Book Review: Gray Mountain by John Grisham

February 3, 2022


Gray Mountain by John Grisham is a legal thriller taking place in the coal mining world of Virginia. Mr. Grisham is a famous novelist, known for his novels revolving around legal issues.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Doubleday
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 038553714X

Book Review: Gray Mountain by John Grisham
My rating for Gray Mountain4
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It has been a while since I read any novel by John Grisham, I bought this book in a thrift shop hoping to put it our Little Free Library, however, it sounded enticing so I decided to read Gray Mountain before offering it to our neighbors.

This book was certainly a good read. The story was a bit slow, and Samantha Kofer was a bit boring, however she was the catalyst to meeting other, much interesting, characters. I enjoyed reading about the reasons lawyers choose to fight for the disadvantaged with little, if any, financial reward. That is certainly very admirable.

Mr. Grisham does a good job describing the legal bureaucratic mass people have to navigate through. Often they can’t even get a lawyer involved. And that is before the actual legal fight, being in court against expensive lawyers, knowing you’re right but losing due to corrupt doctors, experts, and judges.

The book’s strength is the presentation of coal mining, it’s benefits but also how it destroys the environment. The struggles of coal miners against a ruthless industry, are presented in a clear, concise manner through heartbreaking cases.

I’m disappointed, but unfortunately not surprised, how black sludge, which destroys the environment and people, is a partisan issue. In her book Dark Money, author Jane Mayer describes how the rich and powerful organized a network of think tanks, academia, as well as news outlets for mass propaganda to achieve anti-environment agenda. This, of course, is done so they’ll have to pay less taxes.

The book, however, wrapped up all those very interesting scenarios in either a quick manner, or not at all. Kofer never took on the giant coal companies, and neither did anyone else. The interesting, and varied, cases didn’t get a resolution besides being dropped.

That might be the way it is in real life, which I appreciated. However, I would have liked to read how it all folds out in court.


During the Financial Crisis of 2008, Samantha Kofer’s legal career came to a grinding halt. The gigantic Wall Street law firm she worked for downsized, and offered Samantha a “deal”. Samantha would be furloughed for a year, working pro-bono as a legal aid for one year, and she might – MIGHT – get her job back.

With nothing else to lose, Samantha finds an opportunity in Brady, Virginia. At the heart of Appalachia, Samantha discovers people with problems she never imagines. Drugs, domestic abuse, homelessness, poverty, and, of course, the fight against coal companies.

Buy Gray Mountain from*
More books by John Grisham*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I got bought this book.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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