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 small 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.
©2014 John Grisham (P)2014 Random House Audio
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
Bought this as a pre-order, excited to read something similar to John's early books... I even like his later books and would have settle for one of those. I downloaded it the first day... took me three days of literally forcing myself to listen in order to reach the end. I hated the narrator, disliked the main character and found the plot insipid. Found some action about 10 hours in... a bit.
This book would not of made print had an unknown author written it. "Big coal" is the villain, and yes some of the victims cases handled by Samantha were interesting... but gracious to Pete, what happened here John? Pleased don't write the sequel which is obviously hanging there at the end. It is not a chick lit book... this chick didn't want to finish it.
John Grisham - of course. Catherine Taber - heck no.
I have spent MANY credits on John Grisham books, and this is the only time I have regretted it. First of all, the narrator's voice is so SLOW and BORING I listened to the first 2 hours at a higher speed on my Kindle. I THOUGHT that once the story got going I could slow it back down to normal speed and just enjoy the listen. I was so wrong. I am not sure if it's the narrator or the story, but this book sounds like half of those stupid half-hearted romance/drama novels. Her voice is just horrible...point blank. But the story seems like a drag too. I just don't get the same feeling as I do with every other Grisham novel I have in my library. I am trying to get through it because I am a loyal Grisham fan, but I am at the 5th hour and I think I am just going to quit before I throw my Kindle against the wall for some excitement..
To me, this book felt much like sunbathing indoors. After a while, what kept me going was purely the fascination to prove to myself that the exercise was utterly pointless.
As with other reviewers, I have generally enjoyed Grisham's books and was very much looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, I saw very little of Grisham's normal draws and gripping story telling. The main characters were underdeveloped and not particularly interesting. The whole book felt like a laboriously stretched out preamble to another, "real" story.
Overall, I felt this book was some type of business or contractual obligation to publish--a perfunctory effort to check one off the list. Very disappointing.
Remember John Grisham? Remember the books that shot him to #1 over and over again? The Client, The Firm, etc? Gray Mountain is a pathetic shadow of one of his good earlier stories.
I kept waiting for the action to start. The beginning was great, loved meeting her parents and having her get fired, and getting the internship--all the parts that were written in the publishers description of the book. But after that, nothing happened. I was patient for hours as the story developed, but there was no climax. There was no one and nothing to cheer for, there was no John Grisham moment! The story is set in Appalachia, filled with colorful characters, but none of them really did anything. The stage was set, and then nothing happened.
The main character, Samantha, wasn't developed to the level you would expect in a 12 hour story. What she eats or doesn't eat is not enough for me to care about her as a character. What details were developed left her simpering and weak and a victim, when she was supposed to be the "heroine" of the story. Everything happened TO her, she didn't actually do anything. In the end, I just didn't care.
I know John Grisham isn't high literature, but I think it is fair to expect a level of entertainment from him and to hold him to the standards of his past books. I was very disappointed.
As for the narrator, yeah, she was terrible. She spoke way too slowly, which didn't help the fact that there was no action. She made me feel like she was reading to a group of 1st graders at a library. She also didn't change her voice for men vs. women so I sometimes couldn't tell who was saying what.
It's a John Grisham, so lots of people will still read/listen to it. But at least go in with much lowered expectations.
I do not recommend this book.
No, she is a big part of the problem with the book.
I really enjoy john Grisham's books, even when he is trying to educate his readers, but this went a little overboard. The main character comes across as very spoiled, selfish and a whiner. The narrator, who sounds/reads like a teenager, makes the main character even more irritating and dislikable.
I'm thinking he had someone ghost write this for him. Weak plot, weak characters - they didn't act in an intelligent manner. I kept wondering "why did he/she do that?" There didn't seem to proper motivation for a lot of the actions. There was a lot of background filler that made me think I was a lecture. Really bad narrator - weak and whispery. More suited to a romance novel.
This is absolutely my least favorite of all of Grisham's novels . . . so disappointing.
So sorry to have to write a negative review for a John Grisham book but this one is really a dud. Had this been written in the early 80's when we were just finding out the evils of the coal industry it may have been more interesting. As it goes, this book has been told many times by many writers. The coal companies are scum bags who have and continue to ruin the mountains of VA, WV and KY along with other states. So what's new about that?? And the narrator doesn't do a very effective job. Just a bad read/listen.
And BTW, to the reviewer William Crovatt of Tokyo Japan......a 'chick book'.....one the 'ladies would like'.....Hey dude it's 2014. You need to find a real woman!!!!!
I was prompted to write this review to counter the first couple of inexplicable one- and two-star denouncements of this book as uninteresting "chick lit." It is, quite simply, a well-told and well-written story about believable people and actual legal and social issues. Yeah, it's not the verbal equivalent of Terminator, and spends more time talking about thoughts and emotions than guns and ammo. But chick lit it isn't, nor is it anything like a one-star book. If you like Grisham, legal thrillers, well-developed characters and a story that deepens understanding of legal issues most of us our fortunate enough to never see, invest a credit!
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