Sycamore Row

Sycamore Row

by John Grisham

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Overview

Sycamore Row by John Grisham

John Grisham takes you back to where it all began . . .

John Grisham's A Time to Kill is one of the most popular novels of our time. Now we return to that famous courthouse in Clanton as Jake Brigance once again finds himself embroiled in a fiercely controversial trial-a trial that will expose old racial tensions and force Ford County to confront its tortured history.

Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier.

The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

In Sycamore Row, John Grisham returns to the setting and the compelling characters that first established him as America's favorite storyteller. Here, in his most assured and thrilling novel yet, is a powerful testament to the fact that Grisham remains the master of the legal thriller, nearly twenty-five years after the publication of A Time to Kill.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385537131
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/22/2013
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 246,110
Product dimensions: 6.56(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.48(d)

About the Author

JOHN GRISHAM is the author of twenty-six novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and four novels for young readers.

www.doubleday.com

www.jgrisham.com

www.facebook.com/JohnGrisham

Hometown:

Oxford, Mississippi, and Albemarle County, Virginia

Date of Birth:

February 8, 1955

Place of Birth:

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Education:

B.S., Mississippi State, 1977; J.D., University of Mississippi, 1981

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Excerpted from "Sycamore Row"
by .
Copyright © 2014 John Grisham.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group.
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Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Interviews

AUTHOR'S NOTE SYCAMORE ROW

When A Time To Kill was published in 1989 it sold a few copies around Memphis, Jackson, and a couple of other hot spots in Mississippi, but it was unnoticed by the rest of the world. As an eager rookie, I was dreaming of royalties, foreign rights, a movie deal, and perhaps a larger publishing contract. None of these materialized, not in 1989 anyway. The book was ignored; my tiny publisher printed 5000 copies and we couldn't give them away. The Memphis newspaper trashed it and the Jackson paper refused to review it.

But it proved resilient. My second, third, and fourth books followed quickly, along with their movie adaptations, and somewhere in that frenzy A Time To Kill was discovered. One day in the summer of 1994 I caught myself gawking at the New York Times bestseller list ? all four books were at the top, with A Time To Kill number one in mass market. By then, it had sold five million copies.

And the book has remained popular. Its own movie version was released in 1996, did well at the box office, and in all likelihood it's somewhere on cable tonight. Today, after thirty books, A Time To Kill is still the bestselling book I've written. And it's by far the favorite, at least according to those who get close enough to offer an opinion. Countless times I've heard, "Hey, I like your books, but the first one is the best."

More often than not, this is followed up with a quick, "How about a sequel? Another story about Jake and Lucien and Harry Rex?" To which I usually respond, "I'm waiting on a story."

And so I've waited. For over twenty years I've thought about Jake Brigance and the characters in his world, and the aftermath of the Hailey trial. I've wondered how Jake was doing in Clanton, a deeply divided town, with the Klan hot on his tail, his home destroyed by a firebomb, his friends carrying guns to protect him. How were Jake and Carla coping as they picked up the pieces and started over? Did the Hailey trial make him a star, a lawyer in demand? Or was he still struggling to pay the rent?

I've gone back briefly to Ford County in other books, but never one involving Jake. Harry Rex Vonner, one of my favorites, has made a few cameos here and there, but nothing of substance. Lucien Wilbanks has appeared occasionally, but only in passing.

When I finished my second book, The Firm, my plan was to return to Clanton for another story. Then, I would write another legal thriller. Back and forth, back and forth, I would carve out my turf on the literary landscape with two kinds of books ? the legal thrillers, and the Ford County novels. Surely, somewhere in there I could find my niche and sell some books. The sudden success of The Firm, though, changed things dramatically, and I felt the urgency to pursue the legal thrillers. And, after twenty of them, I still enjoying piecing together the plots and pursuing the issues.

But Jake has never been far from my creative thoughts. Two years ago, a novel began to take shape. Unlike A Time To Kill, a story inspired by real events, this one has no basis in truth. Now that Sycamore Row is finished, I'm not sure where the idea came from, at least not in fact. I suppose the inspiration comes from the characters because, in writing it, I often felt as though I was having dinner with old friends. It was a delight to catch up with them, to hear their voices again, and to remember how they were thirty years ago. I hope they haven't changed much.

My wife, Renee, wasn't too keen on a sequel and her reason was simple: When I began writing A Time To Kill in 1984, I was the hungry young lawyer looking for the big case. I was struggling at the office and wondering where the clients were. We were living the life of Jake and Carla in a small town in Mississippi, just getting by and trying to survive. Happy, ambitious, but not sure the law was our ticket to success. That was a long time ago, and Renee worried it would be difficult to recapture the authenticity of that writer's voice. So much has changed. She was also worried about the possibility of a cool reception to a sequel. "They rarely work, you know?" she said more than once. "Fine," I said, "We just won't call it a sequel."

And so we're not. Renee read the first chapters of Sycamore Row and was soon on board. The story came together nicely and writing it became a pleasure. As always, it took about six months, not a long time in the writing business, but long enough. The last six weeks are usually tedious and tiring, as the deadline looms and I grow a little tired of my characters. Not so with Sycamore Row. Almost daily, I was tempted to, as we say, "chase a rabbit," or, in other words, pursue some long-winded and colorful tale involving Harry Rex or Lucien or another character. I could have written a thousand pages, but at some point the story had to end.

So I saved some material for the next time out.

