Sycamore Row by John Grisham

Sycamore Row by John Grisham
Publisher: Bantam
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (449 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County’s most notorious citizens, just three years earlier.

The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

You never know what secrets people are hiding until it all comes out in court…

I like Grisham’s novels. I know when I crack one of these babies, I’m going to get a rich story, full of interesting characters and a vibrant landscape. I wasn’t disappointed with this book. Sycamore Row takes place four years after A Time to Kill and is a good follow-up. I must admit, every time Jake, the lawyer and protagonist is mentioned, I pictured him as Matthew McConaughey. Not a bad visual and Grisham described him that way, too, so it all worked.

There were times in this book where the POV hopped. One sentence would be in one character’s head, then a whole few pages in another, then to a third character for another couple of lines. That could be confusing for some readers. I was able to follow along, but it wasn’t ideal.

This book also has racial undertones. If that’s not the kind of story you want, then it might not be the book for you. That said, this book takes place in Mississippi in the late 1980’s, in a time where race is important.

There are twists, turns and things I didn’t see coming in the story. I won’t give away much, but I couldn’t put the book down. I had to know what would happen next and how it would all work out.

I enjoyed this book and would love to spend more time in the world of Jake, Portia, Carla and the rest of the town of Clanton. If you like a mystery with a small town twist, then this might be the book for you.

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