Tag Archives: john grisham

The Reckoning: A Novel by John Grisham

Another very great story written I would say perfectly by the master himself. Grisham is very good at building stories, often moving back and forward in the time frame of the hero’s life, but never losing the main thread of the story. Perfect dialogue and always enough descriptive plotting to keep the reader alert and anxious for more.

 In The Reckoning the story is about a southern family and is pretty much centered on Pete Banning, the head of that family. Pete is the owner of his family’s cotton farm which has been in his family for many, many years. It all begins with Pete getting up one day and walking down to the family church where he walks in and with one bullet to the chest area kills the family minister.

Pete’s wife, Liza, had been put into a mental institution some time previously and was pretty much non-responsive to anyone or anything around her. So the only people close to Pete to rally for him in his defense were his sister, his children, and his friends. No one however could stand up to the pressure of the state’s judicial system and the feelings of the entire local residents.

 What all happens in the next portion of the book is how Pete is put on trial, convicted, and electrocuted in an electric chair that is set up in the county courthouse! Pete had done the deed for what he believed in his mind was the right thing to do.

The next part of the story actually moves backward and follows Pete’s life before all of this. He had been a very gallant soldier and not only fought hard in the Pacific in World War II but he actually had also been taken prisoner and had ended upmaking it through the famous Bataan Death March. That forced march instituted by the Japanese had killed many U.S. and Filipino soldiers.

However Pete had managed to live through the march.  Later he and another prison managed to escape from the huge prison camp that they were placed in. While hiding in the woods he was rescued by a band of guerillas who were fighting the Japanese from their various hideouts all over the Bataan woods. Pete and his buddy joined the guerillas and were eventually rescued and sent back to the states.

Pete had first been declared a prisoner and then later declared dead by the military so the folks at home had no knowledge of his escapades or that he was even alive until he returned.

 There is so much more of this great book as the Bannings have to fight to try to keep their property from the wife of the slain pastor. It becomes a real part of any Grisham as it gets very involved with the legal system and how it works for and against folks.

But then there is even more as the winding down of the story contains some very important facts that come out from the death lips of one of the Banning family.  And as they always say……And that is the rest of the story!!

The Brethren by John Grisham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The BrethrenThis is a really interesting story that basically has several stories going on at the same time. The Brethren are a group of three ex-judges who are currently serving time in a minimum federal security prison or camp which is meant for criminals who have committed nonviolent crimes basically against society. They have to be guarded and watched but it is a very low security atmosphere. One of the three had been convicted for tax evasion, one was a justice of the peace who was jailed for embezzling bingo profits, and one had killed two hikers in Yellowstone while he was driving drunk. They basically had jurisdiction over the other inmates in the prison camp as long as it was a crime dealing only with other prisoners.

But there status did allow them to have privileges such as mail in and out without anyone checking it. They were also allowed visits unhampered by their attorney who in fact became their errand boy as they used him in the scheme which they put together. He was happy with the overall arrangement because one of the three judges was a knowledgeable sports gambler and he was always giving the errand boy tips on games to bet with very good odds of winning.

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Rooster BarWriting about young law students or those just recently admitted to the bar has always been a good stomping ground for Grisham. And The Rooster Bar really fills the bill!

A group of law students attending Foggy Bottom Law School basically get together on several evening meetings and begin discussing the Foggy Bottom Law School. One of them especially has been looking into some strange things about the school as far as placement of graduates and also failure rates etc. He is determined that something is not right so he tells his two buddies and his girlfriend that he is putting together a study to either prove or disprove his theory.

Basically he finds in his studies that the bulk of the lower rated law schools, such as Foggy Bottom, not only produce fewer top graduates. But also strangely enough many of these lower rated schools appear to be owned by a group of industrialists who would not appear to have any interest particularly in further education and definitely not in law degrees. No one takes his findings too seriously but he continues with his theories.

Camino Island: A Novel by John Grisham

Camino IslandReviewed by Allen HottCamino Island is a very interesting story by one of the top story tellers of the day. John Grisham writes about law in some fashion or another but the real fashion of his writing is just plain good writing. He gets your interest and keeps it throughout by using great description, good dialogue, and little if any sex or profanity.

