African American Literature,  America,  Book Reviews,  FICTION,  FOUR STARS ****,  Suspense

Sycamore Row by John Grisham **** (of 4)

Sycamore_Row_-_cover_art_of_hardcover_book_by_John_GrishamIt is the mid 1980s in Mississippi and Seth Hubbard, a cantankerous old buzzard, and self made millionaire hangs himself.  Just before setting out for a sycamore tree with a rope and a ladder, he writes a new will cutting his immediate family out of any of his inheritance.  Instead, he leaves 5% to his long-lost brother, 5% to his church, and the remaining twenty-odd million dollars to his black housekeeper of only three years, Miss Lettie Lang.  Grisham is the master of the legal thriller and he does not disappoint.  Lawyers, Hubbard family members, relatives Lettie Lang didn’t know she had all dive at the money like birds of prey.  And while the legal maneuverings informed by greed are all fascinating, what really stands apart is how unapologetically this book faces up to issues of race.  Rural Mississippi, at least in the 1980s, is defined by an undying antipathy of whites toward blacks and a history of racial discrimination so embedded it borders on toxic.  Grisham tells it like it is.