Sycamore Row by John Grisham Review

Sycamore Row

Sycamore Row is nothing short of brilliant!

Sycamore Row is a legal thriller written by the man who does them best, John Grisham. It is the sequel to A Time To Kill.

With millions of dollars on the line Jake Brigance is back for another massive jury trial. He must defend the last will and testament of a client he has never met at all costs.

“Fight them, Mr Brigance, to the bitter end. We must prevail.”

Reclusive Seth Hubbard is dying and in a lot of pain so decides to end it all by committing suicide. He hangs himself from a sycamore tree. If that isn’t enough of a shock to the people of Ford County in Mississippi, the hand written will by the deceased certainly will be!

In October 1988, Jake Brigance receives a package from the deceased the day after his death with his new will and instructions of what to do. Jake had never met or heard of Seth until the letter named Jake as the attorney for his estate which leaves nothing to his children or grandchildren but 90% of his massive fortune to his black housekeeper, Lettie Lang. This is Mississippi is America’s south where the Klan are still active so it is not going to go down well and the family are going to put up a big fight.

Why has Seth left everything to his housekeeper that he has only known for 3 years and cut out his own children? A white man in the south leaving everything to his black housekeeper – he can’t have been in his right mind – or was he? As there was a previous will leaving everthing to his children, which Seth renounces, Jake now has a fight on his hands to prove that Seth knew exactly what he was doing and the Lettie should get the bulk of the estate (in excess of $24 million).

The fight becomes more than money but about racial prejudices as well.

Overall, Sycamore Row is nothing short of brilliant. John Grisham is an excellent writer of legal thrillers and this does not disappoint. It is exciting, packed with tension, lies and secrets. Not a single page of this 447 page novel was disappointing. While the first half of the book is spent building up a picture of the characters, for me, it made them come alive. The second half of the book is the courtroom battle and really livens up.

A sensational and superb courtroom drama that also deals with politics of racism in America’s Deep South from the 1930’s to 1988 with plenty of twists, turns and subplots to keep you entertained. And with characters that we know and love or hate from A Time To Kill, such as the deplorable Harry Rex Vonner and the drunkard Lucien Willbanks, they will always keep your attention.

Although a sequel to the popular A Time To Kill you do not need to have read it (or seen the film) to follow the story.

Highly recommended.

Rating: 5/5

RRP: £19.99 (hardback) / £7.99 (paperback) / £4.99 (Kindle edition)

Available to buy from Amazon here.

For more information about John Grisham and his books visit


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