Monday, January 16, 2017

Best of 2016: Issue novel/thriller

Reviewed by Chris R.,
supervising librarian

After taking a break from John Grisham for a few years, I picked up Gray Mountain, and I was glad I did. A page-turner, it’s the story of a New York lawyer, Samantha Kofer, victim of the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, who goes to Appalachia to intern in order to keep her benefits (health and a bit of her paycheck). She interns for a legal aid clinic that represents a lot of coal miners with black lung fighting for their benefits against big coal companies. Enter Donovan, the nephew of the clinic’s chief lawyer. Donovan is collecting evidence (some legal, some not so legal) that will shut down coal.

A good story, and Grisham does his homework. Recently, coal was in the real news--strains of black lung stronger than what have been seen before, and numbers of victims many times higher than what has been previously reported, plus the destruction of land and water sources. I felt I could be on a real jury based on what I read in Gray Mountain.

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