Audie Award Finalist, Thriller/Suspense, 2014
John Grisham takes you back to where it all began...
John Grisham's A Time to Kill is one of the most popular novels of our time. Now we return to that famous courthouse in Clanton as Jake Brigance once again finds himself embroiled in a fiercely controversial trial - a trial that will expose old racial tensions and force Ford County to confront its tortured history.
Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier.
The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?
In Sycamore Row, John Grisham returns to the setting and the compelling characters that first established him as America's favorite storyteller. Here, in his most assured and thrilling novel yet, is a powerful testament to the fact that Grisham remains the master of the legal thriller, nearly 25 years after the publication of A Time to Kill.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, a note from the author will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2013 John Grisham (P)2013 Random House Audio
Praise for the novels of John Grisham
"John Grisham is about as good a storyteller as we've got in the United States these days." —The New York Times Book Review
"John Grisham is exceptionally good at what he does—indeed, right now in this country, nobody does it better." —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"Grisham is a marvelous storyteller who works readers the way a good trial lawyer works a jury." —Philadelphia Inquirer
"John Grisham owns the legal thriller." —The Denver Post
"John Grisham is not just popular, he is one of the most popular novelists of our time. He is a craftsman and he writes good stories, engaging characters, and clever plots." —Seattle Times
"A legal literary legend." —USA Today
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
So "Sycamore Row" doesn't have the breathtaking... can't put it down feel of his "The Firm" or "Runaway Jury" type books. But it is a solid, enjoyable read that is more or less a sequel to "A Time to Kill" (his first novel). The same cast of characters were even more enjoyable this time around. The book is probably a PG-13 with a suicide and a lynching, but very little strong language and only a few references to sex. The end was predictable, but I enjoyed hearing it told in his words. It's a keeper.
Titles that should be made or remade into film by Amazon or Netflix... Department Q. Harry Hole. Noble House. Tai-pan. Gai-jin and Shogun.
The probate of a will suspenseful? There's no foul play, no ex-wives, no violence, only lawyers in abundance. Suspenseful? I was on the edge of seat throughout the entire novel.
First, let me say the narration was difficult due to the deep southern dialect, yet masterfully handled by Mr. Beck. I was born in South Carolina, raised in North Carolina, and married a girl from Montomery Alabama. I can assure you the deeper south the more pronounced and exaggerated people's accents become. You may be tempted to think he went to far, but from my experience he was dead on accurate. It's important because people are judged by their accents down here. There's an eloquent drawl by the educated southerner that we all recognize and appreciate. The nuances are numerous to a sensitive ear. I was more than pleased with Mr. Beck's effort.
Without going more into the story, I can say the characters are engaging, intriguing and hugely entertaining on their own. This is my favorite characteristic of any Grisham novel.
If you are looking for a suspenseful novel with incredible characters, Sycamore Row is the book for you!
I live on a tiny river in NC on the southeastern coast. I'm a voracious reader & listener - also photographer and potter.
Ok. I know John Grisham is a very famous and prolific writer. I've read only 3 of his books. I got this because everyone said "it's SUCH a page turner". Well I found it very predictable and mind-numbingly long. I figured out way at the beginning what was going to happen. I had absolutely NO empathy for any of the characters. Grisham overused the verb "glared" so many times it made me flinch. I'm sure no one will read my review and Grisham fans won't agree anyway. This book can't compare to many of the exceptional writers I've read, such as the wonderful Hilary Mantel, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, or Bill Bryson. But I'm writing this to let off steam. I wasted my time and money on this and am kicking myself for not turning it back in after the first 30 minutes.
This was the longest, most repetitive, non climatic book I have listened to. And not a good follow up to A Time to Kill. The book was 20 hours. I would have liked to have known more about Seth's life or seth as a person. What made Seth hate his kids or his kids not be there for him. He did cut them out of 20 million. Letty was only 47! He described her as this old lady. Over and over the trial from A Time to Kill was mentioned. But for no good reason. If you are going to listen to this anyway, listen to the Abridged version.
Cut the book down. Stop repeating himself. They must have read that handwritten will over and over.
If the book is interesting, yes.
Letty's husband. That was a useless side story.
This book is boring. And the big climax was not so climatic.
Yes. The reader enhanced the novel by his authentic, soft, lovely Southern accents--plural because the different characters had different voices. That is hard for me to do in my head.
