The Racketeer

I had given up on John Grisham. Somewhere after Runaway Jury, I just quit reading his books. They were all formulaic and all the same. Lawyer/law student/innocent bystander holds the key to solving a crime and is threatened by the “bad guys”. All is well in the end as lawyer/law student/innocent bystander figures a way out of a seemingly impossible conundrum. It got old. I went to law school. It got really old.

Last year, a co-worker gave me the Litigators, which should be the subject of another post. I liked it. Then I read the blurb about the Racketeer when it was getting ready to come out. It sounded good. And this book lived up to its promise. It harkens back to the Grisham of old. The tightly plotted, well wound thrillers.

This books tells the story of Malcolm Bannister. He is in Federal Prison for racketeering. He is a small town Virginia lawyer who brokered a property deal not realizing that his client was a big time lobbyist whom Malcolm inadvertently laundered money for. While Malcolm is in prison, a Federal judge is murdered  – only the fifth one in history. Malcolm knows immediately who did it. And he uses that information to get himself out of prison – and into witness protection.

And that is about where I stop talking about the plot. If I say any more, I will give something important away. The book is an easy read and it did not take me very long to finish it. But it was engrossing. The book reminded me of the firm in that the government wants something from Malcolm but Malcolm has his own plan for dealing with them. There are twists and turns to the plot – many of which I didn’t see coming.

He moves the plot in a direction in the middle, that, quite frankly, I did not understand. It seemed to make no sense to the rest of the book. However, one thing John Grisham is good at is tying up his plot points. And he does so here as well.

I loaned the book to a co-worker and he loved it as well. So I will recommend this book. It is worth the read.

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