John Grisham’s Sparring Partners
What happens when John Grisham writes? Well, he often fills the pages of his novels with lawyers, thrills and drama! And it was with that mindset that I dove into parts of his forthcoming novel, Sparring Partners, which is due out from Doubelday. Sparring Partners opens with Jake Brigance, a 38-year-old lawyer from Clanton, Mississippi who is not part of his hometown’s high society.
The novel’s excerpts offer a foretaste into the court room histrionics and excitements to come in this new book. There is Jason, an American waiter, who is in fact a fugitive in Costa Rica and has his own demons to contend with. John Grisham sets the scene for tensions early and introduces him in the second chapter, giving us a clue into the double lives of a character that has fled America for his own personal safety.
It’s clear from the opening passages that Jason has something to be fearful about, secrets to hide, someone or some people to flee from. To this end, he assumes a new name and social identity to get by in Costa Rica, where he’s presumed an ordinary American in search of tropical weather and beauty, and whatever else. Holed up in Costa Rica for some twenty lonely years, he yearns for homeland. And he finds a visiting American couple from Memphis who must take his private message to Jake Brigance, in Clanton. This scenario sets the grand stage of events to come in the novel.
What exactly is Jason fleeing from? How would Jake Brigance help him? Is his redemption and return to America even possible? What message has the affluent coffee-bearing Gene and Kathy Roupp brought for Jake Brigance from an old friend, a man who has assumed a new identity in a far-flung land?
Gene Roupp is willing to spill it. “He said he had something to tell us, something very confidential. Said his name was not really Jason.” Those private things and much more, the reader will soon find out when Grisham’s Sparring Partners lands on bookshelves on 31 May. John Grisham’s Sparring Partners is a novel that won’t disappoint us in so many ways.