John Grisham

 

The latest book By John Grisham I read was “The Innocent man”.  This is non-fiction book about a murder in a small town in Oklahoma.  Book focuses on  Ronald Williamson a former baseball minor league player who was accused of committing a murder and sentenced to death for it.

This is one of the best books I have ever read, so captivating and so incredible,” that it was hard to believe that this is a true story!! Ron was a gifted baseball player , local hero,  highly recruited after high school, but after injury, poor work habits, and low motivation level quickly ended his baseball career. After his return to his home town Ada in Oklahoma,  Ron became a suspect in a murder of a local waitress Debra Sue Carter and from this point the story gets crazy!!  It Starts with the shady police work, where the detectives do not follow on leads , take assumptions for facts, mislead witnesses, and force convictions. Next the prosecutors and the judicial system, who is predigest and more concerned about its own political agenda then with justice, and finally the prison system that completely failed to recognize Ron’s mental disease. We all may have an opinion about the Death Penalty, but this book makes you think twice about it. This book is well written, with many details about the case that made me “scratch my head” and wonder how is this possible. I am surprised that so many people did not like this book, someone said that is not exciting because you know from the beginning what is going to happen – really!??

I don’t read too many books by John Grisham but occasionally will reach for one if I am in the mood for a legal thriller.  “Sycamore Row” is the second book about a lawyer Jake Brigance (after the big success of A Time to Kill few years ago).  Grisham nicely connected both books together, and referenced to “A Time to Kill” many times in his second novel, but it is not necessary to read the first book to enjoy ”Sycamore Row.  Jake is a struggling lawyer in a small town in Mississippi who caught an unexpected case to defend a handwritten will of a rich but and very private businessman who, just the day before he died changed his mind as to whom he would leave his fortune too.

“Sycamore Row” is a slow developing story with many unnecessary characters. There are many long monologues and pointless conversations, sometimes about the same issues over and over. However, I still enjoyed this book. Grisham makes the story interesting, the trial preparation with all the nuances, the tricks lawyers try, the games played that would involve the attorneys, the witnesses and even the judge were fun to read about. The trail was pretty interesting from the jury selection to the final verdict. The book was little predictable, even the final twist was not very surprising. Overall good book, could be about 50 pages shorter.

“Gray Mountain” by John Grisham is a story of Samantha Kofer a young lawyer who got laid off from her job as a big Wall Street firm and found herself working for non-profit law firm (unpaid internship) in the middle of Virginia. The book started good, but about few chapters in, it was getting less and less captivating. Samantha was an interesting character. I read several reviews of the “Gray Mountain” and many people complained that they did not like her. The readers said the she was shallow and self-absorbed and she thought she was better then everyone else. In my opinion this is correct but (as a book character) there is nothing wrong about it. She was a girl who was grew up in affluent neighborhood, wealthy parents  , went to great collage , got $180k job on Wall street, so what do you expect? I think she was real. Do I like her? NO, but I think Grisham did a good job developing her character.

The whole coal mining issue: it is somewhat educational but I also think it was unreal and that was irritating. I think in 21st century with all the emphasis on ecological issues, workmen compensation and OSHA standards the whole story would be more realistic in 1900. However, after reading this book I did educated myself about surface mining and other topics Grisham wrote about.

The ending was predictable, I don’t think Samantha would have made this decision, not to write a spoiler , but from all the options she had she pick the least realistic one ( based on what we had learn about Samantha from the first 400 pages).

Over all I am not sorry I read it, could be better, but I am looking forward to read more novels by Grisham soon.

“The Racketeer” was the third book written by John Grisham I have read in the last few weeks. This is the story of a lawyer Malcom Bannister, who was convicted and sentenced to prison for 10 years for a crime he did not commit.  Malcom developed distrust and hate for the Federal Government and after a corrupted federal judge Fawcett was murdered, Malcom found an opportunity to take his revenge.

This is a good book, with fast moving action. Sometimes I find the plot to be complicated and so twisted that it irritated me though. Malcom’s character was somewhat likable and I was hoping he would get his justice, but the rest of the characters were drug dealers and crooks so it was little hard to cheer for them. Vanessa’s character was really strange, she just shows up in the middle of the book and her character was very weak and almost unnecessary. What also was strange is the way Malcom was able to manipulate the US Government -that was just too unreal for me. But overall the book was entertaining to read,  and it had some funny moment that kept me interested to the end

“Calico Joe” is a difficult book  to review without disclosing any spoilers. It is a book by John Grisham about extremely talented baseball player Joe Castle, who got into Major Leagues and became overnight sensation with his good looks, incredible talent and humble demeanor ( e.g. hitting over .500). The book is narrated by Paul Tracey whose father Warren Tracey was a journeyman pitcher now working for NY Mets, who squared against Joe in a baseball game that changed many lives. It was one of the better books I read in the last several months. It was short, fast moving without boring descriptions. Grisham implemented a lot of actual facts from baseball history. The book was a little bit predictable but over all I enjoyed the story and would recommended not only to sports fans but to anyone who is interested in a good life story.

 

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