Sparring Partners by John Grisham

This book is comprised of three novellas.  I enjoy novellas.  Individually they are called  “Homecoming,”   “Strawberry Moon,” and the longest, “Sparring Partners.”  

Sparring Partners
by John Grisham
2022 /  9h 57m
Read by Jeff Daniels , Ethan Hawke , January LaVoy 
Rating: 9.5 / crime, but no mysteries or procedurals etc

“John Grisham is about as good a storyteller as we’ve got in the United States these days.” —The New York Times Book Review

Homecoming About 3 years ago “Marco” pulled a fast one and left his law practice, along with his wife and children in the fictional Clanton, Mississippi. He headed south and lived well for those years, but now he wants to come home – without getting caught.   

Strawberry Moon –  Cody Wallace is on death row awaiting execution.  He was put in jail at age 14 and he wasn’t even the one who pulled the trigger.  He’s been there for about 10 years and now all avenues of appeal and/or clemency have failed. These are his very last days. He has no family or friends. He has 2 visitors one of whom is a minister. He gets his last meal, a frozen pizza and a milkshake.  

I’m very curious about the inception of this particular story.  Grisham is very much opposed to the death penalty and he’s pretty vocal. I have a feeling he’s had personal experience with death row inmates. 

Sparring Partners – An aging lawyer, Bolton Malloy, is in prison for killing his wife – he pleaded guilty to manslaughter. His sons, who dislike him and each other, are now running the firm but Bolton made them sign a contract so they can’t get out without enormous cost to themselves.  Rusty Malloy loves the courtroom and pushes things resulting in huge losses. Kirt enjoys office work – taxes and so on but his marriage has fallen apart and his divorce looks like it’s going to be quite expensive.  They’ve always been very different as well as competitive. Diantha, another attorney, has actually run the firm for years, it’s simply by default since the brothers can barely speak civilly to each other. She’s pivotal.   

Rusty currently has a trial going. There’s been an offer made to settle what could be a seriously high pay-off.  Rusty thinks his client deserves and can get more than what has been offered so Rusty won’t settle.  But – it gets complicated.

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