When her rising career with a prominent and high profile New York law firm is put on hold for a year, Samantha Kofer is given the option to spend a year working as a volunteer with a legal aid society and return to work in a year without sacrificing her career status. Scrambling to find a position, Samantha chooses a legal aide society in rural Virginia.
The community of Brady is one that depends heavily on strip mining and its related industries. But that isn’t stopping local crusading attorney, Matthew Wyatt from going after the coal mining companies. Samantha finds herself draw to Matthew and his crusade, learning more about the tactics coal mining companies use to avoid lawsuits and legislation in the process.
Despite a promising premise and a couple of intriguing characters, Gray Mountain unfortunately quickly descend into a political statement by John Grisham that’s about as subtle as a two-by-four upside the head. The initial hook of the big-city lawyer coming to the rural area and discovering things about life and the legal issues there held a lot of promise. But once Grisham gets readers to a certain plot twist (I won’t give it away here, but I believe the book jacket does. You have been warned), Samantha goes all-in on the crusade against the mining companies and the book loses any early momentum it had.
Grisham has shown he can tell a political parable and offer social commentary without necessarily being readers over the head with his message. That isn’t the case with Gray Mountain. It mars what otherwise could have been a better than average Grisham novel. Continue reading