Ford County, Mississippi
John Grisham returns to fictional Clanton Mississippi - the setting of his novel, A Time to Kill - in Ford County, his first collection of short stories. Clanton, the county seat, is a town of 10,000 with 51 practicing lawyers and a place where there are more than enough characters to fill these seven stories. Town residents found in this collection include Sidney, who perfects his blackjack skills and manages to break Clanton's only casino and Raymond, an inmate who's been on death row for eleven years. A couple of lawyers are also featured in the book. Mack, a middle aged divorce attorney, receives a miracle phone call and manages to make a substanial amount of money off a long forgotten case while Stanley, a litigator for many years, is kidnapped from a town parking lot and forced to revisit a family from a previous malpractice suit. Other characters include Gilbert, who arrives in Clanton on a mission to expose the mistreatment found in the town's nursing home and befriend it's residents and Adrian, the gay son of a prominent town family, who comes home to die. Even though I don't usually read short stories, I was curious about this one since it's written by an author whose novels I've enjoyed for years and was included in my recent "don't miss" list. I'm glad I picked it up. Each of these short stories include the occasional surprises and humor found in Grisham's novels while describing rural southern life in an entertaining way.