Rated of 5
by Michael Hickerson
John Grisham novels have ranked anywhere from mediocre ("The Client") to out and out great ("A Time to Kill") and a lot of places in between.
The latest book, "The Summons" is a return to Grisham's roots in the legal thriller, after two books off to try and stretch his artistic wings as it were. And for what it's trying to be "The Summons" delivers--it's a great beach book and a nicely done page-turner. That said, the book comes off as more a greatest hits complitation of early Grisham novels, on the off-chance you somehow missed "The Firm" or "The Pelican Brief" way back when. And that's a shame really because Grisham has some interesting ideas here begging to get out. You've got the usual Grisham hero who is in over his head and trying to figure out what in the name of God is going on, all the while pursued by mysterious forces. There's a big mystery, though it's fairly obvious how it will all be resolved about half-way through the novel. (Indeed, the novels twist ending is not so much of a twist as the feeling of--well, aren't I smart that I figured that out 150 pages before the characters did). The characters are one-dimensional and don't stay with you beyond the page they're on. A lot of the minor character blur together, but honestly, you can keep reading and not miss a thing.
This one is bubble-gum for the brain, pure and simple. It's a fast read and a great one for by the pool, summer reading. But it's not up the best Grisham has done.