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Sycamore Row (Book)

SycamoreRowAuthor: John Grisham
Genre: crime, thriller, law, court
Year Published: 2013
Rating: Decent read

http://www.amazon.com/Sycamore-Row-John-Grisham/dp/0385537131

Review: With the same lawyer and team characters from A Time To Kill, after 24 years, here comes Brigance had to defend again in another high profile race related case. But this time it has more twists than arguments in court.

The story lies when a white billionaire hung himself who also did a new will and signed only by himself and no witnesses (holographic will) and was said to give 90% of his assets to his final caretaker Letti Lang, who turned out to be black. In addition, to give 5% to his long lost brother. Ancil, and the last 5% to the church.

Obviously the son Hershel and daughter Ramona and their families all hauled to fight the case, saying their ill stricken father was out of his mind in his last days, including selling assets that would have resulted in less of a profit, to the hefty taxes from the new will, to implicating the possible intimate relationship with the caretaker who could have influenced to have a new will.

Ultimately as you know it, it was a “happy” ending. Well, sort of.  The reasoning was almost ridiculous and the twist was a bit stretched. Nevertheless, it was a fun read (since it’s less about arguing in court and more about new evidence that keeps turning up.)

Keywords: Decentread, detective, international crime, politics

— Spoiler ahead —

The writing is as usual gripping by Grisham. It’s fluid and interesting. Heck, there’s another intern but thank goodness no unnecessary flirtation with her. But urgh, really? it had to be with another woman who turns out to be one of the jurors?! That’s kinda a cheap shot.

The long lost brother (the one who would get the 5% estate) who came out as the last twist who did a video of all evidence is quite far fetched and no doubt it could yield to a retrial in real life for insufficient, or lack of, trial. The video depicts how he and his brother, Seth, back then witnessed how the caretaker’s ancestors owned 80 acres of land (same as their ancestors) and how their ancestors in turn killed and chased out the Rinds family, and the corruption cooperation with the sheriff and the deputy. And how Seth seeks out to try repaying those who still live, including the caretaker, so that eventually she can be taken care with her family.

Sycamore Row is where they witness all the tortures, and where Seth ultimately hung himself off of. Thus the book title. That was a sad title.

But the even more ridiculous plot and final twist was the judge knew the defendant lawyer would go to Supreme Court and oppose the verdict with the video being inadmissible, thus he decided to do a under-the-table deal with both sides so the son and daughter would have gotten 1 mil each. SERIOUSLY? And the caretaker’s daughter, so “by chance” worked for Brigance, had dictated a nice house in a quiet house with enough money to live without working was sufficient rather than taking the 200+ M. That sounds so un-believable. The fact that she also decided to put the rest of the money into some education foundation for the rest of the Grinds, while seeming plausible, is just very hard to believe.

The story could have ended with Seth’s brother not totally ill and can make a comeback in court and sets the record straight. Maybe that means it would be 30 pages less, but it would have been way better than 12 pages of his deposition in Italics in the book! But if you have no time to read the whole book, you might as well just read the “video” section to get the whole story.

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