Book Review: The Racketeer by John Grisham

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The Racketeer
By John Grisham

Malcolm Bannister is, or should we saw was since he lost his license to practice law, a lawyer. He is bitter because he claims he did nothing illegal; however, his client prior to his trial was a wanted crook. Their connection lands him in prison where he has served 5 of his ten year sentence. He helps fellow inmates with their legal troubles and has been assigned to work in the prison library. All this time he is working on a plan for his own release for prison.

In contrast to his current situation, a federal judge and his young secretary are murdered in the judge’s country cabin. Also inside the country cabin a huge safe is found which stands open and empty. What was in the safe? And whodunit?

Malcolm Bannister knows who the culprit is. He hears a lot of things from fellow inmates, and he is willing to trade the information to the FBI for a commutation of his sentence and entrance into the witness protection program. The FBI makes the deal, and Malcolm not only changes his name, but is given a new identity surgically, and starts a new life for himself, living off the reward money for naming the murderer of the judge. It doesn’t take long for his cover to be blown and then things start spinning out of control.

In my humble opinion, this is definitely not one of John Grisham’s best novels. The cover has various persons’ opinions of how good the book is. The first 100+ pages are very boring. After that, the book speeds up and twist after twist occurs. The author leaves us guessing because he puts a character in the book that hasn’t been heard of before and he leaves out important information about this new character. I was left guessing what this had to do with anything. At the end of the book the mystery character’s raison d’etre is explained. I didn’t see it coming, but despite that, it had nothing to do with my low opinion of the book. It was just boring.

I won’t be keeping this novel on my shelf as I have some of his others. I’d give this book 3 of 5 stars and that is for the ingenuity of the master plot once it is revealed.

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