#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
In a plush Virginia office, a rich, angry old man is furiously rewriting his will. With his death just hours away, Troy Phelan wants to send a message to his children, his ex-wives, and his minions—a message that will touch off a vicious legal battle and transform dozens of lives. Because Troy Phelan’s new will names a sole surprise heir to his eleven-billion-dollar fortune: a mysterious woman named Rachel Lane, a missionary living deep in the jungles of Brazil.
Enter the lawyers. Nate O’Riley is fresh out of rehab, a disgraced corporate attorney handpicked for his last job: to find Rachel Lane at any cost. As Phelan’s family circles like vultures in D.C., Nate goes crashing through the Brazilian jungle, entering a world where money means nothing, where death is just one misstep away, and where a woman—pursued by enemies and friends alike—holds a stunning surprise of her own.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||7.48(w) x 4.26(h) x 1.31(d)|
About the Author
John Grisham is the author of twenty-three novels, including, most recently, The Litigators; one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and a novel for young readers. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi School of Law. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.
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
I sit and stare through the tinted glass walls. On a clear day, I can see the top of the Washington Monument six miles away, but not today. Today is raw and cold, windy and overcast, not a bad day to die. The wind blows the last of the leaves from their branches and scatters them through the parking lot below.
Why I am worried about the pain? What's wrong with a little suffering? I've caused more misery than any ten people.
I push a button and Snead appears. He bows and pushes my wheelchair through the door of my apartment, into the marble foyer, down the marble hall, through another door. We're getting closer, but I feel no anxiety.
I've kept the shrinks waiting for over two hours.
We pass my office and I nod at Nicolette, my latest secretary, a darling young thing I'm quite fond of. Given some time, she might become number four.
But there is no time. Only minutes.
A mob is waitingpacks of lawyers and some psychiatrists who'll determine if I'm in my right mind. They are crowded around a long table in my conference room, and when I enter, their conversation stops immediately and everybody stares. Snead situates me on one side of the table, next to my lawyer, Stafford.
There are cameras pointing in all directions, and the technicians scramble to get them focused. Every whisper, every move, every breath will be recorded because a fortune is at stake.
The last will I signed gave little to my children. Josh Stafford prepared it, as always. I shredded it this morning.
I'm sitting here to prove to the world that I am of sufficient mental capacity to make a new will. Once it is proved, the disposition of my assets cannot be questioned.
Directly across from me are three shrinksone hired by each family. On folded index cards before them someone has printed their namesDr. Zadel, Dr. Flowe, Dr. Theishen. I study their eyes and faces. Since I am supposed to appear sane, I must make eye contact.
They expect me to be somewhat loony, but I'm about to eat them for lunch.
Stafford will run the show. When everyone is settled and the cameras are ready, he says, "My name is Josh Stafford, and I'm the attorney for Mr. Troy Phelan, seated here to my right."
I take on the shrinks, one at a time, eye to eye, glare to glare, until each blinks or looks away. All three wear dark suits. Zadel and Flowe have scraggly beards. Theishen has a bow tie and looks no more than thirty. The families were given the right to hire anyone they wanted.
Stafford is talking. "The purpose of this meeting is to have Mr. Phelan examined by a panel of psychiatrists to determine his testamentary capacity. Assuming the panel finds him to be of sound mind, then he intends to sign a will which will dispose of his assets upon his death."
Stafford taps his pencil on a one-inch-thick will lying before us. I'm sure the cameras zoom in for a close-up, and I'm sure the very sight of the document sends shivers up and down the spines of my children and their mothers scattered throughout my building.
They haven't seen the will, nor do they have the right to. A will is a private document revealed only after death. The heirs can only speculate as to what it might contain. My heirs have received hints, little lies I've carefully planted.
They've been led to believe that the bulk of my estate will somehow be divided fairly among the children, with generous gifts to the ex-wives. They know this; they can feel it. They've been praying fervently for this for weeks, even months. This is life and death for them because they're all in debt. The will lying before me is supposed to make them rich and stop the bickering. Stafford prepared it, and in conversations with their lawyers he has, with my permission, painted in broad strokes the supposed contents of the will. Each child will receive something in the range of three hundred to five hundred million, with another fifty million going to each of the three ex-wives. These women were well provided for in the divorces, but that, of course, has been forgotten.
