At the outset, I would like to confess that I am feeling too bad now. I just rated ‘Gray Mountain’ by John Grisham as ‘two stars’. But, with all sincerity, I cannot give this book a higher rating than this. To be frank, this book actually deserves only ‘one star’. This book really broke my heart.
Grisham is one of my favourite authors and I always enjoy reading his books. His books captivate you, excite you and, in the end, shock you. His books have a way to hook you till the last page. He has always been a good storyteller. However, this was not the case with this book. This book bores you to death. Nevertheless, you keep reading in the hope of some improvement in the next few pages, which never happens. The book, in a way, just keeps you dragging on and on for a long time and finally comes to an end with an unsatisfied ending, and you feel relieved. You also feel content for completing a herculean task of finishing a mind-numbing book of almost 500 pages successfully.
Did Grisham fail to remember that he was writing a work of fiction? It seems so because this book reads more like a non-fiction than a fiction. More than half of the book is devoted to explain the problems related to the coal mining industry. Every now and then, you feel that somebody is giving you a lecture on the hazardous effects of the coal mining industry. There is no doubt that the material presented in the book is well-researched and the issues raised are also important. But, where was the story? Where was the suspense and thrill for which John Grisham is by and large known for? I did not pick this book up to know about the coal industry. On the other hand, I picked up this book because it was a book by my favourite John Grisham, who has been described as ‘one of the brilliant thriller writers of present time’. Sadly, there was no thrill and no surprising twist.
Despite a potential premise, this book just becomes a social commentary on the issues of the coal industry and the world revolving around this industry. The environmental propaganda is too repetitive. It is sad to say that an author like Grisham wasn’t able to exploit such a potential plot.
The storyline is so slow that it crawls like a tortoise. The main protagonist of this novel Samantha does not leaves any impression on you. In fact, I didn’t even find a single likable character in this book. Most of the scenes are flat and do not evoke any emotion in your heart. For instance, you do not feel sad and gloomy after the death of Donovan, one of the important characters in the book. And, Climax? Well, it seems that after writing so many pages the author himself got confused and, therefore, tried to wrap up the story within three pages.
Is this really a John Grisham book? I doubt it. Something feels very different about this book and that also not in a very good way. All said and done, this book doesn’t replace John Grisham as one of my favourite authors. He is still one of the authors I love to read. And, I will keep reading his books. However, after this one, I think I need a break.
Do not read this book if you are planning to read John Grisham for the first time. Save your money and read something else.