Summer is always the best time to dive into a John Grisham southern set novel. I admit I drank a sweet tea as I turned the pages. In the follow up to Grisham’s A Time to Kill, his fans are taken back to Clanton to join Jake Brigance on his latest legal representation. This time Brigance is representing the validity of a will. For fans of courtroom dramas, which was the center of A Time to Kill, Sycamore Row focuses on the investigations and preparations outside of the courtroom. This book is heavy in a long list of characters, which can be a bit much at times, but because returning readers will remember many of them it isn’t too big of a deal. Money is a common focus with both the will at hand and for the livelihood of the Brigance family’s current living arrangement.
In Sycamore Row we meet Lettie Lang, whose character’s life factors into the will without a solid reason why until the very end. Grisham’s work on Sycamore Row is somewhat flat in the middle, but his writing sparks within the last few pages. However, Grisham may have pushed himself too hard to write a sequel because of this lengthy lag. For fan wanting another heavy handed book of powerful speeches and threats of safety you will be disappointed. For fans wanting to know the ins and outs of will laws this puts an understandable real life spin on it. If you are a fan of Lucien Wilbanks from A Time to Kill, you will be pleased that his character plays an important role within this story.
Overall Sycamore Row runs close to 450 pages, but could have been a more powerful and tightly written had it focused on only two-hundred some pages.
3 out of 5 stars