Gray Mountain

Gray Mountain

Book - 2014
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The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer's career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track, until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the (3z(Blucky(3y (Bassociates. She's offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she'd get her old job back. In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town's legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to (3z(Bhelp real people with real problems.(3y (BFor the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren't so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets. Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, ©2014.
ISBN: 9780385537148
Characteristics: 368 pages ;,24 cm.


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Mar 23, 2019

This book is terrible. Plot isn’t that great. Character lacks a pulse. Story line never really takes off. The ending sucks too. If you want to learn about the corruption of the coal industry then this is the book for you... then again you could just google that information.

Oct 17, 2018

One of his best books that I have read.

Apr 02, 2018

Sometimes Grisham wants to tell a great story. Other times he wants to expose another seamy underbelly of the legal profession. Rarely, he writes both at the same time. I put this effort Gray Mountain, somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. It is indeed a polemic against the coal mining industry, and he does it without too much speechifying. The protagonist, a lawyer (surprise!) moves the story as she is exposed to some of the wretched workings of the coal industry, and her reluctant transformation from Big City lawyer to hard working Appalachian lawyer.

It is not his finest work, but it is an enjoyable, quick read,.

Dec 08, 2017

Great read! Couldn't put it down. Highly recommend!

Dec 08, 2017

Good premise, but somewhat disappointing. Too predictable. Not enough expansion of characters and story having to do with the cases. If Strip Mining is the big evil, get after it. Shallow characters, having flings, not much intelligence, capricious, nor morals. I like Grisham's books, but, he needs to flesh out, but some with morals, his characters, especially those in lead roles. He seems to be targeting an easy audience, made up up of those who are rudderless, just in it all for themselves. Devil may care.

Oct 13, 2017

This is one of those times where I remember that I am just not the audience for mainstream novels.

This is a perfectly serviceable tale. Samantha is a lawyer at a prestigious New York law firm - right up until the housing crash. She's driven to maintain her life as it is, but she's not particularly driven in any other way. Samantha is a child of two other lawyers, and neither of them (a government employee and a former ambulance-chaser trial lawyer, disbarred) inspire her a lot.

She's laid off, but given the option of working for free at a nonprofit somewhere and finds herself in Appalachia. Suddenly she's thrown from paperwork and research into dealing face to face with poor people who are being thrown out of their houses and the coal barons' lawyers who are destroying the environment.

It's not a secret where Grisham's sympathies lie. Nor is it a surprise at any point in the novel. Literally nothing that happens is a shock. It's well-crafted, but it's like a tape measure: as it unrolls, you know what's coming next. Every pin is set up to be knocked down. You know X character(s) is/are going to die. You know what Samantha will end up doing in the end. You know who is going to end up as the love interest. It's all by the numbers.

I asked on Facebook what people see in this author. The responses were "Predictability" and "I liked his early stuff." And I can see that! I have no quibble with the way it's set up, but I could have wished for at least one surprise, and more showing and less telling.

Three of five stars, because wow, I can see the talent... but it's not what I'm looking for.

Jul 14, 2017

Grisham never ceases to entertain with his books. They are an easy read, gripping and at the same time entertaining. He provides an interesting look into the US legal system albeit fiction.

Jul 07, 2017

So nice to read, a woman lead role who does not want to GET a man.

Mar 15, 2017

I'm not sure why this book was rated 1 star (when I looked March, 2017). I read it months ago and it's a well written, tauntly plotted thriller, just what you'd expect from Grisham. It is worth a minimum of 4 stars and imo, 5 stars.

BarbarajamesR Nov 08, 2016

I disagree the comments. I like Samantha even thought she would not do too much courtroom drama. She had strong character and feeling for her clients.

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Dec 09, 2014

“Oh, you haven’t seen anything yet. They’ll threaten you in court, out of court, in the hallways, on the phone, by e-mail, fax, or in court filings. Doesn’t matter. They’re bullies and brutes, just like their clients, and for the most part they get away with it.”
“I don’t want to hear this, Jeff. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life in prison?” “I’m not going to.” “Famous last words.”

Dec 09, 2014

Chester said, “It’s a favorite trick in the coalfields. A company mines the coal, then goes bankrupt to avoid payments and the reclamation requirements. Sooner or later they usually pop up with another name. Same bad actors, just a new logo.”
it's legal because it's not specifically illegal.
we can have all the cheap energy we can eat. Every person in this country uses twenty pounds of coal each day.

Dec 09, 2014

“No, nothing is guaranteed. Frankly, no one is smart enough to predict where we’ll be next year. We’re in the middle of an election, Europe is going to hell, the Chinese are freaking out, banks are folding, markets are crashing, nobody’s building or buying. The world’s coming to an end.”
“Okay, litigation funders are private companies that raise money from their investors to buy into big lawsuits. For example, let’s say a small software company is convinced one of the big guys, say Microsoft, has stolen its software, but there’s no way the small company can afford to sue Microsoft and go toe-to-toe in court. Impossible. So the small company goes to a litigation fund, and the fund reviews the case, and if it has merit, then the fund puts up some serious cash for legal fees and expenses.


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Apr 09, 2015

Story of the west virgina coal mines with the usual battle between attorneys. A good read.

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