycamore Row

Sycamore Row is an extremely well written legal thriller which, for some reason, I didn't like all that much.

Part of my problem is that while it's good, it is extremely slow moving and it did make it tough. I am a fan of Grisham but he has countless others I prefer.

The beginning was great-ending a tour de force. It was the middle that I struggled with.

Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Even courtroom antics cannot derail this fabulous drama rapped around legalese. John Grisham is a masterful story teller, although he prefers to take the long way around at times. 8 of 10 stars
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Grisham welcomes the reader back to Clanton, Mississippi for another visit with Jake Brigance, small-town lawyer. Using his first ever sequel novel (setting aside the young adult series) to take the reader back into the sweltering streets of a racially divided town that's made little progress since the Carl-Lee Haley case three years before, Grisham reminds the reader why Clanton is the ideal setting for a novel. When Seth Hubbard commits suicide, there appears to be little left to do besides pr ...more
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I knew Grisham had it in him. He's a hell of a writer of popcorn legal fiction, but his last several novels were uncharacteristically awful. Cranking out his first adult-fiction sequel was a good move, even if he chose his lackluster "A Time to Kill" as the source material. ATtK was reprinted after The Firm became an international best seller. It was a below-average legal thriller with a patently ridiculous climax, but folks were hungry for more Grisham, so it sold well and eventually got turned ...more
Jen Boner
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it
The story was interesting. I thought it was really wordy. Every character was introduced and explained in much detail. It got to be a bit much at times. Some parts dragged. Some things were repeated too often. I wanted to know the ending but didn't always enjoy the journey. ...more
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: overdrive
As the executor of a dear aunt’s estate, I have lately become an unwilling student of the long drawn-out process known as probate. I’m also all too familiar with the vulture-like reactions to death that some families (mine!) can exhibit, with the snooping through drawers and files of the recently deceased, and the siblings who stop talking to each other until the next time they assemble for another funeral, and the whole process starts anew. With only memorabilia or an occasional antique at stak ...more
Lewis Weinstein
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
a solid Grisham read that keeps the pages turning ... a credible portrayal of down and dirty Mississippi justice ... plenty of wrinkles and surprises ... intellectually engaging from start to finish ... but I never felt emotionally connected to any of the characters
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

Coming off the trial of the century, Jake Brigance thought he would finally realize his dream of becoming a rich and famous trial lawyer. Fast-forward three years and Jake finds himself still struggling with the same nickel and dime cases he was handling before Carl Lee Hailey walked into his life. There is a chance that will change when reclusive millionaire Seth Hubbard ends his own life rather than waiting for cancer to kil
Oct 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
Who in the whole world does John Grisham think he is?! I always call it like I see it. You might not want to read this review but it's the bitter honest truth. Here goes... SPOILERS & Anger
This book started out okay. I thought I was glad to see Jake Brigance after so many years from the Time to Kill book and movie. But this Jake, I don't even know who this was? This book in fact turned into something that ticked me off to no end.
I thought this was going to be another courtroom drama based on
Don't bother. The usual 'rescuing' mentality at play. ...more
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Play Book Tag: Sycamore Row / John Grisham. 4.5 stars 1 19 Oct 20, 2016 08:49PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Jake Brigance (3 books)
  • A Time to Kill (Jake Brigance, #1)
  • A Time for Mercy (Jake Brigance, #3)

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