Total gifts to the families of approximately three billion dollars. After the government rakes off several billion the rest will go to charity.
So you can see why they're here, shined, groomed, sober (for the most part), and eagerly watching the monitors and waiting and hoping that I, the old man, can pull this off. I'm sure they've told their shrinks, "Don't be too hard on the old boy. We want him sane."
If everyone is so happy, then why bother with this psychiatric examination? Because I'm gonna screw 'em one last time, and I want to do it right.
The shrinks are my idea, but my children and their lawyers are too slow to realize it.
Zadel goes first. "Mr. Phelan, can you tell us the date, time, and place?"
I feel like a first-grader. I drop my chin to my chest like an imbecile and ponder the question long enough to make them ease to the edge of their seats and whisper, "Come on, you crazy old bastard. Surely you know what day it is."
"Monday," I say softly. "Monday, December 9, 1996. The place is my office."
"About two-thirty in the afternoon," I say. I don't wear a watch.
"And where is your office?"
Flowe leans into his microphone. "Can you state the names and birthdates of your children?"
"No. The names, maybe, but not the birthdates."
"Okay, give us the names."
I take my time. It's too early to be sharp. I want them to sweat. "Troy Phelan, Jr., Rex, Libbigail, Mary Ross, Geena, and Ramble." I utter these as if they're painful to even think about.
Flowe is allowed a follow-up. "And there was a seventh child, right?"
"Do you remember his name?"
"And what happened to him?"
"He was killed in an auto accident." I sit straight in my wheelchair, head high, eyes darting from one shrink to the next, projecting pure sanity for the cameras. I'm sure my children and my ex-wives are proud of me, watching the monitors in their little groups, squeezing the hands of their current spouses, and smiling at their hungry lawyers because old Troy so far has handled the preliminaries.
My voice may be low and hollow, and I may look like a nut with my white silk robe, shriveled face, and green turban, but I've answered their questions.
Come on, old boy, they're pleading.
Theishen asks, "What is your current physical condition?"
"I've felt better."
"It's rumored you have a cancerous tumor."
Get right to the point, don't you?
"I thought this was a mental exam," I say, glancing at Stafford, who can't suppress a smile. But the rules allow any question. This is not a courtroom.
"It is," Theishen says politely. "But every question is relevant."
"Will you answer the question?"
"About the tumor."
"Sure. It's in my head, the size of a golf ball, growing every day, inoperable, and my doctor says I won't last three months."
I can almost hear the champagne corks popping below me. The tumor has been confirmed!
"Are you, at this moment, under the influence of any medication, drug, or alcohol?"
"Do you have in your possession any type of medication to relieve pain?"
Back to Zadel: "Mr. Phelan, three months ago Forbes magazine listed your net worth at eight billion dollars. Is that a close estimate?"
"Since when is Forbes known for its accuracy?"
"So it's not accurate?"
"It's between eleven and eleven and a half, depending on the markets." I say this very slowly, but my words are sharp, my voice carries authority. No one doubts the size of my fortune.
Flowe decides to pursue the money. "Mr. Phelan, can you describe, in general, the organization of your corporate holdings?"
"I can, yes."
"I suppose." I pause and let them sweat. Stafford assured me I do not have to divulge private information here. Just give them an overall picture, he said.
"The Phelan Group is a private corporation which owns seventy different companies, a few of which are publicly traded."
"How much of The Phelan Group do you own?"
"About ninety-seven percent. The rest is held by a handful of employees."
Theishen joins in the hunt. It didn't take long to focus on the gold. "Mr. Phelan, does your company hold an interest in Spin Computer?"
"Yes," I answer slowly, trying to place Spin Computer in my corporate jungle.
"How much do you own?"
"And Spin Computer is a public company?"
Theishen fiddles with a pile of official-looking documents, and I can see from here that he has the company's annual report and quarterly statements, things any semiliterate college student could obtain. "When did you purchase Spin?" he asks.
"About four years ago."
"How much did you pay?"
"Twenty bucks a share, a total of three hundred million." I want to answer these questions more slowly, but I can't help myself. I stare holes through Theishen, anxious for the next one.
"And what's it worth now?" he asks.
"Well, it closed yesterday at forty-three and a half, down a point. The stock has split twice since I bought it, so the investment is now worth around eight-fifty."
