Audiobook review. Sycamore Row begins about three years after A Time to Kill left off. The main character, Jake Bergance, is still a small town lawyer in the south. He is still wary and confronted with the undercurrent of a southern mentality regarding blacks and whites. Some will call it out-and-out bigotry, some will call it a waning culture of racial bias. I suggest reading A Time to Kill first, because there are several references throughout Sycamore Row that will make more sense. The story centers on a man who amassed great wealth through primarily legitimate means, even though he led a personally colorful life. No spoilers, but this man dies early in the book, leaving the bulk of his massive wealth to his black housekeeper. This would be fine, but this resulted in his son, daughter, grandchildren, etc., all being left out of the picture completely. Much of the story takes place in the legal arena, very John Grisham, and if you enjoyed A Time to Kill, you’ll enjoy Sycamore Row. Jake Bergance is selected by the deceased man himself, to represent the estate and, at all costs, see to it that a last will and testament stands. Throughout the story, the reader will ask themselves: ‘Why would he leave nothing to his family?’, ergo the thrust of the tale.
As we all do when reading a novel, movie casting will bring Matthew McConaughey to mind because of his portrayal of Jake in A Time to Kill. This book has no where near the rape, life and death, murder and mayhem of the previous novel, it’s more a study of familial relationships, and how greed can bring out the worst in some and the best in others.
Grisham created a winning tale, taking advantage of several well-rounded characters from A Time to Kill. I personally enjoyed the story, it’s one of the better Grisham novels in several years.