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Book Review

Latest Grisham novel has movie potential

5/28/2014

bookCourtesy of Beaverdale Books

“Sycamore Row”

By John Grisham

Doubleday Books

Pub. Date: Oct. 22, 2013

HIV

Hardcover $28.95

447 pp.

In his most recent book, John Grisham returns to the type of legal novel that made his name as an author. “Sycamore Row” features the lawyer who posed such an ardent defense in his first novel, “A Time to Kill.” Again set in the deep south, the story opens with the suicide of a reclusive longtime resident of Ford County, Mississippi. Seth Hubbard had led a long life, married twice and had two children by his first wife. Dying of cancer, he ends his own life, preparing a new “holographic” will (a handwritten, un-witnessed will) the day before his death. He leaves instructions for the handling of his funeral and also identifies Jake Brigance as the lawyer who is to protect his will.

The will leaves most of his wealth to the woman who has recently been his housekeeper/ caretaker. Contrary to his prior, will he leaves his children nothing. He also leaves smaller portions to his church and to his brother, who left home when he was 16, never to be heard from again. A hint of a childhood traumatic experience affecting this brother is the only other item outlined in the instructions. The challenge to the will is inevitable, as there is no apparent reason Seth would leave the bulk of his fortune to his housekeeper.

Grisham has successfully returned to the style of his first novel, with a clear hero lawyer in the forefront. This is a good summer read. CV

Harriet Leitch retired to enjoy her grandchildren, garden, dogs, flute and to return to her love of books.

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