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on 16 April 2017
In fictional Ford County, Mississippi, an rich old white man leaves his millions to his black housekeeper and appoints Jake Brigance as his attorney for the inevitable contest by his relatives. My first Grisham, recommended to me by the lawyer who represented the friends of someone I knew against the counterclaims of her two cousins. (I was left only a small memento, not contested, so stood on the fringes.)
I’ve enjoyed this, despite its length (512 pages), over a couple of weeks when I’ve been scared and in pain and would have thrown many books aside. It engrossed me and distracted me in the small hours. My brain isn’t working well, so I’ll simply quote the Guardian review, with which I agree: “A solid courtroom thriller with plenty to say about the long half-life of prejudice in the Deep South... the much-trailed conclusion is powerful.” Yes, I could see it coming, but it still packed a punch.
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on 15 September 2014
John Grisham was one of the main influences when I was writing my novel, Crucial Evidence as he expresses so well what the work of a lawyer is about. In this novel Jake Brigance is once again battling racial prejudice when a rich white male, Seth Hubbard, kills himself and leaves the bulk of his wealth to his cleaning lady, a younger black female, and specifically disinherited his children and grandchildren. Hubbard has instructed Jake to fight any attempt by his family to set aside the will. The trial has its ups and downs and illustrates one of the interesting things about this type of novel - the reader is encouraged to form a view of the witnesses, the judges rulings and the jury's verdict.
Grisham understands the way lawyers work,( something that writers of police procedurals don't often show in their descriptions of police work) and their was one passage in Sycamore Row which I thought reflected my own feelings about being an advocate. Jake's wife asks him 'Why do you want to be a trial lawyer?'

And he gives this answer, 'Because I love it. It's what being a lawyer is all about. Being in a courtroom, in front of a jury, is like being in an arena, or on the field. The competition is fierce. The stakes are high. The gamesmanship is intense. There will be a winner and a loser. There is a rush of adrenaline each time the jury is led in and seated.'

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on 11 May 2017
News reports of trials give the basic facts of the story.
Grisham takes those facts and "crosses the t's and dots the i's telling you how they are discovered and manipulated by the characters involved.
The details of how the law works are laid out for the reader to become involved in the cases and also shows how those same details can work for all the sides involved.
The same facts but slightly twisted to suit the relevent party can sometimes be chillingly acceptable however much the reader can see the " wrongness" of the twist.
Along with this the personal stories of all the characters are skillfully woven into the law details throwing up all sorts of twists and turns that are totally unexpected.
All in all Grisham always provides a great read.
Bill H.
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on 23 March 2017
Described as a sequel to A time to kill. It's not! It's a standalone story using the same characters , and a very good one too. John Grisham never lets us down, innovative and intelligent writing will always delight. There are some unanswered questions, such as how did Seth recognise Lettie? How did he know she even existed? For the most part these are posed as unknown answers within the terms of the plotting.
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on 27 April 2017
As usual John Grisham is a superb story writer. It was gripping and entertaining. Based around the Deep South in the USA it is an amalgam of interwoven stories of the lives of the various characters, most prominently the white lawyer, the white businessman and his black housekeeper.
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on 22 July 2017
Fans of John Grisham should not miss this book, one of his best I think. Very absorbing, exciting, interesting - you name it. A thoroughly enjoyable tale and very believable, could almost be a true story but of course it is a work of fiction. How does Mr Grisham do it!! Would highly recommend.
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on 21 May 2017
Classic Grisham. Highly entertaining. Small town American lawyer from the deep South where segregation was still a problem,in the 80 s, battling over a contested will. A sequel to "A Time to Kill", but it works fine as a stand alone novel. I was just sorry when I finished it.
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on 25 March 2017
I hadn't realised that this book was a sequel but not having read the earlier one that didn't detract from the enjoyment of a terrific read.
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on 18 March 2017
Tense courtroom thriller. Love John Grisham's books, love the characters and love the build up to the final chapters.
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on 16 September 2014
It beggars belief that black people can still be treated with contempt; degardation and humiliation by so called civilised society in the 20th and 21st centuries, read on.
Having read the prequel "A Time To Kill" I was keen to read "Sycamore Tree". Both based on the reprehensible treatment of black people in Mississippi in the 20th century and conveyed through a legal storyline, it was engrossing and distressing in equal measure.
Prior to reading "Sycamore Tree" I was unsure if this sequel would feel repetitive, John Grisham took care of that and had me entranced for hours within the story.
Great detail throughout with several strands of the story running at the same time kept me enthralled and with a terrific ending.
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