June 19, 2016

Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Title:  Gray Mountain
Author:  John Grisham
Pages:  461
Genre:  Legal Thriller
Publisher:  Dell, 2015
Series:  Stand Alone

Synopsis:  The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she is downsized, furloughed, and escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, all for a slim chance of getting rehired.

In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Samantha’s new job takes her into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack. But some of the locals aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town, and within weeks Samantha is engulfed in litigation that turns deadly. Because like most small towns, Brady harbors big secrets that some will kill to conceal.

Review:  At the beginning of this book, I wondered what possibly could be going on in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia that would cause John Grisham to write a legal thriller set there.  I grew up in Virginia.  I had no idea the kind of horror that was going on about 320 miles from my childhood home.

Once again, John Grisham has shown a group of people completely forgotten by most of society.  The coal miners in Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee live in fear of poverty and drink water poisoned by the coal mining companies.

Samantha has gone there just to keep busy until things turn around in the 'real world' of New York City.  She is dismayed and offended by the tragedies going on in these small towns and she's decided to do something about it.  The big mining corporations aren't too keen on anyone looking too closely at their business and it makes for a very exciting tale.  I couldn't put it down even though the stories of the people living in this area were sometimes awful to read.

I hope this book brings some kind of real investigation and legal changes to the region.  It's been ignored for far too long.

Rating:  9.5 / 10

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