Gray Mountain by John Grisham, published by Hodder on 2nd July 2015
One week ago, Samantha Kofer was a third-year associate at New York City's largest law firm. Now she is an unpaid intern in a legal aid clinic deep in small-town Appalachia. When Lehman Brothers collapsed, she lost her job, her security, her future. As she confronts real clients with real problems, she finds herself a world away from her past life of corporate fat cats and fatter bonuses. This is coal country. Meth country. The law is different here. And standing up for the truth means putting your life on the line.
I’m a huge John Grisham fan and I always look forward to his new releases. Luckily, he writes quickly so there’s always a new book on the horizon!
‘Gray Mountain’ was not my favourite of his novels and I think it was lacking a little in drama but overall it was still a very good book and an enjoyable read. It focuses on the issue of coal mining and the devastation that strip mining causes to families and communities. It also looks at the destruction to the land that this causes. It is a depressing and quite bleak topic because what came across is that there is often little hope in trying to fight these huge companies. At the same time, I think it is an important issue to explore and one which I enjoyed finding out more about.
The main character is New York City lawyer Samantha Kofer, who at the start of the book loses her job and ends up taking an unpaid position at a legal aid firm in the middle of small town Appalachia. The cases she starts to take on teach her about the struggles of real people and show her what being a lawyer is all about – helping those in desperate need of someone to stand up for them and fight their corner or their cause. Along the way, she meets Donovan Gray who is fighting the coal companies in court.
About half-way through the book, there was a massive plot twist which I never saw coming. It did surprise me because in some ways it totally changed the direction of the story and was quite a bold choice to make. I’m still not sure I agree with the route that Grisham took but I can see the benefits of this.
My main issue with ‘Gray Mountain’ was the pace of the story which seemed to meander along at times. It felt to me like it needed more drive. I did like however, the way the reader sees things through Samantha’s eyes as she matures into a damn good lawyer and becomes part of a new community which is always ready to rally round those in need.