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Summary

Ray Atlee is a professor of law at the University of Virginia. He's 43, newly single, and still enduring the aftershocks of a surprise divorce. He has a younger brother, Forrest, who redefines the notion of a family's black sheep. And he has a father, a very sick old man who lives alone in the ancestral home in Clanton, Mississippi. He is known to all as Judge Atlee, a beloved and powerful official who has towered over local law and politics for forty years.

No longer on the bench, the Judge has withdrawn to the Atlee mansion and become a recluse. With the end in sight, Judge Atlee issues a summons for both sons to return home to Clanton, to discuss the details of his estate. It is typed by the Judge himself, on his handsome old stationery, and gives the date and time for Ray and Forrest to appear in his study.

Ray reluctantly heads south, to his hometown, to the place where he grew up, which he prefers now to avoid. But the family meeting does not take place. The Judge dies too soon, and in doing so leaves behind a shocking secret known only to Ray. And perhaps someone else.

©2002 Belfry Holdings, Inc. (P)2002 Random House, LLC

Critic reviews

"No one tells a story better than Grisham" ( Evening Standard)

What members say

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Very boring

I found this by far the worst of the John Grisham novels I have been listening to. I have enjoyed The Runaway Jury, The Street Lawyer and The Litigators so far on Audiobooks but this one was very disappointing. I liked the narrator but the story was extremely slow and boring, and I didn't find any of the characters likeable at all. I don't see any twists or turns in the story, all very predictable. Definitely not up to his usual standard in my opinion.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Gripping story

Great story. As usual Grisham has you on the edge of your seat. Well read too.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it.

Good story and narrator, kept me guessing till the end. Enjoyed this one as much as the last.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Grisham nails it again

Would you consider the audio edition of The Summons to be better than the print version?

Good plot, interesting twists and wonderfully rich characters. Grisham's insight into character development is exceptional, another Graham Greene.

Which character – as performed by Michael Beck – was your favourite?

The deceased's brother.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Death - the great healer

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

brilliant

brilliant narration Michael beck tell the story in a fantastic was and really captures the characters

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A disappointing ending

Any additional comments?

The book was good, as expected from Grisham. However, the ending was frustrating, leaving unanswered questions - such as how Ray would manage to avoid prosection. The ending seemed rushed and as though the required word count had been met.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful