Ford County

Ford County

by John Grisham

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Overview

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER


Number 1 New York Times bestselling author John Grisham takes us back to Ford County, Mississippi, the setting of his first novel, A Time to Kill. This riveting collection of short stories features an unforgettable cast of characters: Wheelchair-bound Inez Graney and her two older sons embark on a bizarre road trip through the Mississippi Delta to visit Inez’s youngest son, Raymond—on death row. A hard-drinking, low-grossing divorce lawyer fed up with his wife, his life, and the law plans a drastic escape after an unexpected phone call. A quiet, unassuming data collector sets out to bring down a flashy casino owner with his skill at blackjack—as payback for the theft of his wife. A stalker hunts victims in a retirement home, a lawyer confronts a vengeful adversary from the past, and a young man from a prominent family is driven off by scandal and fear—but finds unexpected redemption on the wrong side of the tracks. Often hilarious, frequently moving, and always entertaining, this collection makes it abundantly clear why John Grisham is our most popular storyteller.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440246213
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/17/2010
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 115,439
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

John Grisham has written twenty-one previous novels and one work of nonfiction, The Innocent Man, published in 2006. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.

www.jgrisham.com www.doubleday.com

[RGG logo] Our Readers’ Guides are available at www.doubleday.com/readers

Hometown:

Oxford, Mississippi, and Albemarle County, Virginia

Date of Birth:

February 8, 1955

Place of Birth:

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Education:

