When I heard that John Grisham was releasing a new book in October I was pretty excited to see what he had in store for us. The Racketeer does not disappoint it just shows you that yet again Grisham is a genius when it comes to his ability to tell a story. Grisham is known for his legal thrillers and got his name out there after the release of his first book A Time to Kill in 1988. As soon as Grisham was done with that book he started on his next one, The Firm, which spent 47 weeks on the bestseller list.
Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 275 million John Grisham books in print worldwide and nine of his novels have been turned into films. The difference in The Racketeer is that most of Grisham’s books focus on the courtroom and the hero lawyer coming to the rescue, but this book is different you see a lawyer get betrayed and watch as he betrays the people who turned his world upside down.
Main character and former attorney Malcolm Bannister, is now known as inmate number 44861-127 and resides at a federal prison camp. Bannister got caught up in racketeering charges with the sleazy Barry the Backhander when his law firm represented one of Barry’s real-estate transactions. Now Bannister is looking at a ten-year prison sentence for RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) violations that he never even knew he was committing. Bannister has served five years and is trying to take each day as it comes when suddenly everything changes. Breaking news hits that Federal Judge Raymond Fawcett and his secretary were murdered at the judge’s cabin. Police recovered an empty safe from the crime scene that is big enough to cause a lot of suspicion about what was inside.
Now here comes the inevitable twist, Rule 35. Being a former lawyer and an inmate Bannister is aware of this loophole. Rule 35 allows for the reduction of a sentence if a defendant provides “substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting another person.” Bannister comes forward with important information regarding the judge’s murder; he claims he knows the identity of the killer and their motive. In exchange for the information, Bannister wants to be released from prison, entered into the Witness Protection Program, given a surgically altered face, a new identity and the power to be a free man.
This is the point in the book where things begin to happen very quickly. The readers witness Bannister embark on a long journey and they watch him do so many mysterious things along the way, but they don’t know the reason for any of them until later on in the book. Eventually everything begins to slowly start connecting and making sense. The readers can obviously see that Bannister has been planning this for a very long time and he is out for revenge and is going to stop at nothing to get to where he is going. Toward the end of the book the audience can’t help but find themselves rooting for Bannister. The whole book you will be trying to figure out what Bannister is up to and how everything will work, but you will be at a loss for words once you see how it all plays out.
Overall The Racketeer was a great read and classic Grisham, definitely one of my favorites! Put this book on your must read list, Christmas list or any list just make sure you find the time to sit down and enjoy this book!