Tried to listen to this audiobook of short stories. The first story is aimless and not even good enough for a character study. I listened to the second, but could not finish the third. I just returned this audiobook without getting past the mid point of the 3rd story. The person who reads the stories sounds like he is reading a grocery list. (Or maybe I have just become more discerning after having listened to so many good books with excellent narrators.)
*** stars. In his first collection of short stories John Grisham takes us back to Ford County, Mississippi, the setting of his first novel, "A Time to Kill".
The Stories: Wheelchair-bound Inez Graney and her two older sons, Leon and Butch, take a bizarre road trip through the Mississippi Delta to visit the youngest Graney brother, Raymond, who's been locked away on death row for eleven years. It could well be their last visit. -
Mack Stafford, a hard-drinking and low-grossing run-of-the-mill divorce lawyer gets a miracle phone call with a completely unexpected offer to settle some old, forgotten cases for more money than he has ever seen. Mack is suddenly bored with the law, fed up with his wife and his life, and makes drastic plans to finally escape. - Quiet, dull Sidney, a data collector for an insurance company, perfects his blackjack skills in hopes of bringing down the casino empire of Clanton's most ambitious hustler, Bobby Carl Leach, who, among other crimes, has stolen Sidney's wife.
Three good ol' boys from rural Ford County begin a journey to the big city of Memphis to give blood to a grievously injured friend. However, they are unable to drive past a beer store as the trip takes longer and longer. The journey comes to an abrupt end when they make a fateful stop at a Memphis strip club. - The Quiet Haven Retirement Home is the final stop for the elderly of Clanton. It's a sad, languid place with little controversy, until Gilbert arrives. Posing as a lowly paid bedpan boy, he is in reality a brilliant stalker with an uncanny ability to sniff out the assets of those "seniors" he professes to love. - One of the hazards of litigating against people in a small town is that one day, long after the trial, you will probably come face-to-face with someone you've beaten in a lawsuit. Lawyer Stanley Wade bumps into an old adversary, a man with a long memory, and the encounter becomes a violent ordeal. - Clanton is rocked with the rumor that the gay son of a prominent family has finally come home, to die. Of AIDS. Fear permeates the town as gossip runs unabated. But in Lowtown, the colored section of Clanton, the young man finds a soul mate in his final days. **** John Grisham is certainly a great story teller. As a rule I do not like short story collections because I like character-driven books and want a nice long involvement with a great protagonist's life. Given that bias, an author has to grab me quickly with each new story. Grisham certainly creates believable characters and easily involves you in their actions. He is good at throwing in surprises - just when you think a story is only a drama or a comedy, Grisham shows you that he is in charge and your assumptions and expectations may be very wrong. I still prefer a novel to a collection of short stories, but recommend this book as an excellent demonstration of Grisham's skills.
The first story disc is very funny, about the trouble young rural men can get themselves into when they travel to Memphis on a good-will mission.
The other stories deal mostly with issues such as fraud in Senior Care centers and claims by people for benefits as Native Indians. The stories are socially conscious and timely. Excellent narration.
The 7 stories in this book were fair, but far from enthralling. The last 2 were the better ones, most just seem to end, without any type of conclusion. The narrator did a nice job with the accents. My conclusion is that Grisham is a much better novelist, than a short story writer.
Yikes, pretty bad unless you're into boring and grusome stories. It's a good thing his works got better with time. Admittedly, I'm not a lover of the old South. 0 of 10 stars
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