Worlds away from his usual legal dramas, this departure for John Grisham has produced a wonderfully evocative novel. Set in the late summer of 1952 in the cotton-growing regions of Arkansas, the story is told through the eyes of eight-year-old Luke Chandler. Born and raised on his grandfather's cotton farm, like his father before him, he dreams of a world beyond the cotton fields, only existing in his imagination from what he has heard on the radio. But first and foremost is the cotton picking to be done before the rains come.. Outside help in the form of Mexican labourers and hill people is recruited bringing with it antagonism and racism which will eventually culminate in murder. Within 20 pages you are hooked, watching and feeling this tough life through young Luke's eyes. Set against the strict Baptist upbringing of these poor farmers, Grisham gives an intense picture of a hard, insular life where everything revolves around the cotton crop. All the characters are memorable from Pappy who spends his life worrying about the weather to Hank, the Spruill's violent unstable son, to Cowboy the shifty Mexican. And he does not forget the women of this tough world who live in the background quietly ruling the roost and supporting their men without question.