Sycamore Row (The Jake Brigance)
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Don’t miss an original essay by John Grisham in the back of the book.
John Grisham takes you back to where it all began. One of the most popular novels of our time, A Time to Kill established John Grisham as the master of the legal thriller. Now we return to Ford County as Jake Brigance finds himself embroiled in a fiercely controversial trial that exposes a tortured history of racial tension.
Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County’s most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises many more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?
Praise for Sycamore Row
“Powerful . . . immensely readable . . . the best of his books.”—The Washington Post
“Welcome back, Jake. . . . [Brigance] is one of the most fully developed and engaging characters in all of Grisham’s novels.”—USA Today
“One of [Grisham’s] finest . . . Sycamore Row is a true literary event.”—The New York Times Book Review
feel. I just wish we weren’t here. I wish Seth had given Lettie some money if he wanted to, then taken care of his family, even if he didn’t like them. Can’t say as I blame him. But I don’t care how bad they are, they don’t deserve nothing.” “Fay?” Fay Pollan evoked less sympathy than anyone else in the room, maybe with the exception of Frank Doley. She said, “I’m not too concerned about his family. They’ve probably got more money than most of us, and they’re young and educated. They’ll be
issues involved in a will contest and made cautious predictions as to what might happen. Knowing Judge Atlee and his distaste of lingering cases and slow lawyers, Jake believed a trial, assuming there was one, would take place within the next twelve months, probably sooner. With so much at stake, the losing party would certainly appeal, so tack on two more years before a final outcome. As Lettie began to grasp the ordeal and how long it might take, her resolve stiffened and she gathered her
tucked tight around the defense table was an assemblage of lawyers in nice suits. Beyond the bar and scattered across the rows of ancient wooden pews, there was an impressive crowd, its collective curiosity piqued. Judge Atlee said, “Before we get started, it’s best to understand where we are and what we’d like to accomplish here today. We’re not here because of a motion filed by anyone. That’ll happen later. Today our goal is to put together a plan to proceed. As I understand it, Mr. Seth
envelope, the end opposite the return address, close to the stamp but far enough away to preserve everything. There was the possibility he was holding evidence. He would copy everything later. He squeezed the envelope slightly and shook it until the folded papers fell out. He was aware of an increased heart rate as he carefully unfolded the sheets. Three of them, all plain white, nothing fancy, no letterhead. He pressed the creases and laid the papers flat on the desk, then he picked up the top
me, Lettie, we will learn to despise him. He seems to be a nice guy now, but you won’t be able to stand the sight of him before this is over.” The thought of a long fight seemed to deflate Lettie. Four hours into the initial skirmish, and she was already exhausted. During lunch, two ladies from the clerk’s office assembled a small artificial Christmas tree and placed it at the far rear corner of the courtroom. From where Jake was sitting at the table, he had a clear, unobstructed view of the