Five bad guys steal some priceless original F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts from Princeton University. The originals are worth many, many big bucks and these five not only carry off the crime but know who and where to put the manuscripts to keep them safe for a period but also to make their value go even higher.

However they, like most criminals, are not perfect and make several big mistakes which cause them big problems. But they have done the job well enough that no one knows where the papers are so that is in their favor.

The Whistler by John Grisham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The WhistlerI would say this is Grisham’s best but I believe I say that after each of his books that I read. But truthfully this is a tremendous read. He always does a great job writing about the courts and trials but this one like some others goes into a lot of detail about the happenings outside the courthouse.

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Sebastian Rudd who in fact is the Rogue Lawyer is a different sort of Rogue Lawyerand a completely different lawyer. He pretty much works as a public defender taking the cases that no other lawyer usually wants. He defends those that he believes are innocent or at least they have had their cases distorted by police and courts that are just looking for someone to take the blame in cases they have a hard time solving.

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The first case involves a young man who fits the bill of a down and out no- account who likely could have done the deed he is accused of. However Rudd, unlike the rest of the little town, really believes that the man is not guilty. To prove it he needs to get the blood of the man he truly believes did the crime. By using a cage-fighter that he backs in fights and bets on, Rudd is able to get the blood sample matched as he needs and also luckily one member of the jury attempts to talk with him when he is at one of the weekly cage fights that he attends. These two events comprise the necessary steps that Rudd needs for a not guilty verdict.

Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Gray Mountain

Reviewed by Allen Hott

One of the most interesting books that I have read in some time. Many of us are familiar with Grisham’s writings which mostly focus on attorneys and courtroom drama. Gray Mountain is pretty much along those lines but with twists and turns that make it even more appealing than usual.

Samantha Korver works as an attorney of a huge law firm in New York City. She is far from the top and is working hard to get there. Billing up to 70 hours per week to clients she does in fact put in more hours than that usually. However she has settled in and loves being in the big city.

The Last Juror by John Grisham

The Last Juror

Reviewed by Allen Hott

One fantastic story about the south and more clearly its residents as can only be told by John Grisham. He writes about courtrooms well but when those courtrooms are located in the south it is just that much better.

The Last Juror tells about a young man Joyner William Traynor who moved from Syracuse after not quite finishing his journalistic degree to the town of Clanton Alabama. This occurs in 1970 when integration was still in its infancy and blacks were not generally accepted in small southern towns.

Shortly after his arrival he gets the opportunity to purchase the small local newspaper that he works for. With help from BeeBee, his aunt, he buys The Ford County Times and begins to make changes from the previous owner’s style (mostly lengthy obituaries).

Sycamore Row (Jake Brigance) by John Grisham

Sycamore Row

Reviewed by Allen Hott

There is no doubt that John Grisham is one of the top novelists of today but believe me Sycamore Row is just one more piece of proof of his greatness. Grisham is most adept at writing courtroom stories but he is so special in that he travels away from that area at times and when he does he excels in whatever area he enters.

Sycamore Row is indeed a courtroom drama with pages of happenings in the courtroom but it is also a really fantastic story of a group of characters in their daily lives and even in the lives of those who preceded that group. The story is about a southern attorney and the happenings as he works to defend a handwritten, not witnessed, will that has been mailed to him.

The Associate by John Grisham

The Associate

Reviewed by Allen Hott

An intriguing story of monster law firms and how they operate. Perhaps not always on the up and up but always with growth in mind. They have the finances, know-how and personnel to pull off some unbelievable feats.

The Associate tells of a young man who has been an excellent student his entire life and now looks to get into the legal profession. He has been somewhat pulled in that direction because his father has run a successful business in a small town for many years. Although his father is a very good lawyer he has never attempted to become one of the “big boys” in his profession as he favors working with and for the people in a small town. He is well known, well liked, and makes a better than decent living in this small town.