"Eight hundred and fifty million?"
The examination is basically over at this point. If my mental capacity can comprehend yesterday's closing stock prices, then my adversaries are certainly satisfied. I can almost see their goofy smiles. I can almost hear their muted hoorahs. Atta boy, Troy. Give 'em hell.
Zadel wants history. It's an effort to test the bounds of my memory. "Mr. Phelan, where were you born?"
"Montclair, New Jersey."
"May 12, 1918."
"What was your mother's maiden name?"
"When did she die?"
"Two days before Pearl Harbor."
"And your father?"
"What about him?"
"When did he die?"
"I don't know. He disappeared when I was a kid."
Zadel looks at Flowe, who's got questions packed together on a notepad. Flowe asks, "Who is your youngest daughter?"
"Uh, the first one."
"That would be Mary Ross."
"Of course it's right."
"Where did she go to college?"
"Tulane, in New Orleans."
"What did she study?"
"Something medieval. Then she married badly, like the rest of them. I guess they inherited that talent from me." I can see them stiffen and bristle. And I can almost see the lawyers and the current live-ins and/or spouses hide little smiles because no one can argue the fact that I did indeed marry badly.
And I reproduced even more miserably.
Flowe is suddenly finished for this round. Theishen is enamored with the money. He asks, "Do you own a controlling interest in MountainCom?"
"Yes, I'm sure it's right there in your stack of paperwork. It's a public company."
"What was your initial investment?"
"Around eighteen a share, for ten million shares."
"And now it"
"It closed yesterday at twenty-one a share. A swap and a split in the past six years and the holding is now worth about four hundred million. Does that answer your question?"
"Yes, I believe it does. How many public companies do you control?"
Flowe glances at Zadel, and I'm wondering how much longer this will take. I'm suddenly tired.
"Any more questions?" Stafford asks. We are not going to press them because we want them completely satisfied.
Zadel asks, "Do you intend to sign a new will today?"
"Yes, that is my intent."
"Is that the will lying on the table there before you?"
"Does that will give a substantial portion of your assets to your children?"
"Are you prepared to sign the will at this time?"
Zadel carefully places his pen on the table, folds his hands thoughtfully, and looks at Stafford. "In my opinion, Mr. Phelan has sufficient testamentary capacity at this time to dispose of his assets." He pronounces this with great weight, as if my performance had them hanging in limbo.
The other two are quick to rush in. "I have no doubt as to the soundness of his mind," Flowe says to Stafford. "He seems incredibly sharp to me."
"No doubt?" Stafford asks.
"Let's not kid ourselves. Mr. Phelan knows exactly what he's doing. His mind is much quicker than ours."
Oh, thank you. That means so much to me. You're a bunch of shrinks struggling to make a hundred thousand a year. I've made billions, yet you pat me on the head and tell me how smart I am.
"So it's unanimous?" Stafford says.
"Yes. Absolutely." They can't nod their heads fast enough.
Stafford slides the will to me and hands me a pen. I say, "This is the last will and testament of Troy L. Phelan, revoking all former wills and codicils." It's ninety pages long, prepared by Stafford and someone in his firm. I understand the concept, but the actual print eludes me. I haven't read it, nor shall I. I flip to the back, scrawl a name no one can read, then place my hands on top of it for the time being.
It'll never be seen by the vultures.
"Meeting's adjourned," Stafford says, and everyone quickly packs. Per my instructions, the three families are hurried from their respective rooms and asked to leave the building.
One camera remains focused on me, its images going nowhere but the archives. The lawyers and psychiatrists leave in a rush. I tell Snead to take a seat at the table. Stafford and one of his partners, Durban, remain in the room, also seated. When we are alone, I reach under the edge of my robe and produce an envelope, which I open. I remove from it three pages of yellow legal paper and place them before me on the table.
Only seconds away now, and a faint ripple of fear goes through me. This will take more strength than I've mustered in weeks.
Stafford, Durban, and Snead stare at the sheets of yellow paper, thoroughly bewildered.
"This is my testament," I announce, taking a pen. "A holographic will, every word written by me, just a few hours ago. Dated today, and now signed today." I scrawl my name again. Stafford is too stunned to react.
"It revokes all former wills, including the one I signed less than five minutes ago." I refold the papers and place them in the envelope.
