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The Reckoning

A Novel
Narrated by: Michael Beck
Length: 17 hrs and 36 mins
4 out of 5 stars (14,547 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Number-one best-selling author John Grisham's The Reckoning is his most powerful, surprising, and suspenseful thriller yet.

"A murder mystery, a courtroom drama, a family saga…The Reckoning is Grisham's argument that he's not just a boilerplate thriller writer. Most jurors will think the counselor has made his case." (USA Today)

October 1946, Clanton, Mississippi

Pete Banning was Clanton, Mississippi's favorite son - a decorated World War II hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. Then one cool October morning he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed his pastor and friend, the Reverend Dexter Bell. As if the murder weren’t shocking enough, it was even more baffling that Pete's only statement about it - to the sheriff, to his lawyers, to the judge, to the jury, and to his family - was: "I have nothing to say." He was not afraid of death and was willing to take his motive to the grave.     

In a major novel unlike anything he has written before, John Grisham takes us on an incredible journey, from the Jim Crow South to the jungles of the Philippines during World War II; from an insane asylum filled with secrets to the Clanton courtroom where Pete's defense attorney tries desperately to save him.          

Reminiscent of the finest tradition of Southern Gothic storytelling, The Reckoning would not be complete without Grisham's signature layers of legal suspense, and he delivers every minute.

©2018 John Grisham (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“In this saga of love and war, John Grisham has given us a sprawling and engrossing story about a Southern family, a global conflict, and the kinds of secrets that can shape all of us. From the courtrooms and jails of rural Mississippi to the war-torn Pacific, Grisham spins a tale that is at once entertaining and illuminating.” (Jon Meacham, New York Times best-selling author of The Soul of America)

“John Grisham is not only the master of suspense but also an acute observer of the human condition. And these remarkable skills converge in The Reckoning - an original, gripping, penetrating novel that may be his greatest work yet.” (David Grann, New York Times best-selling author of Killers of the Flower Moon)

“John Grisham is the master of legal fiction, and his latest starts with a literal bang - and then travels backward through the horrors of war to explore what makes a hero, what makes a villain, and how thin the line between the two might be.” (Jodi Picoult, number-one New York Times best-selling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things)

“The quest for justice is only the beginning in this Southern-family saga.... Grisham does so much more this time around.” (Associated Press)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

different

this book was really good in the beginning and then it dragged badly. it was a struggle to finish. then at the end when what I had been waiting for entire book, was revealed, it was a disappointment. this is first Grisham book I did not fully enjoy.

88 of 92 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 11-03-18

Would make a 5 star four hour novella, ...

...but despite being an excellent story stretching it to 17.5 hours required adding 13 hours of boredom. I miss the younger John Grisham who wrote great novels. It's almost as if he no longer gives a damn. Micheal Beck's narration is far better than the book.

170 of 182 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Time I Won’t Get Back

Well, this may be my last John Grisham book. (I would say “definitely,” but hope springs eternal, so who knows?). His last few books have been lackluster, to put it mildly. I was hoping for a comeback with this one. What a disappointment. About a fourth or more of the book was about the actual horrors of WWII, which Grisham apparently threw in to give the book more....what? Beats me. I skipped that part totally. I don’t buy Grisham books to read about war. I think Grisham is cranking them out now just to make a payday, which I doubt he needs. His first books were so gripping and entertaining. I guess that’s why I’ve stuck with him through the many subsequent letdowns, hoping he’d get his groove back. Apparently that’s not going to happen. So, I think I’m done.

198 of 215 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Worst Grisham novel.

I was expecting a court drama but 50% of the novel is historical information about WW2 which is not bad but not what I wanted from a Grisham novel. Read the first 3 hours and the final hour and save yourself 13 hours!

51 of 55 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Depressing!! Wish I never read it!

Horribly depressing long drawn out you could skip the entire war segment and not miss a thing! Hoping for so much more and was so disappointed! Don’t waste a credit!

128 of 141 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • kechia
  • Harrisburg, PA, United States
  • 10-25-18

Dissappointed in a favorite

Ive never hated a John Grisham book.....until now. This was a LAME, useless and tired story of a poor lil rich girl in the south. I wasted 17 hrs I cant get back. disappointed. I guess they cant all be magic.

50 of 55 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not his best

The story gets lost during the WWII portion that lasts longer than the actual Bataan death march. The story was predictable and the whole book was a disappointment.

109 of 122 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Not the usual Grisham novel

I can only say that the time it took to listen to this book would have been better spent elsewhere. This is not up to his old “The Firm” standards. Not even the same genre

77 of 86 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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How unlikely can a story be?

I am 112 chapters into the story and it seems to be an effort at character development. To my mind that fails by now. I am returning the book now.

36 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Absolutely Awful

I'm literally stunned by this book. Wondering what Grisham was trying to accomplish. While trying to get through it, I often thought about his previous books, A Time to Kill, The Firm, and others. Perhaps he's out of words.

76 of 86 people found this review helpful