The Racketeer

Published May 18, 2013 by myliteraryleanings

the racketeer cover

Review of The Racketeer by John Grisham

Overview from

Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered.

Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five.

Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge’s untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland.

On paper, Malcolm’s situation isn’t looking too good these days, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The judge’s body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied.

What was in the safe? The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price—especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett’s death. And the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday . . .

Nothing is as it seems and everything’s fair game in this wickedly clever new novel from John Grisham, the undisputed master of the legal thriller.

My Review:

Once again I have returned to the legal thriller genre though it is not one of my favorites. The author is the reason for this return. John Grisham is the king of this genre and his writing really draws me in. even if I am not always sure that I will like his next legal thriller, his writing and story-telling skills always seem to win me over. This story was no exception.

I am not sure how he always manages to come up with a new twist or a unique plot in this normally predictable genre but he does. This story is unlike any of his others.

Once I got to know the characters, I settled in and got comfortable. It seemed like the main character, a small time lawyer named Malcolm Bannister, was getting everything he wanted. It seemed like he was going to live happily ever after, but then everything changed.

Less than half-way through, Malcolm changes the rules. He embarks on an elaborate ruse to deceive not only the U.S. government, which he has never trusted since he was locked up, but the readers as well. We follow his steps as he implements some kind of elaborate plan though we’re not sure what he is trying to do exactly—at least I wasn’t.

Why didn’t Malcolm quit while he was ahead? Where did he expect to run go to avoid being killed by his rival? I didn’t know but I wanted to find out so I kept reading. And in the end I was rewarded. It kept me turning pages and thus I finished the book over the weekend.

It was well worth my time and if you give it a try I think you will agree. It is a not a deeply profound work of literature but it is a good way to pass your time and keep your attention. I, for one, was glad to see that Mr. Grisham has not lost his touch.

Contains: some language and sexuality


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