John Grisham

Charlottesville, VA

October 15, 2013

Customer Reviews

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Sycamore Row 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1392 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading Sycamore Row and could not put it down!  Wonderfully written, you feel as though you are right there with Jake Brigance throughout the book.  It has a lot of twists and turns and tells it like it was and is in the deep South.  I can't wait until his next book comes out! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was taking a plane trip from San Diego airport to Seattle. Didn't have a book to read so purchased the first novel of John Grisham....started it as soon as we were in the air.....reached my destination and didn't want to put the book down....have been a fan of Grisham since....He is just the best. My entire family of myself,my husband and 5 children all feel the same way. Hard to put his books down.. Thank you John Grisham for all your wonderful stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read every book Grisham has written. He is of course a very accomplished author. This is a tremendous story, and it was very well crafted. In many ways, it might have been the very best, as it did literally bring a tear yo my eye. Read this book. 
PattonJ More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. If you enjoy a great mystery then this is the book for you. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the formula Grisham used in his best novels. It's a page turner that grabs you on the first page and doesn't let go until the last sentence on the last page. So many twists and turns, plots and sub-plots, surprises and disappointments. I enjoyed it do much, I hated to see it end.
ATLNoel More than 1 year ago
Grisham has done it again!  I've read all of his legal thrillers, and this is one of his best. I REALLY hope they consider making this a film, too.   I could not read the book fast enough.  Keep them coming!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is classic Grisham. Some of his books are a bit humorous. Some are very serious. All are great stories told by a true story-teller. This one, well, I'm not far enough into it to tell you whether it's humorous or serious but enough to say it's in his tradition of great stories!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can already visualize this book made into a movie. The characters from "A Time To Kill" again sharing an interesting tale. My only regret is that this book was published too late to have been my companion as I sat on the beach in Destin. Good page turners seem all to rare and I've come to rely on the consistency of this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such great plots, twists, and turns. You had no idea which way to lean from one page to the next. So many incredible surprises that put knots in my stomach. Grisham is a masterful storyteller and writer. Hated to see the story come to an end. MJM
XXXOOOBookwormOOOXXX More than 1 year ago
This was hands-down the best book I've read in many years. Grisham knows how to spin a yarn, but this one took the cake! From the opening pages, it captures the imagination: What was going on with Seth Hubbard? Totally dysfunctional family or just a sick, bitter old man on a mission? I could not lay this book down and was deliciously surprised at so many twists and turns. Every passage, every character reagent to the incredible outcome, so pay attention! Thought I had this one figured out, only to have Mr. Gresham throw me a delightful curve during the last few pages. I just don't think I will EVER forget this book. I loved reading about Jake and Harry Rex and how they continued on after the murder trial. I would love to read a follow up to Sycamore Row too. Maybe a book where Jake has finally "arrived" much like the career path that Grisham's life took. Good work Mr Grisham!! As always this book was quite entertaining. "Sycamore Row" brings the some of the main characters from "A Time to Kill" back to life in a story that kept me turning pages. As always with Grisham, I felt like I knew the characters personally. Here's hoping for more Jake Brigance novels and a Hollywood adaptation of "Sycamore Row".  Absolutely loved the book.    
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Grisham's books. Until now, "A Time to Kill" was my favorite even though I haven't found one I didn't like. I just finished this book and it is his best. After reading all of them, you know there is going to be a twist at the end; but the finishing few pages of 'Sycamore Row" are without equal. Kudos Mr. Grisham!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not his best, but a good read. Somewhat predictable and occasionally drawn out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little drawn out. A time to kill was much better,and more plausible. I enjoy John Grisholm books,this was a little disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome! Another hit!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very great book one of the best grishom books to me
FP-Ballard More than 1 year ago
Good verses bad. Right versus wrong. Justice versus injustice. All these apply to Sycamore Row. I enjoyed the book. I knew I would. The setting in the story stick with you. The characters John was writing about grip you. You feel the emotion in small story after small story within this novel. There's a terrific build up to a twist and turn ending. If you enjoy Grisham's novels, then this is a must read for you.
coreyblissford More than 1 year ago
A fantastic book. One of Grisham's best.
Tough_critique More than 1 year ago
I have read more than half. I am not sure if I should waste time reading more. How many days does it take for John Grisham to write his novels, I wonder. It is simple, everything is as expected and to satisfy the reader. After reading a couple of award winner books back to back, I found this novel extremely simple. Disappointing. (It could be useful for people who are in litigation for inheritance..)
readzalot2 More than 1 year ago
After reading about Sycamore Row, I purchased A Time To Kill on my Nook to re-read. I fell in love with the characters all over again, and was reminded how I once loved John Grisham's writing. I then purchased Sycamore Row, also on my Nook, and was so excited about starting the story. I was sorely disappointed. The characters fell short...I found I didn't really care about them. I struggled to even finish the novel, finding myself nodding off when reading...it just did not hold my interest.
Mysticbooks More than 1 year ago
I give Sycamore Row 5 stars.
Kaayres More than 1 year ago
I must say I was very excited to get this book because A Time To Kill is not only my favorite Grisham but one of my favorite books ever. However, with 85 pages to go in the book I kept waiting for it to get better. The sub-plot with the house was boring and tedious, there were so many ancillary characters that I just couldn't care about them. I would say it is worth a read, in paperback, don't spend the money on hardcover or Nook. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
started off great but fast became every slow and borring, Very predictable and dissapoiting.
JHinNH More than 1 year ago
Great read, but it falls apart a bit at the end. There are some gaping holes in the conclusions -- too many unexplained coincidences where Grisham is usually so tight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We all still love Jake Brigance. The character is the only saving grace for this book. Very predictable, nothing shocking. Court room scenes were also ok. All in all a decent read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay,I read, John Grisham's, Theodore Boone series and i loved it. So I know when I read this book I will love it too. His books just seem to captivate you from the first word. I used to never be interested in books like that, that is until I picked up a book by John Grisham. He is like the only author who seems to really understand what he is writing about. I have loved his work from the very beginning. When people tell me they have never read any of his books, I literally freak out. I am his #1 fan!