Review: Legal writer John Grisham pens a basketball thriller

“Sooley,” by John Grisham (Doubleday)

When you’ve written 35 novels and are working on a streak of 43 consecutive No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, you can write about whatever you want. That’s probably the simplest way to explain why John Grisham’s latest is a basketball story and doesn’t feature a single courtroom scene.

It’s not the first sports book for Grisham, of course, but it’s the first set in the big-time world of college hoops. Samuel Sooleymon, nicknamed Sooley, is a 17-year-old playing on dirt courts in his native South Sudan when we first meet him. Growing like a weed and with an infectious passion for the game, soon he’s in Orlando playing on a team of traveling Sudanese all-stars, showcasing his skills for college coaches.