Gray Mountain

Gray Mountain

by John Grisham


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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 is downsized, furloughed, and escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, all for a slim chance of getting rehired.
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. Samantha’s new job takes her into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack. But some of the locals aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town, and within weeks Samantha is engulfed in litigation that turns deadly. Because like most small towns, Brady harbors big secrets that some will kill to conceal.
Praise for Gray Mountain
“[An] important new novel . . . superior entertainment.”The Washington Post
“Powerful . . . a satisfying, old-fashioned, good guy/bad guy legal thriller.”The Christian Science Monitor
“Yes, Gray Mountain is fiction. But after reading the book, you’ll believe heroic action must be taken.”USA Today
“Grisham has written one of his best legal dramas.”—Associated Press

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101964873
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/18/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 60,800
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

John Grisham is the author of twenty-seven novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and five novels for young readers.


Oxford, Mississippi, and Albemarle County, Virginia

Date of Birth:

February 8, 1955

Place of Birth:

Jonesboro, Arkansas


B.S., Mississippi State, 1977; J.D., University of Mississippi, 1981

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Excerpted from "Gray Mountain"
by .
Copyright © 2015 John Grisham.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.


Barnes & Noble Review Interview with John Grisham

What is your earliest memory of writing a story?

I wrote a story in college and submitted it to Reader's Digest. They chose not to publish it, and for good reason.

When and where do you write? What does your workspace look like?

I write from roughly 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., more when I'm facing the deadline. Five days a week, with plenty of time off. My office is in an old building just behind our farmhouse. It has no phone, no fax, no Internet, a lot of silence.

Why did you want to write about the Great Recession of 2008 in Gray Mountain?

The story starts with the Great Recession but quickly moves away from it. I was fascinated by the way some of the big firms, both law and banking, treated their bright young stars.

What was your proudest moment as an attorney?

My first murder case. I was 27 years old, defending a really good guy who had killed a really bad guy in self-defense. The jury believed us, and rightfully so. I walked him out of the courtroom, a free man.

There's a popular line from The Rainmaker: "I'm alone and outgunned, scared and inexperienced, but I'm right.? Can recall an early moment in your career, as either a novice lawyer or writer, when you knew that you were right, despite the odds against you?

That's brilliant - are you sure I wrote that? defended a guy in federal court one time on some vague and trumped-up charges. The government had plenty of lawyers and firepower. They ran over us, and the guy went to prison. That stuck with me for a long time.

Do you feel a certain ownership of the legal thriller genre, given how massive it has become in the wake of your success?

None whatsoever. I didn't invent the genre — not sure who did — but Scott Turow took it to a much higher level with Presumed Innocent in 1987. It's too vast for any one author to claim.

As a baseball fan, what are your favorite memories of the game, either as a spectator or participant? I have no fond memories as a player. I was usually on the bench. I was, and still am, a huge Cardinals fan. During the 1968 World Series, the Cardinals were defending their title against the Tigers. In game one, Bob Gibson was on the mound for the Cardinals. It was an early afternoon game, and my mother called the school and said I needed to come home for some family reason. I sprinted home, got there just in time for the first pitch, in black-and-white. Gibson struck out 17, still a series record. I vividly remember sitting on the floor, in front of the television, in heaven, while my buddies were still in class.

You served for eight years in the Mississippi House of Representatives. What does the average citizen not know about the lives and work of their politicians? What would they be surprised to know about what happens behind the scenes?

A smart guy once said that making laws is a lot like making sausage - you'd be shocked if you watched it. The average citizen does not comprehend (1) the influence of money, (2) the influence of sex, (3) the fear of not getting re-elected, (4) how that fear permeates most of what politicians do, (4) how many laws are actually on the books, (5) how so few of the politicians really understand or actually read those laws, and I could go on and on. Needless to say, I have never missed it.

You recently told the New York Times that you wish someone else would write your next five legal thrillers. While that statement may have been tongue-in-cheek, does it suggest that you're looking to pursue other genres ahead of thrillers these days?