B.S., Mississippi State, 1977; J.D., University of Mississippi, 1981

Read an Excerpt

Blood Drive    

     By the time the news of Bailey's accident spread through the rural settlement of Box Hill, there were several versions of how it happened. Someone from the construction company called his mother and reported that he had been injured when some scaffoldingcollapsed at a building site in downtown Memphis, that he was undergoing surgery, was stable, and was expected to survive. His mother, an invalid who weighed over four hundred pounds and was known to be excitable, missed some of the facts as she began to screamand carry on. She called friends and neighbors, and with each replaying of the tragic news various details were altered and enlarged. She neglected to write down the phone number of the person from the company, so there was no one to call to verify or discountthe rumors that were multiplying by the minute.  
     One of Bailey's co-workers, another boy from Ford County, called his girlfriend in Box Hill and gave an account that varied somewhat: Bailey had been run over by a bulldozer, which was next to the scaffolding, and he was practically dead. The surgeonswere working on him, but things were grim.  
     Then an administrator from a hospital in Memphis called Bailey's home, asked to speak to his mother, and was told that she was laid up in bed, too upset to talk, and unable to come to the phone. The neighbor who answered the phone pumped the administratorfor details, but didn't get much. Something collapsed at a construction site, maybe a ditch in which the young man was working, or some such variation. Yes, he was in surgery, and the hospital needed basic information.
     Bailey's mother's small brick home quickly became a busy place. Visitors had begun arriving by late afternoon: friends, relatives, and several pastors from the tiny churches scattered around Box Hill. The women gathered in the kitchen and den and gossipednonstop while the phone rang constantly. The men huddled outside and smoked cigarettes. Casseroles and cakes began to appear.  
     With little to do, and with scant information about Bailey's injuries, the visitors seized upon every tiny fact, analyzed it, dissected it, then passed it along to the women inside, or to the men outside. A leg was mangled and would probably be amputated.There was a severe brain injury. Bailey fell four floors with the scaffolding, or maybe it was eight. His chest was crushed. A few of the facts and theories were simply created on the spot. There were even a few somber inquiries about funeral arrangements.  
     Bailey was nineteen years old and in his short life had never had so many friends and admirers. The entire community loved him more and more as the hours passed. He was a good boy, raised right, a much better person than his sorry father, a man no onehad seen in years.
     Bailey's ex-girlfriend showed up and was soon the center of attention. She was distraught and overwhelmed and cried easily, especially when talking about her beloved Bailey. However, when word filtered back to the bedroom and his mother heard the littleslut was in the house, she ordered her out. The little slut then hung around with the men outside, flirting and smoking. She finally left, vowing to drive to Memphis right then and see her Bailey.  
     A neighbor's cousin lived in Memphis, and this cousin reluctantly agreed to go to the hospital and monitor things. His first call brought the news that the young man was indeed undergoing surgery for multiple injuries, but he appeared to be stable. He'dlost a lot of blood. In the second call, the cousin straightened out a few of the facts. He'd talked to the job foreman, and Bailey had been injured when a bulldozer struck the scaffolding, collapsing it and sending the poor boy crashing down fifteen feet intoa pit of some sort. They were putting the brick on a six-story office building in Memphis, and Bailey was working as a mason's helper. The hospital would not allow visitors for at least twenty-four hours, but blood donations were needed.  
     A mason's helper? His mother had bragged that Bailey had been promoted rapidly through the company and was now an assistant job foreman. However, in the spirit of the moment, no one questioned her about this discrepancy.  
     After dark, a man in a suit appeared and explained that he was an investigator of some sort. He was passed along to an uncle, Bailey's mother's youngest brother, and in a private conversation in the backyard he handed over a business card for a lawyerin Clanton. "Best lawyer in the county," he said. "And we're already working on the case."  
     The uncle was impressed and promised to shun other lawyers--"just a bunch of ambulance chasers"--and to curse any insurance adjuster who came slithering onto the scene.  
     Eventually, there was talk of a trip to Memphis. Though it was only two hours away by car, it may as well have been five. In Box Hill, going to the big city meant driving an hour to Tupelo, population fifty thousand. Memphis was in another state, anotherworld, and, besides, crime was rampant. The murder rate was right up there with Detroit. They watched the carnage every night on Channel 5.  
     Bailey's mother was growing more incapacitated by the moment and was clearly unable to travel, let alone give blood. His sister lived in Clanton, but she could not leave her children. Tomorrow was Friday, a workday, and there was a general belief thatsuch a trip to Memphis and back, plus the blood thing, would take many hours and, well, who knew when the donors might get back to Ford County.  
     Another call from Memphis brought the news that the boy was out of surgery, clinging to life, and still in desperate need of blood. By the time this reached the group of men loitering out in the driveway, it sounded as though poor Bailey might die anyminute unless his loved ones hustled to the hospital and opened their veins.  
     A hero quickly emerged. His name was Wayne Agnor, an alleged close friend of Bailey's who since birth had been known as Aggie. He ran a body shop with his father, and thus had hours flexible enough for a quick trip to Memphis. He also had his own pickup,a late-model Dodge, and he claimed to know Memphis like the back of his hand.  
     "I can leave right now," Aggie said proudly to the group, and word spread through the house that a trip was materializing. One of the women calmed things down when she explained that several volunteers were needed since the hospital would extract onlyone pint from each donor. "You can't give a gallon," she explained. Very few had actually given blood, and the thought of needles and tubes frightened many. The house and front yard became very quiet. Concerned neighbors who had been so close to Bailey justmoments earlier began looking for distance.  
     "I'll go too," another young man finally said, and he was immediately congratulated. His name was Calvin Marr, and his hours were also flexible but for different reasons--Calvin had been laid off from the shoe factory in Clanton and was drawing unemployment.He was terrified of needles but intrigued by the romance of seeing Memphis for the first time. He would be honored to be a donor.  
