Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Reader's Opinion: GRAY MOUNTAIN by John Grisham

The Book

John Grisham has a new hero . . . and she’s full of surprises

The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.

In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most normal towns, harbors some big secrets.

Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.

A Reader's Opinion

I'm a Grisham fan even though it's hit and miss with how well I like his books. He has some incredible books and some that are a tad slow for me. I have mixed feelings about "Gray Mountain" . . . but only at first. Obviously, there was something about it I really liked because I was up late two nights in a row until my eyes watered and I had to go to sleep. Samantha isn't what I'd call hero material, but she has this upfront honesty and way about her; no bull, just the facts. She's not shy about how she feels, and she's human; cries, is afraid, and loses her temper. I kind of wish she had been a little tougher in some situations, but again, she's human.

I thought the pacing was good, and I liked the secondary characters. Donovan and Jeff Gray were both great "heroes," and I have to admit I wish there would have been more of Jeff in the end, or at least the potential, but I can't fault him for where he wanted to go . . .

The ending might not have been wrapped up prettily, but it did give the reader a very clear idea of what Samantha was going to do, at least for the immediate future. I thought he did a great job with the end, and I really liked the changes Samantha made in her life. Overall, it's worth the time I spent reading it, and I look forward to Grisham's next legal thriller. I wouldn't mind more of Samantha or another female lead; I thought he did a great job. 


This review was originally published on 11/22/14. 

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