REVIEW: GRAY MOUNTAIN, BY JOHN GRISHAM

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It had been a tough year in Manhattan for Big Law, just as it was for the banking industry and others who suffered the effects of the economic downturn.

For Samantha Kofer, an associate at one of those big firms, her plight would be a year’s furlough, with an unpaid internship in a non-profit agency, and the hope of someday returning to a kind of normalcy.

She had grown up with two attorney parents with very different styles: her mother, Karen, worked for the Department of Justice, and her father, Marshall, was a big moneymaker and risk taker, and had paid the price a few years before by serving time for corruption.

When she settles on an internship at the Mountain Legal firm in Brady, Virginia, Samantha had no clue what she would be up against. She was soon struck by the reality of strip mining, environmental issues, and black lung cases, and she would also learn what it was like to be followed by crooks from the coal industry, interspersed with regular FBI searches when a big case against the coal companies turned dangerous.

Gray Mountain is the story of an Appalachian countryside torn up by the coal industry, with lawyers fighting against the pillage brutalized by ruthless bullies. Samantha’s clients also included poor families suffering from other kinds of economic burdens, and she would soon learn how good it felt to really connect with her clients.

Donovan Gray, whose childhood home had been violated by the mining, had turned his early pain and loss into the kind of legal practice that took on the heavy hitters gladly. What would happen to remind him of the fragility of those who take big risks? How would Samantha eventually decide her future when the time drew near?

A legal thriller that had me wondering what would happen next, and then pondering who, if anyone, would ultimately win. I gave this one 4.5 stars.

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10 thoughts on “REVIEW: GRAY MOUNTAIN, BY JOHN GRISHAM

    1. I really enjoyed some of his earlier ones, like The Pelican Brief and The Firm…and now this one, Thanks for stopping by, Kathryn…I usually read Scottoline’s legal thrillers these days, but this one was also a nice dip into the genre.

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    1. Definitely! I read a rather HUGE chunkster about the strip-mining disaster a couple of years ago, by Jonathan Franzen, called Freedom (572 pages, but it felt like more). But that one lost me along the way…there was a lot of excess baggage, IMO. I don’t like when the point gets buried beneath a lot of other stuff, lol, so Gray Mountain suited me. Thanks for stopping by, Pat.

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