The Bottom Line: One of Grisham’s finest.
The release of a new John Grisham book is like an annual holiday – reliable, full of intense strife, and in the end, sheer pleasure that you look forward to repeating. As usual, Grisham embraces his trademark southern gothic style here, packing the book with just enough courtroom drama to keep the attention of hardcore legal thriller fans, while delighting the masses with an old fashioned mystery.
The new book focuses on Pete Banning, who was Clanton, Mississippi’s favorite son—a decorated World War II hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. Then one cool October morning he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed his pastor and friend, the Reverend Dexter Bell.
He was immediately apprehended. Pete’s only statement: “I have nothing to say.” He was not afraid of death and was willing to take his motive to the grave.
In addition to the obligatory legal offices and courtrooms, Grisham’s tale takes us to the Philippines and to an insane asylum. This is an emotionally-wrought work that will let no reader off easy, and it’s this soulfulness that still sets him apart from all his imitators.