No. I will continue to stray into smaller books - sports, comedy - but I'll never get too far away from the legal thriller.

What do you do to relax?

I took up golf a few years ago, sort of as a new hobby to help me relax. After five years with the game, my blood pressure is up, I'm on anti-depressants, I'm in anger management, I'm drinking more than I should, and I've lost friends. So much for relaxing. Just kidding, for the most part. I play a lot of golf, travel with my wife and family, and take long walks on the farm with nice cigars. On good days, the writing can be relaxing.

Is there a book that you've not written but would like to try your hand at? What haven't you yet done that you want to do as a writer?

There are many great nonfiction stories I would like to pursue, but I doubt I will. The research takes so much time, and I'm just too lazy.

What is the best advice you've received as a writer?

Just after The Firm was published in 1991, a young executive for Waldenbooks (remember them?) casually made the statement: 'The big guys come out every year.' I wanted to be a big guy, so I hustled back to Mississippi and finished The Pelican Brief in 60 days.

October 28, 2014

Customer Reviews

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Gray Mountain 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 579 reviews.
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
John Grisham’s GRAY MOUNTAIN, a suspenseful and powerful legal thriller of a young city girl, heading south; lands in rural Virginia, in the middle of Big Coal evil corruption, and a community left defenseless under their control. Samantha Kofer loses her Wall Street job in commercial real estate law with a top firm, after the collapse, during the recession. Washington native, graduate of Georgetown and Columbia Law, she was a third-year associate at a huge New York law firm, working around the clock, making the big bucks; however, she finds herself unsatisfied, her lifestyle eating up her income, and no savings to tide her over for the next year. In order to retain her status for a year at the firm, and maintain her health insurance, she needs to take on a year legal aid internship for a non-profit. She finds herself getting one reject after another, and just as she is about to give up, she accepts a position with Mountain Legal Aid Clinic in Brady, VA, in the middle of a poor Appalachian coal mining town. Definitely a culture shock; however, she quickly finds there are some deep problems and a great need for legal assistance, in this community. Many lives have been destroyed by the coal mining business - every kind of cancer and contamination, and sickness you can list. However, no one seems to be able to win as they try and fight the Goliath giant. No one seems to protect the interest of the miners, ones who have breathed in the chemicals and are entitled to disability payments. Of course, as most big corporate giants, they have the funds to tie up legal cases for years in court and the system; thereby delaying funds until they die or give up the fight, or wear them down, not having the funds to continue. Of course, the doctors, prosecutors, judges, politicians, and regulators are all in the back pocket of these big players, furthermore making it difficult to fight for their rights. Samantha finds herself drawn to the fight, and to the people, as she gets personally involved with assisting the team in a legal capacity, as they fight for their rights against the powerful and evil Big Coal business. In the process, she learns more about herself, and finds her purpose in life, without the frills of the big city. GRAY MOUNTAIN is much more than a legal thriller, as offers a human interest side and dynamics with the victims, the families, the community, the beauty of the area, the poverty, and the lives of the attorneys and families fighting to protect them. GRAY MOUNTAIN is a captivating and engaging read; highly recommend. I listened to the audiobook and the performer, Catherine Taber was an excellent voice for Sam. GRAY MOUNTAIN is a captivating and engaging read; highly recommend. I listened to the audiobook and the performer, Catherine Taber was an excellent voice for Sam. Welcome back, John, you have been missed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I realized too late in this narritive that the story was never going to take off.Predictable outcome when one realized with only 60 pages left nothing would add any excitement.I read for entertainment this was ho hum.
usmc_brat More than 1 year ago
This was really disappointing. It was basically an introduction to Samantha Kofer. Obviously there will be another book with this character. There just wasn't enough meat to the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For info on coal mining it is good, but for a good story to read do not bother
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love books by this author. However. I gave up reading this one a third of the way into it. I was bored and found very little to hold my interest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of John Grisham writings and I will probably continue to read his books. Grey Mountain was dissapointing, the narative was monotonous and anticlamatic. I would have liked to have had some closure to some of the cases. It left you in a limbo. I am sure there will be a sequel but I will not be buying them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kept asking myself, did Grisham really write this book? To me it was so elementary for a John Grisham mystery. I was surprised by the amount of sex that was included. When you get to the last 60 or so pages and realize that he is getting ready to end the story, it was like he just chopped off the end and got tired of writing.      
