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The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she is downsized, furloughed, and escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, all for a slim chance of getting rehired.
In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Samantha’s new job takes her into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack. But some of the locals aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town, and within weeks Samantha is engulfed in litigation that turns deadly. Because like most small towns, Brady harbors big secrets that some will kill to conceal.
Praise for Gray Mountain
“[An] important new novel . . . superior entertainment.”—The Washington Post
“Powerful . . . a satisfying, old-fashioned, good guy/bad guy legal thriller.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Yes, Gray Mountain is fiction. But after reading the book, you’ll believe heroic action must be taken.”—USA Today
“Grisham has written one of his best legal dramas.”—Associated Press
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
When the global financial crisis derails Samantha Kofer’s professional aims, she leaves Wall Street to join a scrappy legal aid clinic in the heart of Appalachia. Drawn reluctantly into her new community’s environmental battle against the coal industry, Sam develops into one of Grisham’s most nuanced female protagonists. The author's passion for the gorgeous landscapes of his setting resonates from every chapter of Gray Mountain, a brisk legal thriller that triumphs by portraying the high human costs of mining and greed in sharp detail.
Expect the expected in this tepid legal thriller from bestseller Grisham (Sycamore Row) that may be the debut of a series character. When Wall Street law associate Samantha Kofer loses her job in the 2008 financial meltdown, her mega-firm offers her the prospect of a return to long hours and dull work after a year's furlough as an unpaid intern for a nonprofit organization. Despite the volunteer nature of such work, Samantha discovers competition for the slots available fierce, and seizes the chance, after numerous rejections, to work at the Mountain Legal Aid Clinic in Brady, Va., population 2,200. In the Appalachian coal town, Samantha finds herself a fish out of water in more senses than one. She needs to adjust to living in a community with fewer residents than her old office building, as well as dealing with real people's problems rather than document review. Grisham movingly portrays the evils of Big Coal and the lives it has ruined, and most readers will rapidly turn the pages, but the subtlety and full-blooded characters that mark the author's best work are sadly absent.
The story starts slow and picks up half way through the book, but suddenly ends with many unresolved cases. Wish it would have been longer.
Why ratings showing up now?
Negative reviews (since no one’s read the book yet) might be a response to his comments in the Guardian to the effect of white men over 60 looking at kiddie porn shouldn’t be in jail. High ick factor.
Not up to Grisham standards. Wouldn't recommend it. There was no real closure to the story. It felt like Grisham wrote a predetermined number of pages and ended the book when he hit that number.