I grit my teeth and remind myself of how badly I want to die.
I slide the envelope across the table to Stafford, and at the same instant I rise from my wheelchair. My legs are shaking. My heart is pounding. Just seconds now. Surely I'll be dead before I land.
"Hey!" someone shouts, Snead I think. But I'm moving away from them.
The lame man walks, almost runs, past the row of leather chairs, past one of my portraits, a bad one commissioned by a wife, past everything, to the sliding doors, which are unlocked. I know because I rehearsed this just hours ago.
"Stop!" someone yells, and they're moving behind me. No one has seen me walk in a year. I grab the handle and open the door. The air is bitterly cold. I step barefoot onto the narrow terrace which borders my top floor. Without looking below, I lunge over the railing.
An Exclusive Q&A with John Grisham
John Grisham, the phenomenal bestselling author who consistently transforms a day in court into an unforgettable, thriller-lovin' experience, took some time to answer a few of our questions about his new novel, HOLLYWOOD, and his son's Little League baseball team.
barnesandnoble.com: Think back to when you first began A Time to Kill. How does your approach to writing differ now? How is it the same?
John Grisham: A Time to Kill was written over a three-year period with little hopes of getting it published. Now, a book takes six months, and I'm reasonably confident it will get published. Other than that, little has changed. I start with a story, a plot, something that will turn the pages and make people lose sleep and call in sick to work.
bn: Do you set different goals for each of your novels? What criteria do you use to judge your own work?
JG: My goal is to entertain my readers, and, at the same time, make them think about certain issues. Not all the books are issue-driven, but it's nice when a story like The Street Lawyer can, if only for a short while, make people pause and at least think about the homeless.
I judge my books before they are written. The story has to work, or I move on to something else. I outline extensively, so by the time I write chapter one I know the reader is hooked for the ride.
bn: How did your Little League team do last season? Still planning on coaching in 1999?
JG: In 1998, for the first time ever, my son's team won the championship. It was thrilling, unforgettable. Trouble was, I wasn't the coach. They ran me out of the dugout two years ago.
Instead, I'm now the Commissioner. It's a full-time job and I'm having a blast.
bn: What's your impression of the relationship between book publishing and Hollywood? How well do you feel Hollywood has portrayed your novels on the silver screen? Do you have a personal favorite?
JG: I've been very lucky in my dealings with Hollywood. Six of my books have been adapted, and almost all were enjoyable films. "The Rainmaker" was the best adaptation.
bn: Where will you be on New Year's Eve, 1999?
JG: The party's already planned. We'll be at home, here in Virginia, with friends. If the world doesn't end, then the next day we'll have a paintball war.
bn: Do you make a point to watch either of David E. Kelley's law dramas, "Ally McBeal" or "The Practice"? What do you think of them?
JG: Sorry, you're talking to the wrong person. I've seen neither show. I simply don't watch TV.
bn: Over the holidays, countless people must have asked you to describe The Testament. What word(s) did you find yourself using most frequently when answering this question?
JG: I tell people that it's a book about lawyers -- thought I'd try something different. It's a lame joke and usually good for a brief chuckle.
I don't describe my books before they're published. The plots are involved, and it would take me 20 minutes to lay the groundwork. So I demur with something banal like, "Another juicy lawyer tale," or "It's about dead lawyers. You'll love it!"
bn: Which thriller writers do you like reading? What other kinds of reading do you enjoy?
JG: John Le Carré, Robert Ludlum. I don't read a lot of thrillers. My favorite living writers are William Styron, Pat Conroy, John Le Carré, Ian McEwan, Tom Wolfe.
bn: Your new novel is set partly in Brazil; what is it about Brazil that intrigues you?
JG: I am fascinated with Brazil. It's a big, sprawling semideveloped country with more diversity than our own. The people are friendly and laid-back. I've been in São Paulo with 25 million others, and was awestruck by the enormity of the place. And I've been in the Pantanal, where life hasn't changed in the last hundred years.
I try to go at least once a year.
bn: It is 2 o'clock in the morning, and you are wide awake. What do you do to either get back to sleep or while away the time?
