If you’re into John Grisham’s legal thrillers like I am, you might be curious about his first collection of novellas, “Sparring Partners.” I’ve been a fan of Grisham’s work for a while now, having read over a dozen of his books, but this collection didn’t quite hit the mark for me.
The novellas in Sparring Partners all revolve around the theme of law, which is a common thread in Grisham’s writing and something I usually enjoy. In “Homecoming,” we follow Jake Brigance, a familiar character from Grisham’s previous novels, as he’s called upon to help his old friend Mack Stafford, a disgraced former attorney who disappeared with his clients’ money, leaving behind his family.
“Strawberry Moon” introduces us to Cody Wallace, a young man sitting on death row for a crime he committed as a teenager. As his execution approaches, he has one last wish, adding an interesting layer to the story.
Finally, in “Sparring Partners,” we meet Kirk and Rusty Malloy, two brothers who inherit their father’s law firm after he’s imprisoned for murdering his wife. As the firm falls apart, they turn to Diantha Bradshaw for help.
While I was excited to dive into these stories, I found the character development lacking and the plots underwhelming. Given Grisham’s track record of forty-seven consecutive #1 bestsellers, I expected more from this collection. However, if you’re a die-hard Grisham fan or simply love legal thrillers, it might still be worth a read. I’d give it 3 stars.
** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book. The opinions are my own.