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The Chamber

There’s nothing like a good Grisham book when you are flat on your back with a cold and able to do pretty much nothing but read. Grisham used to write these stories of ultrarich lawyers trapped in impossible scenarios with well-funded teams of attack lawyers after them. Age seems to have softened him and the last two books of his that I have read were this one and one where the high-paid lawyer gave it all up to do poverty law.

This book is mainly about the death penalty. The main character has been sentenced to death for a crime he was at least an accomplice in committing. His grandson who has never met him decided to take on his case pro bono to try to get him off. There’s not even much more plot thatn that. No big suprises, no suspenseful cliffhangers. The absolute routinized process of state-sponsored killings are given a lot of pages. Grisham is clearly against the dealth penalty and many of the characters in this book trot out somehwat timeworn cliches about why the death penalty is a bad idea. If you love the death penalty, you might not enjoy this book, but if you liked movies like The Green Mile and other “day in the life of death row” type narratives, this one is as good as they come.