Wednesday, October 27, 2010

THE SUMMONS by John Grisham

Ray Atlee, a law professor at the University of Virginia, has just received a summons from this father, a retired judge in Clanton, Mississippi, to discuss the estate. Judge Atlee is dying of cancer and is somewhat estranged from his two sons. Forrest, Ray's brother, is a seemingly incurable drug addict who has spent a lot of his father's money in unsuccessful rehab stints. When Ray arrives at the family home, he finds his father already dead, with an empty morphine pack nearby. Much to his surprise, he also finds boxes of cash totaling about $3 million, which is not mentioned in the will. Judge Atlee gave most of his money away and was not handsomely compensated during his years on the bench. Ray then goes on a quest to hide and protect the cash, even as he tries to find out where it came from and dreams of being able to afford the airplane he lusts after. Someone else knows about the money, though, and is trying to intimidate Ray into giving it up. Ray is a frustrating and flawed character, and I just wanted him to trust someone enough to tell them about the money and not let greed start to dictate his decisions. In a nutshell, that's what the book is ultimately about—trust and greed. Despite the smattering of clues, the ending came as a surprise to me. Stay tuned for The Legal Limit--a better legal thriller, also about a bad brother and a better brother.

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