30 January 2020
Pete Banning is a WWII local hero. He was captured by the Japanese and tortured but escaped and turned guerrilla. Although his family believed him to be dead, they are thrilled when he finally returns home.
But less than a year later, Pete deliberately and cold-bloodedly shoots and kills Clanton's Methodist pastor.
Why? Is the question on everyone's lips. But Pete is refusing to talk.
The book is divided into three parts: the killing, the boneyard, and the betrayal.
In the boneyard, we learn a lot about the Bataan Death March and Japanese cruelty toward their POWs.
This book - to me - feels totally different to John Grisham's other novels. The law is mentioned but it's an earlier time and culture in the late 1940s in rural Mississippi is very different to today. But a large part of the book is focused on the bravery of American and Filipino POWs and guerrillas in the Philippine jungles and Japanese prison camps during WWII.
For me it is easily on a par with his earlier novels such as A Time to Kill or The Chamber in that it's a meaty book with a gripping storyline and issues to be considered. There is no feeling of the writing being a bit rushed as with some of his shorter, later books. This is full of good stuff and I anticipate it giving more each time I read it.
This is an easy 5* to award.