I finished reading Gray Mountain by John Grisham. Somewhat unbelievably, this is the 28th book by John Grisham that I have read in the last twenty-two years.
The most striking aspect of this book is the portrayal of the coal companies. Gray Mountain explores mountain top removal mining practices, black lung disease, and coal slurry. The coal companies behind these issues are painted as pure evil.
The poverty of the Appalachian region also plays a major role in the book. I have not had a chance to travel through this part of the United States. It is difficult for me to envision the abject poverty described.
The story follows Samantha Kofer, a third-year associate in a major New York Law firm. After the Bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, she becomes a legal clinic intern in Virginia's coal mining country. As I have said before, I don't remember Grisham ever portraying working at a big legal firm in an attractive light.
Gray Mountain is not as good as Sycamore Row. Sycamore felt different than the pile of legal thrillers that Grisham has turned out; maybe it was the connection with a A Time to Kill. Except for the betrayal of the coal companies, the plot Grey Mountain will eventually blur together with the pile of Grisham's legal thrillers. Nevertheless, it was a nice light change of pace from the Bully Pulpit. I gave the book a "C+."