The Summons was my first John Grisham novel, and it was a great read. A hardcover of almost 350 pages, it took me several days of light reading to finish, all enjoyable.
Grisham’s characters are well-understood by his readers. The protagonist in question, Professor Ray Atlee, has a routine life, a complicated family, and a breakup he hasn’t quite recovered from. He’s someone you might meet on the street.
The same goes for the other characters – enough description given for the reader to fill in the blanks with their imagination, but not too much. The settings were the same.
What really gives the story credibility, though, is its backdrop of the legal field. Ray’s father was a judge for many years; Ray is a law professor. The conversations, the characters, and the mystery that unfolds through the story are all backed by this. Grisham’s work as a lawyer gives his writing authenticity, which he balances well without plunging into legal jargon and losing all his civilian readers.
The story unfolds as Ray moves from his standard life and steps into an unexpected mystery, a secret only he knows about. Or does he? DUN DUN DUN. And that’s the mystery.
Characters, setting, pace, mystery – all present and accounted for. Although I didn’t stay up late at night, reading by flashlight under my covers, the story did keep me hooked the whole way through. An enjoyable read.