It’s chilly and dreary in Los Gatos, California – what? You say? In sunny California? Yes! It is winter after all. I see grey clouds today as we are expecting another bout of rain. A perfect day to read a book with a hot cup of tea. Speaking of grey and book, here is a suggestion for a good read – Gray Mountain, by John Grisham. Hitesh recommended I read this book, but then he is a big fan of John Grisham. He has read every single book John Grisham has ever written. He said he likes Grisham’s style of writing because “he has a dry sense of humor and wit.” I have read a few of Grisham’s books but they have been a hit or miss for me. In one of the stories I was just not happy with the ending and that turned me off from reading a few of his newer books after that. So I wasn’t sure about this one. As I told Hitesh, “In the past I wasted my time reading the entire book only to be disappointed in the ending.” To which his reply was read at your own risk; he liked this book, and now I can decide if I wanted to read it or not.
I picked it up and read the book jacket and noticed that the protagonist was a young woman. That intrigued me because in all of Grisham’s other novels the main characters were mostly men, so this was new. Just because of that I decided to read Gray Mountain. And what a great read it was! It had everything I like in a good juicy story – bad guys, good looking characters, small town stories, mystery, thriller, a little romance sprinkled in, and best of all, it had a great ending.
What I liked about Gray Mountain is that it is set in a part of the country I know little about, the Appalachian mountains in Virginia, a part of the country where coal mining is the main industry and income/job creator for the local population. Grisham paints a vivid picture of that part of the country and more importantly opens our eyes to the business of coal mining. I knew coal mining was a rough business, but I didn’t realize how brutal coal mining is on the land and the people that work in it, and the toll coal mining takes on the surrounding community that rely on it. The story was heartbreaking in some parts to hear of the illnesses that local people suffer from because of coal mining, and to read about the damage done to local streams and rivers where laws are often broken to gain the upper hand. Grisham even delves into the government laws that protect the coal mining industry to the determent of the local population. For example, in instances where people actually win litigation against the coal industry, the payouts take a very long time, and in many cases people die before they see a penny. In cases where litigation involves cleanup of local streams and rivers, action taken here gets postponed for decades and it takes even longer to see any positive results.
I found this book to be educational in addition to having a good story. Grisham does a great job of showcasing the land, the local population, and the local politics; while intricately weaving a thrilling story of murder, cover-up, and corporate espionage. Pick up a copy of the book Gray Mountain by John Grisham and see if you like it as much as I did.
Check out an excerpt on Amazon Gray Mountain by John Grisham on Amazon