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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • John Grisham is the acknowledged master of the legal thriller. In his first collection of novellas, law is a common thread, but America’s favorite storyteller has several surprises in store.
“Homecoming” takes us back to Ford County, the fictional setting of many of John Grisham’s unforgettable stories. Jake Brigance is back, but he’s not in the courtroom. He’s called upon to help an old friend, Mack Stafford, a former lawyer in Clanton, who three years earlier became a local legend when he stole money from his clients, divorced his wife, filed for bankruptcy, and left his family in the middle of the night, never to be heard from again—until now. Now Mack is back, and he’s leaning on his old pals, Jake and Harry Rex, to help him return. His homecoming does not go as planned.
In “Strawberry Moon,” we meet Cody Wallace, a young death row inmate only three hours away from execution. His lawyers can’t save him, the courts slam the door, and the governor says no to a last-minute request for clemency. As the clock winds down, Cody has one final request.
The “Sparring Partners” are the Malloy brothers, Kirk and Rusty, two successful young lawyers who inherited a once prosperous firm when its founder, their father, was sent to prison. Kirk and Rusty loathe each other, and speak to each other only when necessary. As the firm disintegrates, the resulting fiasco falls into the lap of Diantha Bradshaw, the only person the partners trust. Can she save the Malloys, or does she take a stand for the first time in her career and try to save herself?
By turns suspenseful, hilarious, powerful, and moving, these are three of the greatest stories John Grisham has ever told.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Best-selling author John Grisham explores fascinating questions of justice and the law in these three novellas. In “Homecoming”, Jake Brigance (of A Time to Kill fame) makes the dicey choice to help a former colleague who absconded with a fortune. “Strawberry Moon” follows young death-row inmate Cody Wallace in his weighty final hours. And the title story introduces Diantha Bradshaw, the loyal associate charged with saving a failing family law firm from the feuding brothers tearing it apart. In each novella, the stakes aren’t just legal but intensely personal as well, with bonds of blood and friendship on the line. Whether he’s portraying the desperation behind Cody’s simple but heartrending final wish or forcing Diantha to examine the true cost of corruption, Grisham is a master of making legal and criminal issues feel intensely personal. Sparring Partners gives us a triple helping of Grisham at his best.
Thinly developed characters and underwhelming plots mar the three entries in bestseller Grisham's first novella collection. "Homecoming," the opener, underutilizes Ford County, Miss., attorney Jake Brigance, the lead of Grisham's debut, A Time to Kill. A couple hand deliver a letter to Jake from Mack Stafford, someone they met on vacation in Costa Rica; he's an old colleague of Jake's who fled the county three years earlier after filing for bankruptcy and divorcing his wife. Mack asks Jake for help learning the level of risk he would face if he returned home to reconnect with family he abandoned, including his mother and daughters. The story line ends with a whimper, presenting no genuine ethical dilemmas. Readers will struggle to feel any sense of gross injustice in "Strawberry Moon," about the last hours of a young man facing execution for a crime he aided in as a teen. Equally unmemorable is the title tale, which focuses on machinations at a law firm. Mundane prose doesn't help ("It was one of those raw, windy, dreary Monday afternoons in February when gloom settled over the land"). Grisham has done a lot better. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Co.