Ray Atlee, a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, is forty-three and newly single. His father, a very sick old man who lives the life of a recluse in the ancestral home in Clanton, Mississippi, was once a beloved and powerful official who towered over local law and politics for many years. With the end in sight, Judge Atlee issues a ...Read MoreRay Atlee, a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, is forty-three and newly single. His father, a very sick old man who lives the life of a recluse in the ancestral home in Clanton, Mississippi, was once a beloved and powerful official who towered over local law and politics for many years. With the end in sight, Judge Atlee issues a summons to Ray to return home to Clanton, to discuss the details of the family estate. Ray reluctantly heads south, but the family meeting does not take place. The Judge dies too soon, and in doing so leaves behind a shocking secret which Ray believes only he knows. Until it becomes clear that someone else knows too...Read Less
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This may be the best book by this well known author. The story returns to Clanton, MS and picks up on old characters he has used in past novels. Pace and timing of the narrative are super. HIghley recommend
Feb 27, 2009
John Grisham?s forte has always been creating sympathetic yet flawed characters. He returns to form in The Summons. Ray Atlee is a decent enough law professor recently wronged in a divorce--moderately successful if not deliriously happy. When he returns home (summoned) he finds his father deceased and three million dollars in 27 cardboard boxes in the closet.
Shock and awe soon become increasingly replaced by greed and paranoia. Does he report it to the IRS? Does he split it with his alcoholic brother? Where did the money come from? What was his father into? It is easy to root for Ray even as he makes his predictable mistakes. This is good Grisham.
Jul 18, 2008
Ray Atlee is the good son of retired Judge Atlee, and an attorney in his own right--now a law professor in Virginia. Forrest Atlee is the black sheep of the family; heavy into all kinds of drugs and boose. Judge Atlee has disowned them both; Forrest for his life style, and Ray because he wouldn't enter practice with his father. Now Judge Atlee is dying and he summons both sons home to discuss his will. Ray arrives at the time and date only to find his father on the sofa, dead. Forrest doesn't show up , which doesn't surprise Ray at all. Ray finds a one page will on the judges desk that makes him the executor of the estate, which as far as Ray knows amounts to just the house. Ray rummages around the house hoping Forrest will show up and finds box after box filled with $100 dollor bills, a total of over $3,000,000. Ray doesn't know what to do with it. Is is legal? The book is about him finding out if it is legal or not, and finding out he isn't the only one who knows about it. As usual, a great story from Grisham.
Apr 3, 2007
I loved this book. I looked forward to reading each day. It keeps you wondering what will happen right throughout. Excellent writing . One of Grisham's best
Publishers Weekly, 2002-04-01 Beck offers a fine performance in this no-frills production of Grisham's latest, despite its lack of overall narrative zip. University of Virginia law professor Ray Atlee stumbles upon more than $3 million in cash in the rural Mississippi house of his dead father, then tries to discover the source of the money and elude an increasingly persistent and menacing extortionist. Beck is a dynamic reader and excels at tackling the challenge of capturing the characters' Southern twang in the story's dialogue. Ray's voice is refined and authoritative, while that of his black sheep brother, Forrest, carries a slight crack that befits a person lacking in confidence and maturity. Family friend and local lawyer Harry Rex stands out the most, and Beck also deftly portrays a smarmy, boozing Delta attorney who calls himself the "King of the Torts." But even with these intriguing, well-rounded characters and a nice evocation of the legal system's more unsavory machinations, the plot won't move listeners to the edge of their seats. Beck, however, does well with what he has, which is a decently written but rather sluggish tale of suspense with a quirky cast and one good twist at the end. Simultaneous release with the Doubleday hardcover (Forecasts, Feb. 4). (Feb.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-02-04 Last year's historical family drama A Painted House and the Christmas satire Skipping Christmas demonstrated that Grisham is willing to take risks. But fans of his legal thrillers already knew that, with his last three, particularly The Testament, making Play-Doh of the rules of the genre. Sometimes Grisham's friskiness works, and sometimes it doesn't. There's much to admire in his newest thriller, particularly his colorful evocation of a Deep South legal setting, his first use of this milieu since his debut novel, A Time to Kill, and some finely drawn characters. Even so, this isn't one of his most satisfying books, for while the narrative engages, it never catches fire. The setup is prime Grisham: Ray Atlee, a professor of law at the University of Virginia, is summoned home to Clanton, Miss., to the deathbed of his father, legendary judge Reuben V. Atlee; also summoned is Ray's younger brother, Forrest, a chronic drug abuser. Ray arrives home first, to find the judge dead and more than $3 million stored in boxes in a cabinet cash not mentioned in the judge's will and whose source baffles Ray. Grisham does a wonderful job of digging into Ray's increasingly frazzled head as, stunned, the professor decides to keep the money a secret, even from Forrest, and to safeguard it until he figures out what to do. Greed, frayed nerves and fear plague Ray during the coming weeks, as he investigates, scrambling from one hideout to the next, becoming ever more aware that someone dangerous is following him and wants the money. Several scenarios Ray's indulging his passion for flying small planes; his playing some of the cash at casinos to test it for counterfeiting; his dealings with screwed-up Forrest and his father's cronies, notably an ex-mistress and a wily old attorney propel the story, and Ray, forward to the source of the money, a revelation that allows Grisham to take his usual swipes at big lawyerism but which will register for many as anticlimactic though there's a final twist that as nifty and unexpected as anything Grisham has wrought. Grisham's writing is silky smooth here, his storytelling captivating; but the novel's lack of action a stone thrown through a window is as violent as it gets and the dissipation of all tension too far from the end make this, while a clever tale, one that's just too quiet. Grisham's fans might as well trim their nails while reading this, because they sure won't be biting them. (On sale Feb. 4) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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