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was definitely not worth the money. Just kind of stops. It could have taken so many good paths with all the conspiracies. Would like to have seen some in court action with the coal companies. Just really a big let down from Grisham. He has definitely produced better in the past. Huge disappointment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Usually a Grisham fan, but this one is a waste of time. Boring, liberal, sexually explicit (thankfully not typical for this author), and it's difficult to care about any of the characters. You can do better, John!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have waited and waited for this book, Huge disappointment. Very slow to start. Did not like the characters. No excitement that is usually associated with his books. Did not like the ending. I was just waiting for this book to pick up and....oh well. I will wait for next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yeah really?. Already said by many others,but what happened here? I've read every Grisham book and this one was like someone else wrote it. What is really wierd is that it just ended so abruptly in the middle of many story lines. Another 100 pages and this could have been much better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasted my money on a book i thought that was good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading Gray Mountain, Part l. Can't help feeling that somewhere on Mr. Grisham's desk is the end of the story. No courtroom scenes, no feuding lawyers, no doddering judges. Just a diatribe on the evils of large corporations and lawyers in shiny black suits. All in all, not a completely bad book, just not a finished book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book and learned a lot. However, agreeing with some other reviewers, there was no closure. There were too many subplots left hanging. I was expecting more. Disappointed.
msue More than 1 year ago
Extremely disappointed in this book. I wasted my money on this one. In the past have enjoyed his books, but this one went too far into his liberal political views which are not mine. Greatly disappointed me. He should stay with a good story and not try to tell people how bad the coal industry and every other industry is. Big disappointment and may not buy any more of his books
BBLB More than 1 year ago
After an absorbing first half, this book devolved into repetitive droning. The initial setup story of a hotshot young female Wall Street attorney falling victim to the economic meltdown held my interest. But asking me to believe that this same ambitious, status seeking highrise condo dweller immediately became enticed to stay with non-profit work in a coal mining town was almost comical. About two thirds of the way through the story became so predictable that I didn't believe there was anything else to discover and I put it down for good. Here's hoping that Mr. Grisham's next legal thriller is, indeed, thrilling, and includes a wildly unpredictable courtroom crescendo.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love Grishom, but this was not his usual suspenseful, tricky thrillers. A bit TOO technical. Dynamite info about industry, though I was hoping for a good murder/courtroom mystery with his colorful & unusual characters. Oh well, I'll wait for his next book.
Bookish1KP More than 1 year ago
Not much of a plot...boring with poorly drawn characters
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was awful. I generally love his books. This book lacked any suspense or excitement. The main character was blah. The book was blah. I can generally fly thorough his books. This took forever. Seems like he wrote it just to write it. No passion in his writing in this book. Poorly done. Wasted money. Don't do it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didnt like it. I got tired of Sam's pouting over going back to New York, seemed like every other page!! I hated the ending... i kept waiting for the trials against the coal companies and sleazy lawfirm , which never came... I am a big fan of the author. I will read the reviews next time before i buy..
SUKIELJ More than 1 year ago
Usually love this author but was so disappointed in this book. Too much detail on the process of strip mining, no compelling characters, no satisfying courtroom showdown and an incomplete ending. I kept reading thinking it would get better but it never did. I would say to pass on this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another good Grisham
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's hard to believe JG wrote this! This is not an example of the kind of books we are used to from this best selling author!! Sorry but can not recommend!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After all the Grisham books I've read, this one was a major disappointment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Far from Grishams best. Quite disappointing.