     The idea of a fellow traveler emboldened Aggie, and he laid down the challenge. "Anybody else?"  
     There was mumbling in general while most of the men studied their boots.  
     "We'll take my truck and I'll pay for the gas," Aggie continued.  
     "When are we leavin'?" Calvin asked.  
     "Right now," said Aggie. "It's an emergency."  
     "That's right," someone added.  
     "I'll send Roger," an older gentleman offered, and this was met with silent skepticism. Roger, who wasn't present, had no job to worry about because he couldn't keep one. He had dropped out of high school and had a colorful history with alcohol and drugs.Needles certainly wouldn't intimidate him.  
     Though the men in general had little knowledge of transfusions, the very idea of a victim injured so gravely as to need blood from Roger was hard to imagine. "You tryin' to kill Bailey?" one of them mumbled.  
     "Roger'll do it," his father said with pride.  
     The great question was, Is he sober? Roger's battles with his demons were widely known and discussed in Box Hill. Most folks generally knew when he was off the hooch, or on it.  
     "He's in good shape these days," his father went on, though with a noticeable lack of conviction. But the urgency of the moment overcame all doubt, and Aggie finally said, "Where is he?"  
     "He's home."  
     Of course he was home. Roger never left home. Where would he go?  
     Within minutes, the ladies had put together a large box of sandwiches and other food. Aggie and Calvin were hugged and congratulated and fussed over as if they were marching off to defend the country. When they sped away, off to save Bailey's life, everyonewas in the driveway, waving farewell to the brave young men.  
     Roger was waiting by the mailbox, and when the pickup came to a stop, he leaned through the passenger's window and said, "We gonna spend the night?"  
     "Ain't plannin' on it," Aggie said.  
     "Good."  
     After a discussion, it was finally agreed that Roger, who was of a slender build, would sit in the middle between Aggie and Calvin, who were much larger and thicker. They placed the box of food in his lap, and before they were a mile outside of Box Hill,Roger was unwrapping a turkey sandwich. At twenty-seven, he was the oldest of the three, but the years had not been kind. He'd been through two divorces and numerous unsuccessful efforts to rid him of his addictions. He was wiry and hyper, and as soon as hefinished the first sandwich, he unwrapped the second. Aggie, at 250 pounds, and Calvin, at 270, both declined. They had been eating casseroles for the past two hours at Bailey's mother's.  
     The first conversation was about Bailey, a man Roger hardly knew, but both Aggie and Calvin had attended school with him. Since all three men were single, the chatter soon drifted away from their fallen neighbor and found its way to the subject of sex.Aggie had a girlfriend and claimed to be enjoying the full benefits of a good romance. Roger had slept with everything and was always on the prowl. Calvin, the shy one, was still a virgin at twenty-one, though he would never admit this. He lied about a coupleof conquests, without much detail, and this kept him in the game. All three were exaggerating and all three knew it.  
     When they crossed into Polk County, Roger said, "Pull in up there at the Blue Dot. I need to take a leak." Aggie stopped at the pumps in front of a country store, and Roger ran inside.  
     "You reckon he's drinkin'?" Calvin asked as they waited.  
     "His daddy said he's not."  
     "His daddy lies, too."  
     Sure enough, Roger emerged minutes later with a six-pack of beer.  
     "Oh boy," Aggie said.  
     When they were situated again, the truck left the gravel lot and sped away.  
     Roger pulled off a can and offered it to Aggie, who declined. "No, thanks, I'm drivin'."  
     "You can't drink and drive?"  
     "Not tonight."  
     "How 'bout you?" he said, offering the can to Calvin.  
     "No, thanks."  
     "You boys in rehab or something?" Roger asked as he popped the top, then gulped down half the can.  
     "I thought you'd quit," Aggie said.  
     "I did. I quit all the time. Quittin's easy."  
     Calvin was now holding the box of food and out of boredom began munching on a large oatmeal cookie. Roger drained the first can, then handed it to Calvin and said, "Toss it, would you?"  
     Calvin lowered the window and flung the empty can back into the bed of the pickup. By the time he raised the window, Roger was popping the top of another. Aggie and Calvin exchanged nervous glances.  
     "Can you give blood if you've been drinkin'?" Aggie asked.  
     "Of course you can," Roger said. "I've done it many times. You boys ever give blood?"  
     Aggie and Calvin reluctantly admitted that they had never done so, and this inspired Roger to describe the procedure. "They make you lay down because most people pass out. The damned needle is so big that a lot of folks faint when they see it. They tiea thick rubber cord around your bicep, then the nurse'll poke around your upper forearm looking for a big, fat blood vein. It's best to look the other way. Nine times out of ten, she'll jab the needle in and miss the vein--hurts like hell--then she'll apologizewhile you cuss her under your breath. If you're lucky, she'll hit the vein the second time, and when she does, the blood spurts out through a tube that runs to a little bag. Everything's clear, so you can see your own blood. It's amazing how dark it is, sortof a dark maroon color. It takes forever for a pint to flow out, and the whole time she's holdin' the needle in your vein." He chugged the beer, satisfied with his terrifying account of what awaited them.          They rode in silence for several miles.  
     When the second can was empty, Calvin tossed it back, and Roger popped the third top. "Beer actually helps," Roger said as he smacked his lips. "It thins the blood and makes the whole thing go faster."  
     It was becoming apparent that he planned to demolish the entire six-pack as quickly as possible. Aggie was thinking that it might be wise to dilute some of the alcohol. He'd heard stories of Roger's horrific binges.  
     "I'll take one of those," he said, and Roger quickly handed him a beer.  
     "Me too, I guess," Calvin said.  
     "Now we're talkin'," Roger said. "I never like to drink alone. That's the first sign of a true drunk."  
     Aggie and Calvin drank responsibly while Roger continued to gulp away. When the first six-pack was gone, he announced, with perfect timing, "I need to take a leak. Pull over up there at Cully's Barbecue." They were on the edge of the small town of NewGrove, and Aggie was beginning to wonder how long the trip might take. Roger disappeared behind the store and relieved himself, then ducked inside and bought two more six-packs. When New Grove was behind them, they popped the tops and sped along a dark, narrow highway.

