Being a fan of Grisham I found this book to be not one of his best. It had great characterization, wonderful atmosphere, and simple reading. I found it to be a nice book, one that I wouldn't give bad marks to.. but again not one of his best. It totally lacked the Grisham flare the real "oh my, what's going to happen next!!". I would say it's a wonderful book to sit on the beach and lazily read away the afternoon.
I was captured with this novel ... several different plots all centered around a young man and his relationship with a motherly black woman in the South and in the 70's to boot. This book may not be for everyone, but I sure had a difficult time turning it off!
Michael Beck gives the flavor of Clanton, MS during this period of turmoil. The story pits the new ways of the outsider newspaper editor from up north, with the languid society of rural Mississippi. There is sadness and comedy it what is assumed are the normal events of the town and county. The suspense from the title is overwhelming and drives the reader on.
Grisham meanders a lot in this book. Get ready for a lot of detours here. They aren't red herrings; they aren't local color; they're just what Grisham seemed to be thinking about on the day of writing.
I liked the book. It was filled with a lot of Grisham stock characters. (Look, Elroy! It's another rumpled drunk Southern lawyer.) Then again reading (listening to) Grisham and complaining about conventionality is like going to McDonald's and complaining about Big Macs.
If you are looking at getting the book, you will probably enjoy it, but I might suggest gettting the abridged version. Believe me there's a lot to skip.
....at first I wished I hadn't downloaded it, when suddenly it began to capture my interest. From that point on, as another reviewer stated, "It was hard to put down". You will find yourself trying to second-guess the author, only to be completely surprised.
I not only found the book to be entertaining, but I became entwined with it's interesting characters ...... especially The Last Juror!
I've been a member of audible.com for close to two years. This book really was a great listen. Unlike many books this one did not end the way I had inticipated. I have a better understanding of the people of the South and the history.
This is Grisham at his best. The only reason I did not listen straight through was because I think it is rude to walk around with noise cancelling earbuds on when in the presence of loved ones. The characters were engaging, the plot moved along and the subplots added to the charm of this small southern town.