The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer's career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track--until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Read more...
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The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer's career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track--until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the "lucky" associates. She's offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she'd get her old job back.
In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town's legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to "help real people with real problems." For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren't so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.
Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-09-29
- Reviewer: Staff
Expect the expected in this tepid legal thriller from bestseller Grisham (Sycamore Row) that may be the debut of a series character. When Wall Street law associate Samantha Kofer loses her job in the 2008 financial meltdown, her mega-firm offers her the prospect of a return to long hours and dull work after a year's furlough as an unpaid intern for a nonprofit organization. Despite the volunteer nature of such work, Samantha discovers competition for the slots available fierce, and seizes the chance, after numerous rejections, to work at the Mountain Legal Aid Clinic in Brady, Va., population 2,200. In the Appalachian coal town, Samantha finds herself a fish out of water in more senses than one. She needs to adjust to living in a community with fewer residents than her old office building, as well as dealing with real people's problems rather than document review. Grisham movingly portrays the evils of Big Coal and the lives it has ruined, and most readers will rapidly turn the pages, but the subtlety and full-blooded characters that mark the author's best work are sadly absent. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company. (Oct.)