Table of Contents

Blood Drive 1

Fetching Raymond 65

Fish Files 139

Casino 205

Michaels Room 259

Quiet Haven 309

Funny Boy 387

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

 
 “Ford County is the best writing John Grisham has ever done.”
—Pat Conroy

 
“John Grisham is about as good a storyteller as we’ve got.”
—The New York Times Book Review
 

Reading Group Guide

In 1989, John Grisham published his first novel, A Time to Kill, set in the town of Clanton, in Ford County, Mississippi. Twenty years later, he now brings us his first collection of short stories, returning to that rural corner of the world—a place populated by hucksters and their honest victims, the simple-minded and the shrewd, the rich and the poor. From three good ole boys on a fateful road trip to Memphis to the tale of Stanley Wade, a litigator whose encounter with an old adversary turns violent, the cast of characters in Ford County will keep you enthralled on every page. Brimming with suspense, each of these stories confirms Grisham’s reign as America’s master storyteller.    
 
The questions and discussion topics that follow are intended to enhance your reading of John Grisham’s Ford County. We hope they will enrich your experience of this captivating collection.

1. How do the small-town lawyers in Ford County compare to some of the high-powered attorneys featured in John Grisham’s other works? What struggles and temptations do they all have in common?

2. When Roger, Aggie, and Calvin decided to travel to Memphis to give blood in “Blood Drive,” what were they each hoping to gain? Was Calvin the only one who lost his innocence on the trip? What ultimately was your impression of Bailey—the character we only meet through hearsay?

3. In “Fetching Raymond,” Inez Graney and her sons Leon and Butch don’t see Raymond’s situation in quite the same way. What accounts for the difference between Raymond and his brothers? What determines whether someone will end up on the wrong side of the law?

4. John Grisham’s first work of nonfiction, The Innocent Man, recounted the story of Ron Williamson, who was sentenced to death for the 1982 murder of an Oklahoma waitress despite a spurious trial. In the fictional Raymond Graney’s case, we’re told on page 75 that he confessed to Butch, and that Butch and Leon knew their brother had ambushed Coy. Nonetheless, was it right for Raymond to receive the death penalty?

5. What drove Mack Stafford to go to such great lengths of dishonesty in his “Fish Files” escape? Was his life in Mississippi beyond salvage? Did he do any real harm in executing his brilliant plan?

6. What is Sidney Lewis’s best ammunition against Bobby Carl Leach? What really ruined Sidney and Stella’s marriage? Did money put it back together again at the end of “Casino,” or was something else at play?

