I can’t believe the fall season has started. I never got to write my monster post about Arrow/Flash over the summer as I had intended.
John Grisham is a talented writer. Though I tend to prefer Turow’s novels because I have a special appreciation for his building of Kindle County, Grisham’s work over the years has proven to be very versatile. The last two audiobooks I’ve read are his and they outline this.
The Confession is a soapbox novel. Grisham wants to rail against the death penalty (no politics), so he sets up a classic (Probably) Innocent Man On Death Row story. Grisham is more interested in preaching than telling an interesting story, which is a fault to be sure, but given the constraints of what he is trying to accomplish, he does it pretty well. A better example of Grisham’s talents here are The Appeal and King of Torts, wherein Grisham takes on elected judiciaries and class action lawsuits respectively. At its worst it does get preachy, but remains engaging throughout (in part because his stories don’t actually guarantee a happy ending.
The Confession was particularly dark, and by the time I was done with it, I was really in the mood for something different. Unfortunately, circumstances left me needing to go straight to his next book, which was The Litigators, which was a breath of fresh air. Right after a dark book about the dark side of our judicial system, he put out a fun and engaging book about a dysfunctional law firm inadvertently absorbing a Big Law associate who cracked. It seemed that Grisham needed the same mental shower after his previous book that I did. He’s had other books in this vein as well, such as The Brethren about three disgraced judges-turn-conmen who inadvertently get dirt on the next President of the United States.
Not all of his books are great, for sure. He’s hit-and-miss. But he rather unfairly has a reputation for being a one-note Charlie.
Relatedly, while I prefer Scott Turow’s Kindle series, I’m a bit bummed at the infrequency of his books. I sort of feel like if he doesn’t write more about Kindle County, I wish he would let someone else.
What are you reading and/or watching?