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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Book Review: The Racketeer

I read my first John Grisham novel, The Firm, during college. Immediately I was hooked and devoured everything he wrote for several years thereafter. My favorite Grisham story remains A Time To Kill...both the book and the movie (and thank you for introducing us to Texas-hottie Matthew McConaughey in that film...whoa!). 

But as time marched on, I realized that Grisham's legal-thriller novels followed the same recipe. An aspiring/young/disbarred lawyer has found himself/herself involved in crime/case/trial that encased concealment of government-related corruptness. Typically in a southern setting, the story lines often include racism and/or environmental-hazard issues related to big business.

Another complaint I have with Grisham's books is with the endings. He can write intense plot lines but the final chapters can be underwhelming and weak.

All that being said, I truly enjoyed reading The Racketeer. The story is about a jailhouse lawyer, Mal Bannister, who is half-way through a 10-year sentence for racketeering...charges for which he professes his innocence. A federal judge and his girlfriend have been murdered while Mal is on the inside, and there are no solid leads in the case. That is, until Mal offers credible information on the crime in exchange for his freedom. 

Mal's deposition about the murder is convincing, and he's set free from prison while the feds get their guy...or so they think. The ensuing story follows Mal and his conning "sticking it to the feds" plan as revenge in losing five years of his life (and his wife and son) for false racketeering charges.

This book is pure entertainment. Nothing about it will provoke deep thought or launch a career in public policy...although it may make you more leery of anyone involved in the government. And let's face it, you don't need to read fiction to be suspicious of politicians and their appointees.

8 comments:

Alice Wills Gold said...

I read everything by Grisham and agree with all your critiques but especially the fact that the best book he ever wrote was his first A Time to Kill....maybe though I just think that because on his first his plot and characters were more original. I think I love it mostly because it reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Neha Sharma said...

For a writer as established as John Grisham, this book is totally run-of-the-mill.

As the author mentions in his end-note, there is absolutely no research done in order to prepare a proper background. Moreover, i wont call the book greatly interesting.

I know my this review is going to stand out from all the positive ones. However, people who are really voracious readers and expect bestsellers to live up to their tag, dont go for this book.

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