7. In “Michael’s Room,” was Stanley in fact facing enormous lies of his past, or had he simply presented a different version of the truth in the courtroom? Why did Jim Cranwell lose his case? Could any amount of legislation have ensured a victory for him?

8. How did your perception of Gilbert Griffin change as you read “Quiet Haven”? What were your first impressions of him? Were you hoodwinked as well? Could someone like him dodge prosecution forever?

9. What does “home” mean to Emporia and Adrian in “Funny Boy”? What does their friendship prove about the people who make Clanton’s most powerful families feel threatened? What is Adrian’s greatest legacy to his newfound friend?

10. How do the residents of Ford County imagine city life—Memphis, San Francisco, New York? What determines whether they fear it or crave it?

11. What does Ford County tell us about the nature of small towns? What makes them safe havens? What makes them dangerous?

12. Whose lives are changed for the better by the legal agreements and maneuvers described in Ford County? What is the most significant factor in whether the law is a force for good or evil in these stories?

13. Tort reform has received much publicity in recent years. Discuss the question of damages raised in stories such as “Fish Files,” “Michael’s Room,” and “Quiet Haven.” When should an injured person be entitled to financial compensation? What should drive the dollar amount of that compensation?

14. Adrian reads much fiction by William Faulkner, who also created a fictional southern locale (Yoknapatawpha County) as the setting for many of his works. How does Grisham’s take on small-town Mississippi compare to Faulkner’s? What aspects of Ford County have remained unchanged since Grisham created it for A Time to Kill?

15. What makes Grisham’s approach to storytelling so appropriate for short fiction? Linked by time and place, do the stories in Ford County form a novel, in a way?

Introduction

In 1989, John Grisham published his first novel, A Time to Kill, set in the town of Clanton, in Ford County, Mississippi. Twenty years later, he now brings us his first collection of short stories, returning to that rural corner of the world—a place populated by hucksters and their honest victims, the simple-minded and the shrewd, the rich and the poor. From three good ole boys on a fateful road trip to Memphis to the tale of Stanley Wade, a litigator whose encounter with an old adversary turns violent, the cast of characters in Ford County will keep you enthralled on every page. Brimming with suspense, each of these stories confirms Grisham’s reign as America’s master storyteller.    
 
The questions and discussion topics that follow are intended to enhance your reading of John Grisham’s Ford County. We hope they will enrich your experience of this captivating collection.

