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by John Grisham

Pub Date: May 31st, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-385-54932-5
Publisher: Doubleday

Three Grisham novellas show the less glorious side of the legal profession.

In the first, Homecoming, Jake Brigance is a lawyer in a small Mississippi town with too many lawyers. One day, his office receives an envelope containing a note and enough cash for a one-week vacation to Costa Rica for Jake and his wife. All he’s asked to do is convey a message and relay the response. The offer/request is from Mack Stafford, an attorney who’d skipped town three years earlier with $400,000 of his clients’ money, leaving behind his wife, two teenage daughters, and clients who still don’t even know they’ve been bilked. Now he feels bad and wants to come home and reestablish contact with family. Will they want anything to do with him? No startling twists, but Mack is surprisingly sympathetic given what he’s done. In Strawberry Moon, 29-year-old Cody Wallace sits on death row for a botched robbery-turned-murder committed when he was 14. His brother had pulled the trigger on the homeowners and was killed in the shootout. Over the years, Cody’s lawyer has tried every legal trick and delaying tactic he could, and now it’s execution day. The only hope left is clemency from the governor. Meanwhile, Cody’s sole visitor has been his lawyer, although a Midwestern woman has corresponded with him and sent him books—lots of books. With execution imminent, he has one last wish that’s against prison rules and could get a friendly guard fired. The last yarn, Sparring Partners, features a most dysfunctional family of lawyers. Bolton Malloy is the disbarred head of Malloy & Malloy and is serving prison time for killing his wife, a most disagreeable woman whom no one misses. Rusty and Kirk, his two lawyer sons, despise each other as well as dear old dad, but their old man has forced them to sign an agreement never to leave the firm without paying a serious penalty. Bolton hopes to get out of prison soon, but the kids hope otherwise. So while the first two stories are touching, the last is anything but. You just want everybody to slither back under a rock—or maybe under separate rocks.

Grisham’s fans will enjoy these tales of betrayal, hope, and dysfunction.