Last year's historical family drama A Painted House and the Christmas satire Skipping Christmas demonstrated that Grisham is willing to take risks. But fans of his legal thrillers already knew that, with his last three, particularly The Testament , making Play-Doh of the rules of the genre. Sometimes Grisham's friskiness works, and sometimes it doesn't. There's much to admire in his newest thriller, particularly his colorful evocation of a Deep South legal setting, his first use of this milieu since his debut novel, A Time to Kill , and some finely drawn characters. Even so, this isn't one of his most satisfying books, for while the narrative engages, it never catches fire.
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I was looking for a page-turner, and, for its opening chapters, The Summons by John Grisham supplied that. Ray Atlee, a law professor at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, gets a letter addressed to him and his younger brother Forrest from their father. It reads:. Please make arrangements to appear in my study on Sunday, May 7, at 5 p. Sincerely, Rueben V. Forrest, a wastrel, lifelong addict, has had an even more tortuous connection with the Judge. Ray knows that his year-old father is dying of cancer so he is shaken but not completely surprised when he arrives at the family home for the appointment to find his father dead with a packet of morphine nearby.
Did the Judge do something wrong to get the money? Would his reputation be stained if the presence of the money were made public? From the movies, I expected a Grisham novel to be tight and tense, filled with threats and twists. But most of The Summons is taken up with seemingly endless drives that Ray makes to move the money — in three large garbage bags — from one place to another.
Sometimes he moves the money into cardboard boxes, and sometimes into airtight, fireproof metal boxes. The pace is plodding. His efforts to keep his eyes on the money and find sideways means to learn its origin come across as overly convoluted. And then he learns of that origin in a conversation with a guy who has little reason, it would seem, to talk to him at all.
It just happens. And then he faces a plot twist at the end that struck me at least as even more convoluted than everything that had gone before. Maybe the point of the book was to give Grisham a forum for blasting the herds of lawyers who latch onto groups of people who have suffered from asbestos, tobacco or the side effects of new drugs and use them to squeeze huge settlements out of major corporations.
The Summons told me over and over again in many ways that these attorneys are akin to vultures. Or maybe it was to give Grisham a forum for writing about flying.
My guess, based on the book, is that he likes to fly planes. But it all seemed a bit beside the point to me. After I started The Summons but before I was far into it, I wondered how it fit in with other Grisham novels so I looked online and found several rankings of the best to worst of his three dozen books. In those lists, The Summons always ended up right in the middle, not one of his best but not one of his worst.
I have no desire to have anything to do with any of the books that are worse than The Summons. I have liked every John Grisham book that Ive read so far. I just bought The Summons. Ill let you know after I read it. Ten hours I will never get back. Totally agree with the review. Each chapter had so little to offer. Could have been four paragraphs. Huge disappointment. Totally agree with your review read a few of his books and this was the least satisfying.
I agree with another reviewer on here that it was convoluted and pointless and just seeming to get it done under pressure from his publisher. Very disappointed indeed. Avid JG fan, having read most of his fiction work.
This was, by far, the most boring. Stay at home brother leaves for the open road, and the wandering brother stays at the old home. Kinda hackneyed if you ask me. Is there a sequel to this?? Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. December 15, Patrick T Reardon 0. Perfect Rake Posted May 12, pm.
Gene nance Posted June 13, pm. First waste of a weeks. The Summons. First John Grisham book I did not care far. Deborah Fairhurst Posted July 11, pm. David Rowley Posted August 13, pm. Alan Kirk Posted July 17, pm.
Justus Kagai Posted August 3, am. I must admit, the book is disappointing. I could not read past chapter 3. Joy Posted August 18, pm. Patrick T. Reardon Posted August 19, am. Juni Henderson Posted April 1, am. Patrick T Reardon Posted April 1, pm. Add Comment Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. All rights reserved.
Picking a title for a new legal thriller cannot be easy. All the good ones are taken. Have a look at what John Grisham's competitors have been reduced to: ''Mitigating Circumstances. Grisham, though, has always had perfect pitch in the title department. His are direct, authoritative, reliable: ''The Firm.
Take the Money
Look Inside. Feb 05, Minutes Buy. Once Judge Atlee was a powerful figure in Clanton, Mississippi—a pillar of the community who towered over local law and politics for forty years. Now the judge is a shadow of his former self, a sick, lonely old man who has withdrawn to his sprawling ancestral home. Knowing the end is near, Judge Atlee has issued a summons for his two sons to return to Clanton to discuss his estate. Ray Atlee is the eldest, a Virginia law professor, newly single and still enduring the aftershocks of a surprise divorce. The summons 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.
Book review: “The Summons” by John Grisham
Search: Title Author Article. Rate this book. Buy This Book. Ray heads south, to his hometown to meet with his dying father but 'The Judge' dies too soon leaving behind a shocking secret known only to Ray and perhaps someone else. 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.
I was looking for a page-turner, and, for its opening chapters, The Summons by John Grisham supplied that. Ray Atlee, a law professor at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, gets a letter addressed to him and his younger brother Forrest from their father. It reads:. Please make arrangements to appear in my study on Sunday, May 7, at 5 p. Sincerely, Rueben V.