Book Review: Sycamore Row by John Grisham

July 24, 2014 Blog, Book Reviews 0

I received this book for free from Purchase in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Sycamore Row by John GrishamSycamore Row by John Grisham
Series: Jake Brigance #2
Published by Double day on October 22nd 2013
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 447
Source: Purchase
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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 earlier.
The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

My Thoughts

What a great tale! I am in love with Jake Brigance. Just like in the first book he was charming and fabulous. I went into this right after reading A Time to Kill even though they were published approximately nine years apart, so please disregard some of this if you have not read the first in a very long time.

Firstly, I really enjoy John Grisham’s writing, however, there was a lot of back story in this. There was also a lot of reminding about A Time to Kill, but in that case I totally understand as I said above, the stories were published a few years apart and I’m sure most would appreciate the reminders.

Just like A Time to Kill this starts out with a bang but as a reader I didn’t now what the entire bang was about. Slowly but surely Jake Brigance and his crew have to figure out what the hell is going on while another race war is starting. And to make things worse, many things happen throughout the book which make the race war become an inferno which makes having a case ridiculously difficult. All of the drama is there, it was great.

And then I hit about 50% and I absolutely hated it. Well, hate is a strong word. There’s a lot of words in here and I mean a LOT. And most of them aren’t about what is going on with the actual plot. There’s an entire storyline that the reader is finding out about, an ENTIRE storyline. I started getting lost. With so much going on and so many people to get to know and find out about, it was a bit overwhelming. But some of it did have to do with the plot just not all of it.

The end of it was fabulous though. I loved the last 1/4 of the book. The plot was amazing and what Jake and his team had to go through was brilliantly written. I didn’t want to miss a single word of it. And then the ending was spectacular. And I do mean awesome. I actually ended the book with tears in my eyes!

So, although I didn’t love 100% of it, I loved it. He has fantastic writing and I would recommend to anyone, even if it’s a bit out of your comfort zone.

The Author

“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 being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham’s hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing’s greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham’s reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham’s success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books’ protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients’ case, earning them a jur

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