"The Rainmaker" by John Grisham is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I still can't remember why I hadn't read it until just recently but it was definitely worth the 10 year wait!
Rudy Baylor is in his last year of law school in Memphis, Tennessee. Just before graduation, he finds out that the job he thought he had a one of the more prestigious firms in the city is not his. He is broke, has no place to live, no prospects and is very unsure of his own abilities.
Just before graduation and the Bar exam, a very boring end of the term class takes him to an elderly care facility where he meets Dot and Buddy Black, whose son Donny Ray is dying of cancer. A bone marrow transplant would have saved his life when he was diagnosed years ago, but Great Benefit Life Insurance denied the procedure. Can Rudy help?
Along with meeting Dot and Buddy, Miss Birdie Birdsong, a very eccentric geriatric dynamo who volunteers at the Center also approaches Rudy for some free legal advice regarding her will. Seems she has millions and hates her children. Can Rudy help rewrite her will?
Through the assistance of good friends, some rather shady and questionable characters, sheer luck and perseverence, Rudy navigates the legal backwaters of Memphis, big Insurance, tough women and a dying young man who touches the heart. Anyone who reads this can't help but be totally drawn into the story of Donny Ray Black and what Rudy will do for this family.
There is a very interesting friendship between Rudy and Booker Kane, a black law student who is Rudy's best friend and already has a wife, 2 kids and a job with the biggest and best all black law firm in Memphis. Through all Rudy's trials and tribulations, the friendship remains, strained at times, but connections and introductions made that have an impact no one could have expected until the end.
As in all Grisham novels, there are plot twists, surprises, great characters, wonderfully awful bad guys, some real creeps and a girl. The locations are extremely well detailed, as are all Grisham's locations - you can almost smell the garden behind Birdie's house, and feel the weight of the bags and bags of mulch, but that's part of the story you'll have to read for yourself.
Go ahead, get yourself a copy at a used book store - it's well worth it. The ending is definitely the best part!
Title: The Rainmaker