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.
©2012 John Grisham (P)2012 Random House Audio
I have been disappointed by the last few Grisham books. However, the reviews that stated that "Grisham was back" convinced me to give him another try. Well, I'm done with him -- for good this time.
The "author's note" at the end of the book says that "this was a work of fiction, more so than in other cases" because he fully admits that NO research went into the writing of this novel. Well, Mr. Grisham, it shows. The plot is totally unbelievable. I don't mind that -- as long as the implausibility doesn't make the story stupid, which happens here. The story is, indeed, stupid.
The main character -- a lawyer who was unjustly imprisoned (for circumstances under which NO ONE would have EVER been imprisoned) manages to get himself set free by convincing the FBI that he knows who killed a federal judge. How does he know this? Well, while the murderer was in prison he had confided in the main character that he INTENDED to kill the judge as soon as he got out. And the FBI goes along. Er...yeah.
That, by the way, is the entire first half of the book. Nothing else happens. If you read the publisher's review, you might as well skip to the second half of the download. There, the story gets even more ridiculous. Diverting into what appears to be another (equally stupid) story. A guy with 8 million dollars stashed somewhere chooses to follow our main character on a ridiculous trip merely because he is lured by the promise of South Beach and girls. Er, I think that with $8 million dollars he could have gone to South Beach on his own...
The two stories do merge in the end, but who cares? Mr. Grisham extends what could have been a short story into a very BORING novel, full of characters who are two-dimensional and unlikeable. Even the main character seems to be a jerk who drinks copiously and leaves behind his kid, father, and family after two sentences of mild regret.
The guy who wrote The Firm and some of the other early works is no more. That's too bad. But I wasted a credit and several hours. My advice: pass on this one. It will probably be an OK movie if the right director takes it on -- and hires a decent screenwriter.
I agree with most of what Cristina from Somerville, MA has written, so I'll keep my review brief. I did find this audiobook entertaining through much of it (perhaps thanks mainly to the performance from JD Jackson), but by the end, I was mainly annoyed. The plot is unbelievable and it switches gears massively about halfway through. Somewhere in the second half, I began to really hate the main character and his complete disregard for anyone else. Once I started rooting against him, the book became really intolerable and I gave up altogether 30 minutes or so from the end. I have really enjoyed Grisham books in the past, but this one felt very slapped together.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
Okay the good news... this book has a fairly interesting plot, although one must suspend belief to go along with the story as other reviewers have mentioned. And overall the book held my interest, mostly..... And on the other hand, nothing was noteable about this book. The narrator over enunciates every word to a fault.
And the plot although somewhat interesting, is forgettable. This is a shame because the author has given us many wonderful novels. Perhaps like some other successful writers the push to put out a book a year is maybe an unreasonable goal for the truly talented. Maybe a good book comes when it should and not on a predetermined schedule?
Don't really know where the 5's are coming from on this book. Mal or Max is not a very likable guy. The story is hard to follow but still very predictable and the narrator sounds like he's getting payed by the minute. I almost wish they would have put Max back in prison.
As the 3 stars suggest, it wasn't horrible but it wasn't great. The plot was predictable and completely implausible, though not entirely a waste of time. The narration really killed the book for me. Mr. Jackson was monotone and slow, like he had taken a large tranquilizer before he sat down to read. It put me to sleep on more than one occasion- something that one wouldn't normally expect from a Grisham. I also ended up really disliking the main character rather than the "bad guys"- completely contrary to the book's intent I imagine. I would skip this one unless you've run out of other books to listen to or are a diehard Grisham fan.
I really enjoyed this book. It was different in that we started off with a convict who happened to be a lawyer. I also enjoyed the fact that Grisham took the liberty to write entire sections using his imagination and did not rely heavily on researching real court cases. This was the first time I have listened to J.D. Jackson and I have to say he really brought this character to life. I would not have any problems listening to any of his other narrations.
I was real ticked off at John Grisham after "The Broker". That was one bad novel, and I thought he was just trying to cash in on his name. With "The Racketeer" I'm happy to say that the real John Grisham is still alive and kicking.
The book is not exactly a legal thriller, although there is quite a lot of legal res gestae. It's more man-against-the-system, and the outcome is very satisfying. The protagonist, Mal Bannister (aka Max Baldwin) comes off as a very real and believable character. Grisham gives him plenty of depth and charisma, and you'll soon find yourself rooting for him.
The plot has plenty of twists. As the book unfolds explanations of things previously described come out in the narrative, like pulling the strings of a package to wrap it up nice and tight. You may be able to figure out a good bit of what's really going on, but there will be enough left to keep you turning pages (so to speak).
I though J.D. Jackson did a great job. As for his pacing, the narrative made clear that he had made an attempt to change his identity, and part of that change involved speaking more deeply and more slowly.
There were a few stretches required of my imagination. Like, if some hardened criminals wind up with a whole lot of money, are they really going to turn into good guys? And, can an ex-con own a bar? You'd think that would place him in contact with other convicted felons from time to time, which sounds risky to me.
On the whole this was a very good book, and well worth your time.
I was very disappointed in this book. I did not like the characters at all, they were dull. The narration was blase. Overall, there was no passion, no interesting characters, no gripping story line.
This book struck me as the 3rd book in a 3 book contract. Just get it done so that the author has completed his obligation.
I know that Grisham has the talent, and that Jackson has a great voice. I believe that their future projects will be better.
Don't let The Racketeer tempt you, just pass on this one.
I found it hard to follow after the first half and lost interest. My wife felt the same. We both are Grisham fans and have all of his books. We could not beleive he wrote it.
I like mysterys. I will buy the next Grisham book because they are usally great.
The reader did a good job.
The plot was slow to evolve, and at times a bit unbelievable.......the villains were difficult to identify, but once discovered became an interesting journey......the plot kept my interest.....with all the twists, turns, and new characters introduced....the ending was a bit ho-hum (big build up---big let down) ......over-all a fun, listen with good narration.
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