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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 29 August 2016
A fascinating and cleverly written legal thriller from the "pen" of a master storyteller.
The storyline reveals the best and the worst in humans where the thought of coming into possession of a lot of money is concerned.
The tricks, twists and turns of lawyers in the American legal system are also shown. I made me think about how fair is the law? It is certainly thought provoking.
Overall, a great read well plotted and written.
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on 4 December 2013
This book is overly long and I did see the ending before it arrived. Even once it becomes obvious, Grisham draws out the conclusion with a contrived story of missed flights and delays. Some things don't ring true, which other reviewers have picked up. Jake doesn't keep alcohol in the house, yet is regularly having whisky with the judge and beers in the office. However, Grisham is always worth reading and the racial inequalities of the south and their impact on the family descendants are interesting.
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on 21 October 2014
I am a regular reader of John Grisham books but am utterly disappointed by Sycamore Row. It seems to have been written in a rush, even though its length would speak against this, it just drags on and on even though one can guess quite early on in the book what the ending might be. He jumps around a lot and introduces new aspects of the story, which seem to only exist to add another couple of pages in the very long middle section of the book. It reads nice and smoothly on the first and last 80 pages but is tedious in the middle with many aspects that make you question the whole built-up of the book. It was the first Grisham I ever thought about not finishing, it is just that I could not believe he could write a book as bad as this and kept on reading hoping to find improvement, which did not come.
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on 19 August 2016
I haven't read a John Grisham book for years until this one came up in a Kindle offer. But same as ever, from the first page you are caught up in it immediately. Train journeys to and from work whistled by while I was caught up in it. There are some powerful moments within this tale too. First class fiction at it's easy to read best.
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on 27 October 2013
Of course I read A time To Kill (as well as most of Grisham's other novels ) and was emotionally affected by the story. Sycamore Row is even better, if such a thing is possible! There are enough references back to A Time To Kill that those who haven't read it will, after reading Sycamore Row, look for it right away. Sycamore Row hits hard. The characters are complicated and the events complex. Loyalties and friendships are far from expected, given the prior history from A Time To Kill. Every page draws the reader further into the events as they unroll. There are surprises and plot twists everywhere; not a moment of boredom. Surely, this one will hit the big screen and be a blockbuster. But don't wait. It's just to good to put off.
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Good but not great about an eccentric white self made millionaire estranged from his family who leaves the bulk of his $24 million fortune to his black maid/carer/housekeeper after writing a holographic will and committing suicide . The family are mightily peeved about this and are determined to overthrow the will in favour of a previous solicitor drawn up will. Jake Brigance is tasked with the job of enforcing the latest will in court. The final outcome is predictable and what you might have guessed - it's a good if overlong read not as pithy as many of his previous works.
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on 29 October 2014
I used to devour Grisham's books but hadn't read one for a while - this is Grisham at his best. A small town lawyer in the Deep South fighting a seemingly impossible case for the underdog. How can he possibly win?

The drama kicks off when unpleasant womaniser Seth Hubbard (white guy) commits suicide and leaves his entire $24 million fortune to his black house keeper, deliberately cutting out his two kids and grandchildren - he's planned the whole thing to perfection and even hand picked the small time lawyer to represent his new handwritten will. To most of the racially divided townsfolk it's 'obvious' the maid had to have been giving him 'special treatment' and working some kind of persuasive magic on the cancer riddled old man...but of course there's a lot more to the story than that!

I found it a bit of a struggle to keep track with the many characters in this book, but the writing and pace are flawless. I figured out the 'truth' about three quarters of the way through, but typically Grisham keeps up the tension in his classic 'will they find the vital information and get it to the court in time?' way.

Highly recommended.
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on 21 December 2013
Of course, I expect legal terms,and legal explanations, in any John Grisham book; but, sadly, I feel the legal lessons are taking over from the fiction in his novels of late. I feel that this book could have been cut by at least 25% (making it a more enjoyable read) by omitting a heck of a lot of the irrelevant legal jargon.
Sorry, John, I wanted a thriller, not a lesson in law. Never mind, I'm sure his next one will make up for this; hopefully.
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on 9 September 2016
It's taken a long time, but have eventually read a JG book. It's obvious why he has been such a successful author,
with his great use of legal knowledge,without complexity, and strong contemporary issues. I look forward to reading more of his work.
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on 27 October 2013
I've read all of John Grisham's books and I still think "Time to Kill" was his best. This one revisits the history of the deep South and a man's need to do the right thing. A good, honest yarn. Welcome back, Mr Gresham.
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