Showing posts with label John Grisham. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Grisham. Show all posts

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Sparring Partners by John Grisham


Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse

Sometimes, especially if I've just finished a rather long book, I am in the mood for a shorter story.  In his latest book, John Grisham, delivers three interesting short stories that can each be read in one or two afternoons.  I downloaded the book when I saw a photo of the Gateway Arch on the front cover.  Since I am from the St. Louis area, I always find it interesting to read stories about my hometown.  It is fun to read about places I recognize and to see the St. Louis sports teams mentioned. I am also a fan of John Grisham's thrillers, so I know I will always find an interesting read when I pick up one of his books.

I really enjoyed all three of the novellas in the book.  Below is a brief synopsis of each of the stories.


This story brings back a familiar Grisham character in Jake Brigance and returns to Ford County the scene of other Grisham books.  In this story however, Brigance is no longer in the courtroom but is contacted by a former lawyer in town in a mysterious way.  The lawyer, Mark Stafford left town three years earlier in the middle of the night without letting anyone know.  It was discovered he had stolen money from his clients and then disappeared.  Why is he back and what does he want with Jake Brigance?  You will want to read this story to find the answers.

Strawberry Moon

In the second story in the book, we meet Cody Wallace, a death row inmate with only three hours to live.  When all appeals have ended and the last chance for clemency from the governor has gone by, Cody has one final request.  It is a very unusual request that you will have to read the story to discover.

Sparring Partners

Sparring Partners is the third story in the book and the one that takes place in St. Louis.  I enjoyed the St. Louis references and the story was intriguing.  In this book we meet two brothers who are partners in a major law firm that they inherited from their father.  The firm had been very successful under the father's watch, but he is now in prison charged with the murder of his wife, the boys' mother.  The firm is now in a financial turmoil and the brothers do not know how to work together.

In fact, the brothers will not even talk to each other except through the only person they both trust, another attorney in the firm named Diantha Bradshaw.  

From here the story takes several twists and turns and keeps you engrossed until the very end.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Review of The Color of Law by Mark Gimenez

Why Do Corporate Lawyers Have Such a Bad Reputation?

The Color of Law gives readers a fictional peek inside the world of large law corporations and will show you why corporate lawyers have such a bad reputation.

Book Review of The Color of Law by Mark Gimenez: A Novel of Justice Versus Power

We meet protagonist Scott Feeney as he speaks to a group of lawyers he hopes will elect him President of the State Bar in Texas. He asks his fellow lawyers: 'Are we really doing good, or are we just doing really well? Are we noble guardians of the rule of law fighting for justice in America or are we just greedy parasites using the law to suck every last dollar from society like leeches on a dying man? Are we making the world a better place or are we just making ourselves filthy rich?' These words and the ones that followed in the same tone, declaring that yes, they were fighting for justice and that he was proud to be a lawyer, got him a standing ovation. He said he wanted to make his mother, who had told him to become another Atticus Finch, proud.

When the lawyer Feeney wants to replace as president of the bar calls his bluff with a whisper in his ear about his impressive line of BS, Scott replies, 'Henry, you don't get laid or elected by telling the truth.' Unbeknownst to Scott, there was one lawyer, sitting in the back of the dining room by himself, who was not applauding, United States District Court Judge Samuel Buford. He was, however, smiling to himself.

Scott Feeny has it all. He had been a partner at the prominent Ford Stevens law firm in Dallas for four years and was making $750,000 a year. He has a beautiful wife, a nine-year-old daughter, “Boo,” whom he dearly loves, and a mini-mansion in a very exclusive community known as Highland Park. He belongs to an exclusive country club. He has everything money can buy, and he really doesn't want to let his family know what he has to do to earn it. The reader, however, sees it all, and recognizes that what Scott does may be “legal,” but definitely not moral.

Why Scott's World Is Turned Upside Down

Two things happen to change Scott's world. A black prostitute is accused of murdering a Texas senator's playboy son, Clark McCall. Senator Mack McCall is planning to run for President. After throwing the words of Scott's speech back at him, Judge Buford calls on Scott to defend the prostitute, Shawanda Jones, for free, as a court-appointed lawyer. The judge says Scott would make his mother proud by taking the case. Scott cannot find a way to wiggle out of it. The judge rubs it in that it was Scott's speech that makes him decide to appoint Scott instead of a regular criminal defense attorney. 

Defending Shawanda, however, threatens everything Scott has worked for in life. At first, he plans to have Shawanda plea bargain, as his boss wants him to, to keep the case from going to trial. Shawanda, however, insists she is innocent, and Scott begins to believe her. As he attempts to put all he has into Shawanda's defense, the other partners at Ford Stevens fire him because they don't want their firm's name dragged through the mud. Scott's best clients drop him due to pressure from McCall. In fact, it seems McCall indirectly controls almost all Scott has and is taking it from him.

In contrast to the dirty politics and social pressure in what had been Scott's corporate law career, we see Scott's healthy relationship with his daughter, “Boo.” He reads the Constitution to her at night like a bedtime story, and they discuss it and how it applies to life and law. She not only supports her dad's decision to defend Shawanda but also encourages her dad to let Shawanda's daughter live with them to keep her safe while her mother is in jail. Shawanda lives in the projects that Scott is scared to even drive to. Meanwhile, Scott's wife, Rebecca, finally leaves him to run off with the assistant golf pro at the country club where Scott (and she as his wife) have had their membership taken away due to McCall pulling some strings. Her relationship with Scott was not strong enough to survive losing their wealth and social status.

Meanwhile, an old friend of Scott's from his youth, Bobby Herrin, reenters his life. Scott has always been Bobby's hero, but Bobby wasn't good enough at football to get a scholarship at SMU as Scott did. He had to get a student loan. Although he followed Scott to law school, his grades weren't as good as Scott's. Scott and Bobby had once planned to practice law together, but Scott could not resist the call of the opportunity Ford Stevens offered him. The large law firms didn't want someone like Bobby, so he became a street lawyer. As Scott starts losing everything, Bobby begins to play an important part in Scott's life again. Now it is Bobby who can teach Scott a few things.

Power Versus Justice

Book Review of The Color of Law by Mark Gimenez: A Novel of Justice Versus Power
Image  Courtesy of Pixabay, text added on Fotojet

When I began to read this book, I almost stopped because it mostly focused on Scott's perfect life and dirty corporate law. I always, however, give a book at least fifty pages, and by the time I had read those fifty pages I was hooked. The book has a lot to say about power versus justice. Scott finally learns for himself what it means to do good, as opposed to just really well. I was very satisfied with the ending of the book, but I won't spoil it for you. Once past those first few pages, there is plenty of suspense and human interest to keep you reading until the end.  I'm  looking forward to the next novel in this series, Accused, where Scott will have to defend the wife who left him. She is accused of killing the golf pro she ran off with. 

Gimenez writes on some of the same themes as John Grisham and handles them with the same skill. Some critics believe he is overtaking Grisham. Whether that is true is something you will need to decide for yourself. I will have to read a few more by Gimenez to decide, but I'd say he is definitely giving Grisham some competition.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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