John Grisham has a new hero . . . and she’s full of surprises
The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.
In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.
Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.
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"In some parts of Appalachia, coal is king. Coal mining is about the only job a
person can get, and it will probably kill him.
I'm a city girl like Samantha Kofer, so this was as much a journey for me as for
her. I had my first real job in a town of 22,000 people (on a "fat" day), so I
can relate to the confusion she feels after being yanked off Wall Street and
dropped in Brady, Virginia. As she learns the poor person's facts of life, she
changes. She becomes fiercely protective of people that she never knew existed.
Fighting the coal company when it's the only job in town is dangerous, and
Samantha learns that first hand."
Twigsy (5 out of 5 stars)