So much better than The King of Torts. This is written by a young regional newspaper editor, an outsider in a small country
community – so much of the subject matter is social observation, alongside the
usual riveting legal case. We touch on segregation and de-segregation, mob
families, huge families, the role of an editor in a small town, insanity, the
Vietnam War, the popularisation of drugs, and the difficulties of being
accepted into a closed community, in 500 short pages (I whipped through it and
would have completed it easily in one sitting had I not been 5 days from
getting married and thus spewing organisational information from the eyeballs).
Because Grisham doesn’t rely on the thrill
of the money and the litigation, the pace is a little slower but much more
pleasant. He also takes the time to develop some great characters (the
Italian-speaking, 7 PhDs-raising chef extraordinaire Miss Callie has to be one
of his best creations) and entertaining atmosphere – the brand new editor
having war declared on him in a courtroom and delivered via a bomb, for example
– which puts this several shelves ahead of King of Torts.
I did enjoy sitting by my own private piece
of the River Cherwell in Oxford and reading this. A pleasant calm in the storm.