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The Summons by John Grisham

The Summons (2002)

by John Grisham

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Yet another good story with a disappointing ending. It had been telegraphed, but didn't really stand up to much scrutiny. Grisham can write a good book but he rarely writes a satisfying ending. ( )
  AliceAnna | Aug 31, 2014 |
A gripping thriller set in Clanton, Mississippi where a dying mans two sons are called home, but make it there too late... ( )
  adeej | Apr 25, 2014 |
Clanton, MS and the old judge dies. The tale unwinds and leaves we read on. The narrator/reader has a southern accent which adds to the enjoyment. There is a sheriff, a ham and egg southern lawyer, a rich tort lawyer, and our hero, a U of Va law professor. There's a lawyer joke in there somewhere--how many lawyers does it take....? I enjoyed the read/listen and will continue with Grisham. ( )
  buffalogr | Feb 22, 2014 |
I used to read John Grisham's book when they came out. His books are enjoyable, very readable, but similar to each other, not memorable. Quite a few years ago I decided to take a break as they were running together.

Over the last couple months, I have been in a reading slump; not finding good, readable books. I thought a Grisham book was what I needed. Using LibraryThing's features: Grisham's books in my catalog, and the list of all Grisham books; I found the first book I thought I had yet to read: The Summons.

I read 50 to 100 pages, liking the book, happy with my Grisham Plan. I went to LibraryThing to enter it into my catalog. It was already there! I checked my folder of hand written notes of books I read, and rechecked my LibraryThing catalog, confirming this ironic event. I had read this book, but I had forgotten it.

That really is a perfect review of what I think about most Grisham book: you could probably read one you had read 10+years ago, enjoy it, and not remember the plot. I am off to read my next Grisham now, one I am certain I have not read before. ( )
  mainrun | Nov 30, 2013 |
Grisham is an uneven writer, at least to my taste. Some of his books I really liked; others have been less entertaining. This one is excellent and doesn’t even have a murder.

Ruben Atley was a highly respected judge. He had two sons: Ray and Forrest. Ray was a legal ethics professor at the University of Virginia making a good salary; Forrest had been a serious thorn in the judge’s side since adolescence and wandered from one rehab program to another trying to kick assorted addictive habits.

Ray gets a call from his father asking him to come to Mississippi right away. Knowing the judge has terminal cancer and has been in great pain for several months, Ray leaves right away only to arrive at the family’s old house in time to find the judge had died on the couch in his office. On the desk was a holographic will leaving everything to his two sons and making Ray the executor. Ray calls the appropriate authorities and then, while waiting for his brother to arrive, goes through the house and the judge’s papers in preparation for the will’s probate. The judge had been meticulous in his records, keeping track of all his cases, and had been in the habit of giving away what little money he had to assorted good causes. There had never been even the whiff of a scandal who had a sterling reputation. So it came as a huge shock for Ray to discover $3,000,000 in $100 bills stacked neatly in stationery boxes behind the sofa. Not knowing what to think or do, Ray bags up the money and hides it in the trunk of his car. He didn’t want to sully the reputation of his father, but there seemed to be nothing other than a sordid explanation for such a huge amount of cash.

There’s a snag. Someone else knows about the money and leaves threatening messages ordering him to return the cash to its hiding place. Ray decides to find out if the money is counterfeit or marked in some way so he takes it back to Virginia in his car, driving very carefully, I might add.

He’s assured of the money’s legitimacy after using some of it to gamble with and by surreptitiously and duplicitously checking with the Treasury Department. He hides the money in fireproof boxes in storage sheds, possessively and obsessively checking on it almost hourly. He does not tell his brother of the find, rationalizing that Forrest would only blow it up his nose anyway. As the notes continue, he begins to worry he is being followed, so he hires a detective to watch his back, but evidence of the watcher(s) continues unabated. He loads the money back into the trunk of his car and decides to find out where the money could have come from.

I hate giving anything away, so I’ll only reveal that it involves a huge tort case, the judge is squeaky clean, the brothers’ relationship gets more interesting and complex, no one gets murdered, and the ending involves a comeuppance that is quite satisfactory
( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
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It came by mail, regular postage, the old-fashioned way since the Judge was almost eighty and distrusted modern devices.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385339593, Paperback)

Law professor Ray Atlee and his prodigal brother, Forrest, are summoned home to Clanton, Mississippi, by their ailing father to discuss his will. But when Ray arrives the judge is already dead, and the one-page document dividing his meager estate between the two sons seems crystal clear. What it doesn't mention, however, is the small fortune in cash Ray discovers hidden in the old man's house--$3 million he can't account for and doesn't mention to brother Forrest, either.

Ray's efforts to keep his find a secret, figure out where it came from, and hide it from a nameless extortioner, who seems to know more about it than he does, culminate in a denouement with an almost biblical twist. It's a slender plot to hang a thriller on, and in truth it's not John Grisham's best in terms of pacing, dramatic tension, and interesting characters (except for Harry Rex, a country lawyer who was the judge's closest friend and in many ways is the father Ray wishes he'd had. He's so vivid he jumps off the page). But Grisham's legions of fans are likely to enjoy The Summons even if it lacks the power of some of his classic earlier books, like The Firm, The Brethren, and The Testament. --Jane Adams

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:06 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Ray Atlee and his brother, Forrest, receive a letter from their father, a reclusive, retired judge, instructing them to return home to Clanton, Mississippi, to discuss his estate, but the judge dies before his sons arrive, leaving behind a secret known only to Ray.… (more)

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