I’m a sucker for a John Grisham novel, and this one delivers everything you expect from one of his books. Once again we visit Jake Brigance, who has been assigned to represent Drew Gamble, a 16 year old boy accused of killing a Sheriff’s deputy. The trial tears the town apart, and Jake and his family are thrust smack in the middle of the controversy.
The dead Sheriff’s deputy was a good officer and popular. He came from a big family that wants vengeance. Most of the town wants a quick trial, a fast guilty verdict, and Drew sentenced to death. Jake is reluctant to get sucked into another death penalty case, but no other attorney will touch it. After investigating the facts, Jake sees a different side to the story and is determined to save Drew.
The book has all of the usual shenanigans associated with a Jake Brigance book. He’s smart, cunning and just this shy of unethical. He loves sticking it to “the man”, and revels in pulling one over on them. The town serves as another character in the book, and you can feel the tension build as the book progresses. Even though the book did bog down a bit in places, it is still a quick and easy read.
I’m sad if this is the last Jake Brigance book. Even though it seems he’s saying goodbye to the character, hopefully he’ll write another one in the future. This was a fun, escapist book to read. And there’s nothing wrong with that.