Customer Reviews

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Ford County 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 664 reviews.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
First of all, I HAVE read the book, ALL of it, and enjoyed the stories immensely. Ford County seems to be full of interesting people, and Grisham has a smart eye for what makes them interesting. My favorite story is the comeuppance of the lawyer Stanley, but the last story touched my heart. It was a great way to end a fine book.
lemme14 More than 1 year ago
When you write a book of short stories, you'll nail a few and swing and miss on some others. I think John Grisham showed he's not afraid to venture into unknown territory: short stories. This is something Stephen King has nailed. Some stories in Ford County were real page turners that were very exciting and over before I knew it. Others were only 50 pages and each page turn was painstaking. Not a bad product, but I'd prefer he sticks with his legal thrillers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love books by John Grisham, so I expect all of them to be great. And this one did not disappoint me. It's a book of short stories and I didn't care for the people in the first two stories but that certainly doesn't mean that they don't exist and are like some of the people that I know. But the last story was so enduring and heart felt that it stays with me even now. It was about an older black woman taking care of a younger white man with AIDS. And their short journey together is heart warming and strong.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This 'book' is a collection of short stories. I'm not really enjoying them and would not purchase this book again. I like Grisham's novels, so this book was a disappointment for me.
jcrubicon More than 1 year ago
Now I don't tend to read short story collections or anthologies, but in the last month I have enjoyed two very different collections: "Say Your One of Them" and "Ford County." As I wrote earlier "Say..." is a haunting and intense study of life in Africa from that continents children's perspective. I really liked John Grisham's collection of stories, "Ford County". Starting w "Playing for Pizza," Grisham has become a great storyteller! He still displays his love-hate for the legal profession, which we have grown accustomed to in his legal thrillers. Here, however, his characters are more poignant and richly compelling then the leads of his books/movies. Now none of these vignettes could expand to a full length novel ... but that in part is their strength. If the goal is rich flavor and a pleasant aftertaste, a tort is often better than the pie.
EddyAL More than 1 year ago
These stories go down effortlessly. More than the stories, the characters stand out as rich images appearing in front of the pages. While reading, I felt I was living there, somewhere in Ford County. These are short "short stories". I can't decide if I wanted more stories or longer ones. I have read Grisham's early books but not so much the more recent ones. I recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I throughly enjoy all of John Grishams books, but this read was tooo short but enjoyable. I felt as if I was in Ford County....the stories keep you laughing and crying for some of the characters! He saved the best for last! Can't wait to see if he takes one of the short stories and make it an complete book with court room drama and all! Its possible....because many of the stories left you hanging with just your imagination....
Joncox-Maximus More than 1 year ago
This book being Grisham's first short story work it immediately skipped all of his novels to take its place at the top of my list. The small town portrait he paints, the characters full of color, life, humor and uniqueness... I would recommend this book to anyone who has lived in the south. Even if you don't this book is an easy, quick read with original stories that still have a hint of Grishams love for law in it. You really get to bond with the characters and pull for them when they get to a speed bump. My favorite story in this book is Blood Drive.
Helen78 More than 1 year ago
I love the voice of John Grisham, but it's a truism that authors should not read their own words. With the exception of his telling about the lawyer who is abducted and made to witness the results of his defense of the medical profession [outstanding in it's starkness] the other stories sound 'read' instead of being told. Worthy and worthwhile work by a respected author.
NanceeMN More than 1 year ago
While I don't normally like short stories, this one is OK. I love John Grisham's books so I would have preferred a novel from him. But the stories reflect his normal writing style and it was easy to get into the stories. However, they all seemed to have a very sad ending. All of the characters were down on their luck sort of folks. I don't recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a mental or emotional pick-me-up, as the stories all left me feeling rather sad. But again, if you're a Grisham fan and like his writing style, you'll want to add this book to your library.
SD83 More than 1 year ago
I just got this book on Nov 4th and I have read 2 of the 7 stories, I have a 5 month old son and don't have a lot of time to read or I would already be done with it! I love how Grisham books will just suck you right into them, & this one is no different. It is kind of strange to have a story that takes you 1 hour to read instead of a couple days but it is still a good book, and I would not hesitate to buy it again. I can't wait to finish all stories but then I will have to wait a year for a new book :(
bigorangecat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Best collection of short stories I've read in many years.
ldybug on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A collection of stories from Ford Country. Each tale starts out with a character just starting out on a journey or planning a scheme all leads to mayhem. John Grisham has always been a favorite and this book is up there with the rest of his works. I found I kept reading to get to the next story. Great collection.Well done and written. Kudos
SParmelee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
John Grisham is always good but these short stories may be his best writing to date. They are about the people, life, ideas, language, and region of Ford County, Mississippi. Excellent!
