John Grisham, one of Turnrow's most loyal pals, swooped in this week for a private book signing for his new novel, The Associate. (Signed copies available here.) We found the book to be a winning, fast-paced read, the kind he does so well, in which an idealistic young lawyer becomes ensnared in an ethical quandary with criminal and life-threatening consequences. It's a throwback to his early thrillers like The Firm and The Client, Grisham admits, answering fans who tell him they like his early work best.
Some readers, we've noticed, try to convince themselves not to buy The Associate because "he keeps writing the same book over and over." But in the two years and four books that he's been visiting Turnrow, it's always a mixed bag. He went from true-crime (The Innocent Man) to a short and sporty fish-out-of-water story (Playing for Pizza) to a politically charged thriller exposing judicial corruption (The Appeal) to his latest, a good old-fashioned page-turner with plenty of secrets and chase.
And there are further deviations yet. Grisham told us he's putting the finishing touches on a collection of short stories, due out this fall. In the meantime, a 20th anniversary edition of A Time to Kill will be released this summer.
Things are heating up on the Grisham film adaptation scene as well. After a long hiatus in Hollywood, Grisham mentioned a half dozen titles currently in development. Most talked about now is The Associate, which has some of Hollywood's hottest players attached, including actor Shia LaBeouf, Oscar-winning writer William Monahan (The Departed) and blockbuster producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, G.I. Joe).
Back to books, Grisham recommended two favorites — The Lost City of Z by David Grann, a true adventure-mystery set in the Amazon, and one of our own favorite novels from 2008, Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles. After signing our stock and partaking of lunch in our cafe, which he decreed exceptional (so get down here and have some soup already), he moved on south to Jackson, where he was due to accept the Mississippi Governor's Award for Literary Achievement.