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The Racketeer [Hardcover]

John Grisham
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 23 2012
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.

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Product Description


Critical Acclaim for the Undisputed Master of the Legal Thriller

“With every new book I appreciate John Grisham a little more, for his feisty critiques of the legal system, his compassion for the underdog, and his willingness to strike out in new directions.”—Entertainment Weekly

“John Grisham is exceptionally good at what he does—indeed, right now in this country,  nobody does it better . . . Grisham’s books are also smart, imaginative, and funny, populated by complex interesting people, written by a man who is driven not merely by the desire to entertain but also by genuine (if understated) outrage at human cupidity and venality.”—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

“The secrets of Grisham’s success are no secret at all. There are two of them: his pacing, which ranges from fast to breakneck, and his theme—little guy takes on big conspiracy with the little guy getting the win in the end. —Time

“The law, by its nature, creates drama, and a new Grisham promises us an inside look at the dirty machineries of process and power, with plenty of an entertainment.” – Los Angeles Times

“John Grisham is about as good a storyteller as we’ve got in the United States these days.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Grisham is a marvelous storyteller who works readers the way a good trial lawyer works a jury.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

“John Grisham owns the legal thriller.”—The Denver Post

“John Grisham is not just popular, he is one of the most popular novelists of our time. He is a craftsman and he writes good stories, engaging characters, and clever plots.”—The Seattle Times

“A mighty narrative talent and an unerring eye for hot-button issues.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“A legal literary legend.”—USA Today

About the Author

JOHN GRISHAM is the author of twenty-five novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and two novels for young readers. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Should Be Called "Money Grab" Nov. 24 2012
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
And I am not referring to the plot. Kudos to Mr. Grisham for creating a unique style within the mystery genre but this effort was on auto-pilot. One only has to read the author's note at the end which is an admission of sorts. The least enjoyable aspect was the main character. In his past novels the Grisham formula includes a main character that you empathize with and root for. In The Racketeer, I was actually hoping that the plot would see Malcolm Bannister get duped. I expect the author will return to form and may even innovate again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grisham At His Finest!!! Nov. 10 2012
Have read all the Grisham's thus far, and absolutely loved this book. This book kept me guessing throughout and reminds me of the writing style of his earlier novels (ie: Time To Kill, Runaway Jury and The Chamber). Would definately recommend this to anyone who likes a good read that will keep you interested and guessing!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read anyway... Nov. 5 2012
Definitely not one of Grisham's best. He decides, in this book, that he is a black man. I'm not sure what effect he was going for, but it doesn't work because not actually being black himself, he can't write as if he were. He mentions several times in the book that he is feeling like he stands out, but it's neither relevant nor believable. He says in the author's note at the end of the book that he did no research and that is obvious as you read the book. Simply put, the story is not believable at all. It involves a "pile" of little gold bars which he is able to carry around and use as if it were currency. Still, it is written by Grisham and is therefore worth a read if only for his writing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Goes down easy, utterly forgettable Nov. 10 2012
Grisham is writing as a black man, though I kept forgetting that he was supposedly black until he mentioned it again. Grisham is not really a suspense writer - his strength is writing books that go down smooth and easy. This one does that and tries to be a thriller as well with big twists and everything. The initial premise is thoroughly unbelievable and the twist that comes later even more so, primarily because the characters are not established with enough depth for us to believe in in much of anything they do. In spite of this, I don't really regret reading this. Love it or hate it, that's the power of Grisham.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of Time Jan. 19 2013
By wpgman
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First Grisham book I have read in years - will be the last. Uninteresting characters, boring plot that is not nearly as clever as the author seems to think. Starts off promising, but by half-way through becomes a plodding, implausible mess. Long before the ending I could not have cared less how it turned out. By the time I did reach the end I was sorry I had wasted my time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but entertaining Nov. 20 2012
By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
John Grisham's last book - The Litigators - was one of my favourites by this award winning author. I was pretty excited to read his latest - The Racketeer.

Racketeer: "A person who commits crimes such as extortion, loansharking, bribery, and obstruction of justice in furtherance of illegal business activities."

Malcolm Bannister is a former attorney, currently serving time in the Frostburg, Maryland prison camp for money laundering. Trouble is, he swears he's innocent - he just picked the wrong client. License gone, wife gone, everything he had - gone. Five years into his sentence, he may have found a way out. He knows who killed Federal Judge Raymond Fawcett, found dead in his cabin retreat beside an empty safe. Can he bargain the killer's name for his freedom? And what about what was taken from the safe? There's a lot of people after that knowledge...

I love 'heist' and 'sting' type movies such as Ocean's Eleven. Grisham weaves his own take on the heist scenario with The Racketeer. And it's a great piece of storytelling. This is still a 'legal' thriller to a degree, but I think Grisham just had a lot of fun with this one. It's not a serious book, but an entertaining tale.

As he says in the author notes at the end: " The Racketeer is indeed a work of fiction. Accuracy was not deemed crucial. Long paragraphs of fiction were used to avoid looking up facts."

I chose to listen to this book. J.D. Jackson was the reader and his voice was perfectly suited to the main character. Macolm changes his speech patterns at one point and I did find the slower pace a bit annoying. I just wanted the story to move along.

The only reason I'm giving this a four instead of a five is that there was just something about Malcolm I didn't like.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Long Con April 6 2014
By Pol Sixe TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
A black lawyer is sent to a minimum security Federal Pen, as a jailhouse lawyer he learns some things and a plan develops to get out of jail before his time. Throughout the Feds, FBI and US Attorney, are ripped for abusing their powers, Malcolm/Max harbours a grudge. It takes awhile but the reader finally realizes there is a longer, bigger and complex plan being rolled out. Is our man a hero or a heel? A fair read, plot seems a little implausible in places, but so be it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Rackeer April 6 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The service as usual was excellent the book was a little disappointing . I have read many of John Grisham books and I usually enjoy them but this one was not my favorite book.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars a great read
A wonderfully entertaining book which I had difficulty putting down. Escapist literature, I know, but none the worse for that. More, Mr. Grisham please!
Published 19 days ago by John Cowan
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of twists and turns
I liked this book, an easy read.
You never know what is going on until the ending.
The main character is brillant.,
Published 27 days ago by Linda Esposito
5.0 out of 5 stars What a ride!
Fast paced from start to finish. Main character was great throughout - lots of laughs about payback. Loved it...on to the next book.
Published 1 month ago by Mealoaf
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it!
Beautiful! will do business with you again It is nice that no misrepresentation or surprises were in store Thank you
Published 1 month ago by Shiraz Chatur
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
The book was in as good as condition as promised and is a good read. I would recommend buying books by John Girsham
Published 2 months ago by Andrew J Prudence
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
Once again John Grisham has created excellence. The Racketeer is written in such a way as to hold your attention from beginning to end.
Published 2 months ago by mrblue
3.0 out of 5 stars Grisham continues to live off his past successes.
This novel is okay, the plot is not as transparent as Sycamore Row and most of his recent books but still does not compare to his earlier work. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bill Merkley
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read
Enough twists to keep you intrigued and coming back for more, I would highly
Recommend. Another excellent Grisham book, what's next
Published 3 months ago by Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Loved it. Enjoy all of Grisham's books. Thanks again for another great book. Can't put it down. Grab a coffee, tea, or whatever you like and get lost in this book.
Published 3 months ago by maggie beda
3.0 out of 5 stars Grisham at three stars
I gave this one three stars for its rather superficial take on being black in America. But even at three stars Grisham entertains with a smoothly flowing story line and sufficient... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Photo-Op Dave
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