KimSmyth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Surprisingly good Grisham. Later novels have been a bit too formulmatic and preachy for me. This collection of short stories reminds you that Grisham can write an excellent story.
mdoorn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Got bored after the first two stories... Flat, flat, flat... Not worth the read in my humble opinion.
KaitlinM on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really love John Grisham. This book was delightfully entertaining.
etxgardener on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't like John Grisham's lawyer thrillers. They are too formulaic and, after reading the first one, all start sounding alike. However, I had a long plane trip to take, and as his books are light reading page turners, I picked this up in the airport bookshop. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not one of his thrillers, but a collection of short stories set in the same small town Mississippi location as his first book, A Time to Kill, and pretty much covering the aspects of like in a small southern town. All the characters are here: the stupid rednecks who seem to be incapable of accomplishing the simple task of picking up a relative at a Memphis hospital, a middling successful divorce lawyer who is tired of his life and finally hits on his big personal injury score, a wheelchair-bound mother who journeys to a prison where her son is scheduled to be executed for murder; a man preying on the elderly at a local nursing home and the son of a prominent family who comes home to die of AIDS and runs face-on into the narrow prejudices of the town. Often very funny, sometimes sad, and at the end, very moving, this book shows that if Grisham wanted to truly write instead of churning out books to enrich his bank balance, he could surely be a writer of some account.
ALincolnNut on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After making his name as an author of legal thrillers such as ¿The Firm,¿ John Grisham has recently been exploring other areas in his writing. He has written true crime, in his nonfiction account of a man falsely on death row in ¿The Innocent Man.¿ He has penned a couple of novels that have no connection to the law, and he has even tried his hand at a couple of youth mystery novels. With ¿Ford County Stories,¿ Grisham explores another form, offering seven stories that are longer than short stories and shorter than novellas. Set in Ford County, Mississippi, each of the stories has a legal component, but often it is tangential. Exploring issues of charity and generosity, justice and revenge, loyalty and escape, Grisham paints detailed characters in situations that are unusual, yet eerily plausible. Even the most humorously outlandish of the stories have a strain of humanity and quiet desperation beneath the surface. It is difficult to pick a best among the stories, though it is clear that all of them are strong works on their own. Perhaps the most pleasurable to read is the story of a small town lawyer who sees an opportunity to run away from everything in his life and begin again. The scariest, partially because of its moral ambiguity, is the tale of an itinerant nursing home employee, whose actions are mostly beneficial, but whose motivations are unclear. The saddest, though there is sadness running through all of them in various ways, is likely the last, a story of a son virtually disowned by his family and left to die in a servant¿s home. Some of Grisham¿s work has been criticized as redundant, with mediocre character development. Whether these assessments are correct ¿ and it is certain that some of Grisham¿s books are better than others ¿ it is clear that the writing in ¿Ford County Stories¿ is consistently strong and satisfying. Grisham uses his skills to develop characters and situations in a few pages and then explores them in fascinating ways, leading to stories that are as edifying as they are exciting.
micalbi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I usually do not read short stories, but have read most of Grisham's other books so decided to read it. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories, finishing the book in a weekend. This read like his earlier books which I like more than some of his newer ones. It was a good variety of stories with moral issues both right and wrong, they make you think, but are just good enjoyable stories. I recommend it very much.
ReadersLair on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is some of John Grisham's best work. From cover to cover, readers will enjoy and be intrigued.
khiemstra631 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Ford County, Grisham debuts his short story writing abilities. All of the stories take place in the mythical Ford County, Mississippi, which was the setting for A Time to Kill. The county seems to be generally populated with red-necks and shyster lawyers. Most of the stories have no real point to them, but they are fairly entertaining. The book is a fairly quick read and a decent way to pass a few winter evenings. It did not strike me as anything about which to get too excited, however. But then, again, I'm not a big short story fan. If you like the short story form, then you will no doubt enjoy the book more than I did.
Cailin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I'm not normally a fan of short stories, but I think John Grisham did an excellent job of wrapping up each story and the characters in them. My favorite story was Funny Boy about a young man dying of AIDS who comes home to die. I also liked the story Casino where the protagonist gets what he wants in the end albeit in a roundabout way.
lynndp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My thoughts- Excellent collection of short stories. I read them all in the span of a few days - appreciated each one but contrary to the inside back cover "a cast of characters you'll never forget", I did forget them when I sat down to enter this book. However, on reading the three sentence teaser for each story on the inside front cover, I found that the stories and settings quickly came back to mind. Keep in mind that these are not "warm and fuzzy" stories. Some of the characters are not admirable and many do not "get their just deserts". But they truly come to life under Grisham's pen and you almost surely will not regret spending time in Ford County.
Pam1960ca on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I not normally a 'short stories' reader but I have to say...I really enjoyed this collection. A few of them I would have enjoyed as a full novel. I would definitely recommend this book.