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Ray Atlee is a professor of law at the University of Virginia. He's forty-three, newly single, and still enduring the aftershocks of a surprise divorce. He has a younger brother, Forrest, who redefines the notion of a family's black sheep.
And he has a father, a very sick old man who lives alone in the ancestral home in Clanton, Mississippi. He is known to all as Judge Atlee, a beloved and powerful official who has towered over local law and politics for forty years. No longer on the bench, the Judge has withdrawn to the Atlee mansion and become a recluse.
With the end in sight, Judge Atlee issues a summons for both sons to return home to Clanton, to discuss the details of his estate. It is typed by the Judge himself, on his handsome old stationery, and gives the date and time for Ray and Forrest to appear in his study.
Ray reluctantly heads south, to his hometown, to the place where he grew up, which he prefers now to avoid. But the family meeting does not take place. The Judge dies too soon, and in doing so leaves behind a shocking secret known only to Ray.
And perhaps someone else.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from John Grisham's The Litigators.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
The is the first Grisham book I read and still the best... I've read nearly all of his other books now... His story telling here motivated me to the point where I now do leisure reading, something I never enjoyed before. Do yourself a favor and check out this title. I don't think you'll be disappointed... This is an extremely vivid tale; Grisham at his best.
For the type of ending this story had, it should have ended maybe 4 chapters ahead.. Seemed very drawn out, and lacked drama. Didn't do for me what the confession or the testament did. Not a bad read at all, but it could have been better.....
Go to the library
John Grisham has written some of my all-time favorite books--The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Runaway Jury, The Rainmaker (also all really good movies that run pretty true to the novel). This book would fall into Grisham's "wandering" category--he introduces some wonderful characters but all they do is wander around for awhile. One of the worst endings ever. I open a Grisham novel expecting clever characters who can think on their feet and clever twists in the plot. The first half of the book was interesting and well-written as always but then it just kind of fizzled out. I will be previewing the rest of his books from the library as I know I will never read this one again and feel a bit like I wasted my money.