Book review: Sycamore Row by John Grisham

John Grisham, Sycamore Row, book review, new books, legal thriller, A Time to Kill In Luke 19, a rich man climbs a Sycamore tree to get a closer look at Jesus who is passing through the city of Jericho. Inspired to acts of justice after Jesus visits him for lunch, the man, Zaccheus, gives away much of his wealth to those he has previously robbed as a tax collector.

In John Grisham's latest legal thriller, Sycamore Row, a rich man climbs a Sycamore tree and hangs himself, and there ensues an almighty court battle over how he has divided his estate. I'll say no more about Zaccheus only that Grisham may well have been inspired by this very gospel story....

Sycamore Row is billed as a sequel to A Time To Kill, being set in the same small southern community of Clanton, Ford County, with same lawyer Jake Brigance in the pivotal legal role.

Those who have read A Time to Kill, or seen the movie, will at times find it hard to fit the smouldering performances of Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock, with the somewhat subdued and more nuanced characters Grisham depicts in this story.

Although there are no direct plot links to A Time to Kill, it is certainly a group of characters well worth revisiting after the incredible success of the previous novel which tells of the trial of Carl Lee Hailey who kills the two white rapists of his daughter.

This time, there is a mystery to be solved as to why a white businessman who was not much liked by anyone, would leave millions of dollars to his black housekeeper, cutting out his entire family, in a holographic will written a day before he hangs himself.

The fight over the will brings plenty of interest - it is far too common a scenario, the disputing of wills, and we are all drawn watch to avidly the nasty seediness of greedy families. But we know Grisham is exploring some other aspect of black/white relationships in the deep south and as usual, it is a race against time to discover it.

It may not be his very best, but it is certainly in the vicinity of his usual high standard with just enough character development and pacey unpacking of fascinating legal processes to force me to read it in just a couple of days.

I will even admit to shedding a tear, in a side-story to the main events of the plot. Perhaps it was because I was reading at 4am, afflicted with insomnia, and so more prone to emotion, but Grisham, showing the influence of his Christian faith, writes of some average, southern Americans, displaying a powerful form of forgiveness, and it did my heart good to read it.

If you love John Grisham, you will enjoy Sycamore Row and if you have never tried him, well, you probably will enjoy the ride. He's not one of the world's best selling authors for nothing.

We hope you enjoyed Cread's book review of Sycamore Row


  1. to tell the truth, i bought this book for my mom and i havent read it. but she has, and she enjoyed it a lot found it very gripping and exciting. She is always on the look out for new stuff from John grisham, but she does nit like the Theodore Boone books. Other than those, she owns every single grisham there is.


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