Genre: Legal Thriller
“A Time to Kill” was John Grisham’s first book. But it was a less than a stellar introduction and did not become a hit until after “The Firm”, “The Pelican Brief”, “The Client”….etc. became huge.
A movie was made based on “A Time to Kill”, which starred Matthew McConaughey as small town lawyer Jake Brigance. Try as I might, I could not get McConaughey out of my head while I was reading “Sycamore Row”.
For me, he is typecast. 🙂
Even though “Sycamore Row” was written 25 years after “A Time to Kill” the events within occur only three years later, so the fame Jake found by acquitting Carl Lee Haley is still fresh but fading as his practice struggles…..his dreams mostly unfulfilled.
In Ford County, Clanton, Mississippi, Seth Hubbard was found hanging from a sycamore tree. Suicide.
In the mail, Jake receives a letter from Seth Hubbard containing a note and a holographic will (one that was handwritten by him and one that overrules any previous will, if found to be valid). Seth wants Jake to handle the estate and wants him to never give in to his children, who he says never loved him.
The holographic will gives 90% of his estate to his black housekeeper, Lettie Lang, 5% to his long lost brother (if he is still alive), Ancil, and 5% to the Irish Road Christian Church.
With the legal battles set-up, “Sycamore Row” is a terrific story of greed, prejudices, and life in the “old” South.
Does Jake defend the holographic will or is it overturned? What influence did Lettie have over Seth (who was dying of lung cancer) during his last months? How much was Seth worth?
To find out….you will have to buy it and read it. Not to worry it is a great read! And Matthew McCon….errr, Jake Brigance is brilliant (in an average guy sort of way).