The Summons by John Grisham

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Ray Atlee is a professor of law at the University of Virginia. He's forty-three, newly single, and still enduring the aftershocks of a surprise divorce. He has a younger brother, Forrest, who redefines the notion of a family's black sheep.

And he has a father, a very sick old man who lives alone in the ancestral home in Clanton, Mississippi. He is known to all as Judge Atlee, a beloved and powerful official who has towered over local law and politics for forty years. No longer on the bench, the Judge has withdrawn to the Atlee mansion and become a recluse.

With the end in sight, Judge Atlee issues a summons for both sons to return home to Clanton, to discuss the details of his estate. It is typed by the Judge himself, on his handsome old stationery, and gives the date and time for Ray and Forrest to appear in his study.

Ray reluctantly heads south, to his hometown, to the place where he grew up, which he prefers now to avoid. But the family meeting does not take place. The Judge dies too soon, and in doing so leaves behind a shocking secret known only to Ray.

And perhaps someone else.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from John Grisham's The Litigators.

About John Grisham

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Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction. Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.
Published March 9, 2010 by Dell. 386 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Horror, Action & Adventure, Biographies & Memoirs. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Summons

Publishers Weekly

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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...

Apr 02 2002 | Read Full Review of The Summons

Publishers Weekly

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Beck offers a fine performance in this no-frills production of Grisham's latest, despite its lack of overall narrative zip.

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Book Reporter

Like other Grisham characters who are neither completely the hero nor the villain, Ray is thrown an ethical curve which he could not possibly be prepared to handle.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Summons

Entertainment Weekly

It's not necessarily a bad book — indeed, in some ways Grisham has never been a better-behaved writer — but ultimately it's a mystery in which the most shocking surprise turns out to be how few shocking surprises are in it.

Feb 15 2002 | Read Full Review of The Summons

Reviewing the Evidence

Some may want a return to books such as 'A Time To Kill', but in 'The Summons', Grisham has created another enjoyable tale that will no doubt top the charts for some time to come.

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Nights and Weekends

But it does present several legal questions many of us have pondered: “What would I do if...?” “What is the legality of...?” “Do I have the right to...?” Grisham fans looking for the nail-biting tension of The Client won't find that here.

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