JG: I read Shakespeare. It puts me to sleep faster than strong tranquilizers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
John Grisham has done it again. He has created yet another exhilarating novel that will keep you on our feet from cover to cover. The Testament proves that Grisham is still among the best authors of legal thrillers, having a well-balanced plot that combines adventures and politics. After the multibillionaire Troy Phelan commits suicide, everybody is aching to know who will become the heir of his great fortune. The old man lived by himself, and the tough world of business had taught him to love nobody. When his handwritten, improvised will is read out loud to the public, the mystery is revealed. Troy Phelan decided to leave the entirety of his assets to an illegitimate, completely unknown daughter living as a missionary with a barbaric tribe in Brazil. Now it is up to the lawyer Nathan O'Riley to travel into the wilderness of South America and find the woman that has just inherited eleven billon dollars. Nate must trudge through swamps, storms, rainforests, and even malaria so that the Phelan wealth ends up with its rightful owner, and not the hands of other greedy, malicious people pursuing it. Truly, this piece is a literary work of art. IT is among the best thrillers out there, putting up a fair fight to best-selling novels like The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown, and The Husband, by Dean Koontz. It realistically depicts the world of law and finance, giving the reader tremendous insight of how the worlds of politics and business are so intricately intertwined, The novel is not only fast-paced and engaging, but also profound and critical, reflecting many flaws present in modern society. Very much like in Kane and Abel, by Jeffrey Archer, The Testament realistically depicts the extent to which money can influence an individual's character, as well as the mortal consequences of alcohol and drug addictions. Without a doubt, this New York Times Bestseller can quench the thirst of all those adrenaline addicts looking for a Grisham page-turner. Like all novels, however, The Testament is most definitely not recommendable to all audiences. Those who have extensive background knowledge on other books by John Grisham can find this literary piece to be very similar to his other works, like The Pelican Brief. Even though The Testament takes place in an exotic environment, it still revolves around the topics of laws, judges, cases, lawyers, and all the same old conflicts in Grisham's books. Additionally, this novel has very limited emotional emphasis. Romanticists in search of love stories will therefore find it to be mercilessly dry, dull, and superficial.
I have read all but one of Grisham's books. The Testament is by far my favorite. From the very first chapter this book demands your attention and devotion. Use caution while reading it because you find yourself walking and reading, cooking and reading, cleaning and reading, you get the picture. I have read this book 3 times since it was first published.
In the review for this book, Just imagine as I quote the author " The world at peace" taking a ride in The Santa Loura with Nate's Pals Jevy and Welly into the Pantanal. Jevy at the wheel, and Welly strumming his guitar and one of us, readers holding a cold beer in our right hand while laying on a hammock. Johh Grisham's "The Testament" is an amazing ride full of adventures, an elite of characters, you will come to love, but most of all, a great book that you will not soon forget. It is amazing how John Grisham creates character that are so easy to like. However, in Nate's character there are some strong surprises. His portrait of his highs and lows are beautifully described by the author. The bittersweet reunion with his little children, and Rachel Lane at the end make Nate's character one of the most likable ones. The testament is about faith, character, life, greed, and yes, the pursuit of happiness that people only can find on a higher calling. This is one book that I am sure I will read again.
The book keeps you involved from beginning to end. Great story line.
Grisham starts with a captivating person doing an extraordinary thing. Totally sucked me in. Then he dragged me across Brazil for three hundred dull, almost meaningless pages until he closed with a real nice twist. This is the seventh book I've read of John Grisham. By far the least exciting. A Time to Kill was bitching. He writes to fulfill contractual money obligations, now. It shows.
Easy to get into once you started, not something you thought about later. Surprise ending. I enjoyed the snappy lawyers, jungle mishapps, and court room warfare.
grishom starts off with his customary spellbinding tale however fails to deliver the thrilling finish.this novel gets sidetracked and tends to drag on
The first (2) chapters hook you in. However, I found myself struggling to finish the book. John Grisham has a knack for tapping into his reader's curiousity to keep you hooked. He's one of my favorite authors, but I was slightly disappointed in this one.
I have read almost all of Grisham's books to date. This certainly doesn't have the suspense and appeal that most of his other books have had (e.g. The Firm, The Client, The Partner, etc.) But neither was it a dud (as was The Summons, which is not worth even borrowing to read.) I thought The Testament was a good story (though it dragged in places) and is definitely worth buying and reading.
