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The Summons

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  65,437 ratings  ·  2,044 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, 384 pages
Published September 27th 2005 by Delta (first published February 5th 2002)
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Pixie It's self-contained, a stand-alone, although it refers obliquely to one of his other books, 'The King of Torts' but you certainly don't have to have r…moreIt's self-contained, a stand-alone, although it refers obliquely to one of his other books, 'The King of Torts' but you certainly don't have to have read that book to enjoy this one. If you haven't read 'King of Torts', I recommend it anyway! It has the usual Grisham twist at the end.(less)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  65,437 ratings  ·  2,044 reviews

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Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grisham
Ray Atlee and his brother are called by their ailing father to his home,as he wants to settle his estate.But when they get there,their father dies,and three million dollars are found in his house.The money is not mentioned in the will.Ray now has to find out where all this cash came from.There is also the additional problem of what to do with it.
I'm very fond of this book,as it made me rediscover John Grisham.Years earlier,I read the Pelican Brief,and found it disappointing.When I picked up The
Bill Kerwin
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was ok

Not a very compelling read. Good while in the small Southern town, but boring just about everywhere else. A disappointment.
Mar 30, 2008 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
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
Karl Marberger
The plot was a bit thin, but well written nonetheless. Also a pretty surprising ending.
John Conrad
Jan 30, 2008 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
This one had been sitting on my shelf for exactly 3 years and 20 days. It was about time I read it.
I now see why everyone loves John Grisham. Man's a genius. Such a great book!
Claire Grasse
Mar 12, 2009 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
Rebecca McNutt
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it
The Summons is a little overdramatic, but a great legal thriller heavily immersed in mystery, corruption and family dysfunction.
La Tonya  Jordan
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to La Tonya by: Jubilant JuJuBEEs - The Book Hive Book Club
Shelves: good-read
Awesome read with a twist ending. Judge Ruben Vincent Atlee has died. He was the chancellor of Ford and the surrounding counties for Clanton, Mississippi for forty years. He was well received, respected, admired, feared, loved, and hated. His two sons Ray and Forrest expected to arrive in their home town to discuss their father's will with him, only to find him dead and a bookshelf of over three million dollars. This is where the adventure begins. Where did the money come from? How did his fathe ...more
Aug 16, 2008 rated it did not like it
Boring. Predictable. Stupid. Read it only if you really hate yourself.
Jul 19, 2011 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
Una Tiers
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
The plot has a fun premise. The paranoia is overplayed.
Apr 14, 2013 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,
Oct 30, 2007 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
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another excellent novel by John Grisham.
Looking at other reviews of this book on Goodreads it appears that readers either loved it or hated it with no middle ground. For me who I admit love the easy way John Grisham writes and enjoys his excellent plots and character development though it was a very good read. Maybe not full of action and court cases but nevertheless plenty of intrigue and mystery.I agree certainly not the best John Grisham book but the standard is so high.
Andre Gonzalez
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was quite a boring book. He still managed to make a dry story interesting, but this is definitely one of the worst Grisham books out there.
Sharon Huether
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Judge Atlee, a retired Judge in Clanton, Mississippi requested his sons Forrest, the black sheep and Ray the law professor by letter to visit him on Sunday afternoon at 5 pm to discuss the details of his estate.

Ray is right on time. Upon entering the home. Ray finds his father lying on the couch, dead. Looking around the room Ray finds something shocking. Money, all in one hundred dollar denominations in old stationery boxes.

When Forrest arrives an hour later. The money has already been put in b
Natalie Vellacott
May 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: john-grisham, fiction
Another Grisham book concluded, definitely an improvement on A Time to Kill in terms of the graphic content in the latter. I guess the problem with this book is that nothing much happens in the first half--it is very slow and takes a long time to really get off the ground.

The story is about two brothers that have led very different lives. One is a responsible professor of law and the other has spent most of his adult life checking in and out of drug rehab facilities. Their father is a prominent
Jul 26, 2012 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
♡ Nicolette | Hel Nemisis ♡
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Jerry B
Jul 23, 2010 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
Dele Haynes
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Summons by John Grishom (novel - audible) It was while listening to Sycamore Row that I recognized some of the same names of the characters because my daughter and I were listening to The Summons on our travels. Turns out that The Summons is the third book that takes place in Clanton
MS. Judge Atlee, has summoned his sons to come home in Clanton because he is terminally ill. You might remember Judge Atlee, he was the judge in Carl Lee Haley's trial in A Time to Kill. He was also the judge wh
Emanuel Ramos
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2017
What was that ending? Seriously what was that?
After a brief break from reading John Grisham's books, I was so glad to get back into it!

We follow Ray Atlee who is a professor of law at the University of Law. He is not the only person in his family who deals with the law. His father was a Judge back in his home town of Clanton, Mississippi. His brother never followed that route and just delves into a mix of drug taking and rehab. Both Ray and his brother Forest receive a summons to attend back at home to see their father. Unfortunately, thei
Petra Willemse
May 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Very John Grisham in the execution of plot and characters. Short and quick for a somewhat satisfying legal-ish drama.
Rajkumar Pagey
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it
What would you do if you got more than three million dollars in cash?
It sounds like a dream come true, right? But what exactly to do with such an amount?

The book plays with this concept and the end result is not half bad. Rather interesting.
Oct 27, 2012 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
Christopher Kennedy
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
I rate John Grisham's books in three tiers, and this book falls in the middle one. "A Time to Kill", "The Firm", and "The Pelican Brief" stand at the top while "The Partner" falls to the bottom. Being a sports fanatic, I would also put his "Calicoe Joe" and "Bleachers" in the middle tier. But anyway, more on the novel.

I will say that the ending did throw me for a bit of a loop, and it was one of his harder to guess resolutions. One thing about his style that I don't like as much is how everythin
Aug 30, 2008 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
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Ending *Spoiler* 1 3 Sep 01, 2019 12:01AM  
Hidden Secrets 1 15 Nov 27, 2016 03:58PM  
Hidden Secret 1 2 Oct 25, 2016 05:36PM  
Hidden Secrets 1 3 Oct 16, 2016 04:26PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover and correct title 3 33 Nov 12, 2011 04:44PM  

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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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