Book Review : The Racketeer by John Grisham

I’ve been anticipating the debut of the next legal thriller from John Grisham for awhile now. The Racketeer came out less than a month ago, with much publicity and shout out from John Grisham’s Facebook Page.

This book has so much hidden agenda in the characters that you just want to keep reading to find out about the twist at the end. The story follows the main character, Malcolm Bannister, who was a small town lawyer wrongly convicted in a money laundering case, serving time in a Federal Prison Camp. When a Federal Judge was murdered, he got himself involved in the case, to plead for an early release, providing the FBI with information on who the murderer is.

Excerpt from Amazon.com on The Racketeer :-

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.

John Grisham has always been my favourite author. I have ALL his books, in hard copies (paperbacks and hardcovers) as well as e-books. This is one that does not disappoint again. If you’re a fan of legal thrillers, or TV shows like “Law and Order“, you’ll love this book.

The story is narrated in the voice of Malcolm Bannister, the wrongly convicted lawyer serving 10 years in federal prison camp, which is a minimum security prison. Obviously bitter on his wrongful conviction and dreading serving another 5 more years in prison (even in a minimum security prison), he was hopeful when he stumbled upon the news on the murder of a Federal Judge.

Armed with information that could lead the FBI to the killer of the judge, he approached them with said information to negotiate for his early release to enter into the Witness Protection Program.

Without spoiling the plot for you, the story brings Malcolm into a series of events where he co-operated with the FBI to find the killer while he’s going through the process of obtaining a new identity under Witness Protection. The story twists and turns and as the days progressed, you get the idea that something is not right. You get the feeling that there’s some hidden agenda in Malcolm that is to be revealed soon.

Well, the name of the book is The Racketeer, which is defined by Oxford Dictionary as “a person who engages in dishonest and fraudulent business dealings“. Hence, the suspicion as you read the book, knowing there’s some dishonesty at play here.

This made me continue flipping the pages and reading along, without pausing much. As I read on, I knew I would come to the part where the “dishonesty” will start to reveal itself.

John Grisham’s novels never disappoint me. The Racketeer is another great work from the author himself, although he admits at the end of the book under the “Author’s Note” that not much research and verification was put into the writing of the book. Nevertheless, the book was believable – characters, plot, location, facts, etc.

I rate this book a 3 out of 5 stars. While it is indeed a good read, I wouldn’t say that this is his best work. I prefer his works when it tackles much more controversial subject matters. Having said that, the anticipated twist and unexpected deception of the characters in situations, make this a good read.

Click on the link and check out Amazon’s book descriptions, other readers’ reviews and buy “The Racketeer” by John Grisham in hardcover or Kindle edition which is now #10 books in Amazon.com.