It seems to me that if you are going to write something, you should know what your talking about. John Grisham did NOT do his research when writing this novel. At the beginning of chapter 21, he talks about a woman born in an igloo in Newfoundland and about the native Inuit people that lived there. Newfoundland has never had igloos as it is much to warm there and they only have snow about 2-3 months out of a year. And the Inuit people never lived in Newfoundland either. They lived along the shores from from the Bering Sea to Greenland. An uneducated person does not give a good first impression.
My first Grisham novel led me to read several more, but after reading The Testament, I think it's time to give Grisham books a permanent rest. I kept reading because I was hoping the plot would thicken, but it never happened.
Pretty boring , don't waste your time on this . I have read all of his novels and The Partner , Runaway Jury were great and all his initial novels were good too , but this one and the street lawyer let me down ..
I cannot argue against the fact that this novel is definitely a page-turner and very fast paced, which makes it gripping and exciting. However, I was bothered by Grisham's ways of degrading the country in which most of the story took place. I am not from Brazil or the US, but I do sympathize with the Brazilians because Grisham has made a definite point of making it look low, poor, dirty, and full of disease. He described its people as being isolated from the modern world - and I'm not referring to the tribes, but to the cities - and living in the past. Stating the facts is one thing, but deliberate lingering over the negative details was a turn-off. There is also a general negative tone that is carried throughout the story, but it is quickly overridden by the fast pace of the action. It is a good story, interesting enough by taking place in the jungle, but I don't see why Grisham wants to spread a negative viewpoint about Brazil; there are other ways to make a story interesting without degrading other countries.
This was an uncharacteristically boring novel. The plot meandered aimlessly for most of the book and seemed to be heading nowhere. To be fair, the courtroom episodes were well written as usual. Overall a letdown.
I am a John Grisham fan. I have loved most of his books and I was disgusted with this pitiful excuse for a book, it was really his worst. The characters we were supposed to hate, were a little interesting, but the one's that we were supposed to like were bland and boring. The only part of the book that held any interest was the trip down the river in Brazil. The thing I found most offensive about this book was the missionary character. She was, in typical missionary form, trying to ruin a peaceful and ancient culture with her tunnel visioned religious notions. It was appauling. I was bored and yet offended by this book. If you want to read self-rightous Christian propoganda, then read this book, but my advise is to skip this one and hope that Grisham returns to his normal legal thriller format soon.
I didn't like this one as much as the others I've read by Grisham, although, as always, it was well written. There seemed to be a few sub-plots and characters that were never fully developed. The middle was a bit slow, it lacked suspense, and the end was disappointing.
I was loving the book which was full of excitement and adventure. I couldn't put it down because I had to see how it ended. That is when Mr. Grisham ran out of gas. After all those pages of wonderful reading, the end was VERY disappointing and uneventful. I expected more.
I've read all of Grisham's books. This is the first one that I didn't care if I finished it. The most interesting people in the story are the children and ex-wives, yet we never really get to know them.
At first I found this book rather interesting, It grips you, gets your expectations up and then its very disappointing. What a waste of time, I guess it would be good to read if you wanted to 'practice' reading, otherwise, dont waste your time.
I have read all of Grisham's books, and I think this is his best. At last we have an ending that's not only believeable but fits in with the plot of the book. His endings have always been weak but he obviously has overcome that weakness with this book. Can't wait to read the next book.
Grisham has absolutely run out of ideas. This recipe of a story is completely predictable and I had to force myself to finish. Does he really need the money? Grisham's earlier novels were fun and exciting, but now he seem to take the same plot and thinly disguise it by using different character's names. Not worth the read.
This was a great book but very predictable. I just wish that Grisham added another twist or something to make it more exciting.
This was my first Grisham novel, opening grabbed me but I found most of the book bogs down in the jungle trip, I expected more suspense. Will try another.
Where is the suspense in this C.S. Forster wannabe? Clearly Grisham's worst endeavor so far. I found myself falling asleep turning pages of what I had come to expect as another page turner. Far too predictable and moralizing. Save yourself the lack of suspense and wait for his next one.
Grisham is an interesting author to read because the only thing constant in all his books is the legal angle. Other than that, his characters – and whatever the legal issue is – are fresh and new each time. The Testament is my personal favorite. A friend recommended the book because she thought I would like it. She was absolutely right!