A racketeer is “one who obtains money illegally, as by fraud, extortion, etc.” The Racketeer is the story of a wrongfully imprisoned lawyer who seeks revenge on the legal system that failed him (while trying to make a sizable profit as well). In John Grisham’s latest legal thriller, he continues to prove his mastery of this genre.
Malcolm Bannister is our protagonist racketeer, who uses the murder of a judge to hatch a scheme to get out of prison. His plan works, but we soon learn that there was a lot more to it. The story begins to drag in the middle as Bannister gets involved with a new character, but Grisham knows what he’s doing and quickly sucks you back into the story as you race to get to the satisfying end.
The character of Bannister continues Grisham’s latest trend of not-quite-likable protagonists. Their belief systems and moral code stray far enough from my own that I find it hard to sympathize with them as a character. Yet the logic of their moves and plotting manages to get me to emotionally invest in the character.
While Grisham’s latest thrillers have been fairly run-of-the-mill thriller fodder, his storytelling abilities continue to be remarkable. No matter how uninteresting the premise of his novels sound, he is sure to suck you into the story. And sometimes that’s all you really want in a book.
- Other Grisham novels: Calico Joe, The Litigators
- The Racketeer (nochargebookbunch.com)
- Grisham’s twisty ‘Racketeer’ keeps readers riveted (triblive.com)