30 Apr 2021

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Book Review / Gray Mountain by John Grisham

John Grisham has a new hero . . . and she’s full of surprises

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 gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.

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. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.

Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.


Published:     21st October 2014
Publisher:  Doubleday
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher




I have really enjoyed my re-reading of all of John Grisham's novels.  All of them have been great reads but there are always a few that seem to stand higher than that.  This is one of those for me.

One of the aspects that I loved about this is that this time we are following a main female character rather than a male character, which have been a theme for this author's previous novels.  We follow Samantha as she is kind of made redundant from her high powered job in the city.  Kind of, meaning that they want to still keep her on the hook, unpaid, doing free work while they sort the business out with the hope that they can re-hire her back again.  Samantha takes a non profit job at a legal aid clinic in Virginia.  

For me, what happens after Samantha arrives in Virginia is my favourite section of this novel.  As not only do we follow her adapting to her new circumstances, living in a new place but she also comes across the world of coal mining and learns just how dangerous it could be.  

Loved this and would highly recommend!