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Gray Mountain    by John Grisham order for
Gray Mountain
by John Grisham
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Wow! Have I got the book for you! We all know that any book with John Grisham as the author has to be good. Gray Mountain is really, really gooood.

Samantha Kofer's career as a lawyer is in jeopardy. It's 2008 and the recession, downturn, depression or whatever you want to call it requires that the largest law firm in the world must downsize. The law firm Samantha hoped would one day make her a partner suggests she find a charity for which she can work pro bono for a year. Surely, by then, the firm would be able to hire her back.

Sure! Like that is going to happen. She locates a legal aid clinic in Brady, Virginia in the heart of Appalachia. She fits in and is soon taking on clients seeking justice from large coal companies in the region, and trying to put an end to their methods of extracting coal from the ground. Pollution is rampant and the rate of cancer in the area is ten times higher than anywhere else in the United States.

The large coal companies are heartless and the bottom dollar is their sole concern. Samantha takes on several clients and finds herself spending time with a local lawyer who has a huge law case against one of the coal companies in progress.

Gray Mountain is spellbinding. The more I read, the more my ire rose about the rape of the gorgeous mountains. And even more so when I read of the complete disregard of the coal companies for local ecology. From keeping up with the news of the day, I knew that problems existed with these companies' methods; however, I did not realize the depths to which they might go to make a buck.

While I realize that the book I just finished is fiction, I am sure that Mr. Grisham did his homework and used a great deal of factual information with respect to conditions in Appalachia. Gray Mountain is a wake-up call - and also a very good read.

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