I did not want to quit listening to this book. The story line was compelling. The characters seemed realistic and interesting. I would love to have another just as interesting right now but they are hard to find.
Grisham is a talented author who's recent books lacked the needed kick of a great ending. "Sycamore Row" fulfills the missing element in Grisham's recent novels, a great end. This novel is full of intrigue, drama, characters and a storying that's a page turner. I hope the future presents us with more of the same.
Enjoyable, interesting story with an unexpected twist! I haven't read a lot of Grisham lately (I did many years ago) but this story did not disappoint. It is well written in Grisham style with well developed characters that you come to care about or to dislike.
Don't listen to those that say Grisham has not been this good since the 90's. He has always been awesome, he continues to grow with each book he writes, and he continues to surprise and educate. Actually this novel is his first adult book to continue one of his earlier books. In this case he continues "A Time to Kill" which was his first novel, the one I liked the least, and the one least Grisham-like.
Luckily the Grisham style is in full swing in his latest. His story shares some plot from earlier novels... the rural south (pretty common in most of his books), the will of a man who hates all his relatives and leaves the money to a outsider, and the slimy underside of the legal profession. However unlike his first novel, this has more energy, moves along much faster, and the characters are more enjoyable. Another Grisham not to miss.
I cannot imagine anyone enjoying this novel about a will contest. I am a paralegal who focuses on estate administration and even I found it repetitive and ridiculously boring. Grisham focused on the technical aspect of the law too much and did not tell us enough about the man at the center of the controversy. How did his relationship with his children become so fractured? We will never know. Too many needless characters were introduced for no reason and served no purpose. I had to force myself to listen to the majority of the book, hoping against hope that it would get interesting or something would actually happen. Then, with 30 minutes remaining, the downloaded file refused to advance. After deleting it and re-downloading several times I was finally able to finish the book. I only finished it because I had invested too much time not to.
Probably not. His early novels were good but I think his books sell now only because of his name, not because they are worth reading.
Memphis lawyer, Booker Sistrunk to start with.
I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.
I've read a lot of Grisham over the years. One of his books, The Testament, read by the incomparable Frank Muller, is one of my three or four all time favorite audiobooks, because it leaves the courtroom and becomes a thrilling adventure into the swamps of South America. It's also a unique love story. I heartily recommend it to any audiobook reader. It is a genuine work of genius, unlike anything Grisham has ever written before or since.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Sycamore Row. Grisham is so conscious of repeating himself here that he regularly makes reference to the prior book, in which attorney Jake Brigance defended a black man, Carl Lee Bailey, against a murder. With an all-white jury, Carl Lee was acquitted, and Jake was famous.
This book is set three years later. The plot is interesting. A wealthy white man leaves a hand-written, holographic will (I believe this is a sly reference to The Testament, Grisham's masterpiece) and then commits suicide. In the will he names Jake as his lawyer and leaves 90% of his twenty million dollar fortune to his black caretaker, a woman named Letty Lang. The small town, Clanton, Mississippi, is of course scandalized, and all hell breaks loose when the truth of the hand-written will becomes widely known.
Unfortunately, all hell may be breaking loose, but simultaneously this is the point at which Mr. Grisham retires to what he knows best, the courtroom drama. He has done so many of these by now that he can write them, figuratively speaking, in his sleep. And that's where it put me. Again, as I often do when an audiobook begins to bore me, I set it down for a few weeks and then picked it up again. It bored me again. All of the courtroom theatrics have been done to death by now, and I think that Mr. Grisham is simply responding to the pressures of the publishing world to, uh, keep crankin' 'em out. He would have been better off not publishing this book, and doing something completely different. In fact, he has done that, with a book called Calico Joe, which I have not read yet but will. Great writers often fear that they will get stuck in a rut as they get older, and for a whole lot of them, their fears are richly justified. Too much of a good thing is just too much.
Michael Beck does his usual excellent work. His mastery of the variety of Southern dialects, plus various black voices and a large cast of rednecks, good ole boys and the entire panorama of Southern womanhood: Beck is just lovely to listen to. I am sure that better material will come along for him, and when the author is cooking, Beck delivers. As for Sycamore Row, if I were you, I would skip it. If you have never read The Testament, please do. It is truly one of a kind in the Grisham library, displaying gifts that many later books lack entirely. Plus, there is Frank Muller. He may have been gone a long time by now, but his beautiful voice lives on in his amazing array of narrations. Him, you will love. I garontee it.
Report Inappropriate Content