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The Racketeer

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  54,440 Ratings  ·  6,259 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Doubleday
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Rob Damon The ending was predictable, and dragged on a little. But on the whole, it was a clever plot.
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7th out of 150 books — 614 voters
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20th out of 33 books — 245 voters

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Oct 27, 2012 Ruds rated it it was amazing
The John Grishman of yore has resurfaced with this book. Just when I am beginning to doubt that he is still capable of creating works of the same calibre as his earlier outputs, he came up with this book that is so engrossing I am sure his wayward fans would be resurrected. To say that this has come in the most opportune time is an understatement.
Feb 23, 2013 Paula rated it did not like it
Oh how the mighty have fallen, and Grisham splats facedown with this mess. Grisham is trying for genius protagonist who outsmarts everyone around him, but instead of coming up with clever plans he's just got a smart mouth while the author dumbs everyone else down so far they should be wearing special helmets and riding a short bus.

The Feebees are right outta Mayberry, the "hero" is a DICK and none of the story is even remotely credible. Grisham didnt even try. The book starts with the feds being
Nov 22, 2012 Rena rated it did not like it
The reason I have read all of John Grisham's legal novels is that I like the idea of the little guy taking on the big guy, the bully, the "man" in general. I don't even care if the little guy wins as long as he puts up a good fight. In this story I kept waiting for Mal/Max to become the good guy. The guy that fights the system for the wronged, that avenges his mistreatment by making sure the system works for the next underdog. It didn't happen. Turns out Mal/Max is just a thug, and robs other th ...more
Jonathan Ashleigh
Feb 14, 2016 Jonathan Ashleigh rated it it was ok
I felt as though the only reason this was written was so Denzel Washington could star in the film adaptation. The movie could possibly be alright so I would encourage you to wait, but don't be too disappointed if it is a waist of time as well.
Jan 24, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok
Certainly an interesting story but one that almost seemed too pat. At the end after reading the book, I found the author's note saying that none of it was real and that he had not done a lot of research on the topic. I don't mind fiction and in fact read a lot of it and have enjoyed Grisham's work in the past. I just found that afterwards it left a sour feeling to read his comments. Perhaps it is the sign of a good storywriter that he didn't need to research and that this story just flowed but i ...more
Feb 04, 2013 Andrew rated it did not like it
I'm not going to waste my time with an extensive review of this book because I have wasted enough time reading it. I will start by saying that I have loved every one of John Grisham's books until this one. (and I've read every one).

Here is a short list of the problems with this book:

1.) The main character is an unlikable hypocrite. Grisham presents Bannister as a character we should root for. A man who was beaten down by the federal government. He really is a deadbeat dad who can't take two minu
Nov 01, 2012 Joseph rated it liked it
Starts off with a bang telling a somewhat formulaic "man against the system" story.

Despite having seen it before, it's still fun to watch Grisham's main character (former lawyer and wrongly imprisoned Malcolm Bannister) execute an end-run around the powers-that-be. It is well a thought-out and executed scenario that while unrealistic at times, leaves the reader in a wistful mode wishing it could be so, as Bannister is likeable and has the reader rooting for him.

Midway through the novel, the plot
James Thane
Jan 10, 2014 James Thane rated it liked it
When a federal judge named Raymond Fawcett is found murdered in his isolated mountain cabin, mysteries abound. The most important question is why did a judge of very modest means need the large state-of-the-art safe that was found hidden behind a bookcase?

Not surprisingly, the safe is now empty. The judge's young secretary who was found murdered beside him, had been tortured before she was killed. the assumption is that the killers tortured her to force the judge to open the safe before killing
Mal Warwick
Nov 02, 2012 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it
John Grisham Walks on the Dark Side, for a Change

When you’re reading somebody’s 25th novel — the 31st of all the books he’s written — you’d be right to expect that he’d gotten the hang of writing. Especially if the guy had already sold more than a quarter of a billion copies of his work. And so it is with John Grisham’s fiendishly clever new novel, The Racketeer. It’s another winner from a man who’s been turning them out for more than two decades.

One aspect of Grisham’s fiendishness is his capac
I hadn't read a John Grisham in quite awhile and had been meaning to read this so I picked it up. It was just meh. I mean, it was the kind of story where the plot just unraveled and nothing else happened. There was no climax. No omg moments---just a plan that used the whole book to describe its unwinding. (view spoiler) ...more
THE RACKETEER is the first John Grisham novel I have read in ten years-I hadn't realized it had been so long until I looked at the release date of The Last Juror (which I read when it first came out). Why I waited so long I do not know, they are always fun and quick reads, with lots of twists and turns.

When I looked on the back of the book describing the plot, I almost put it back on the shelf. It sounded so similar to The Pelican Brief. A dead judge..environmental issue...but reading further I
Sep 12, 2013 Stephen rated it did not like it
Malcolm Bannister is a largely unsuccessful lawyer who was imprisoned by an overly aggressive government prosecutor when he accidentally turned his law firm into a shell company for a shady crook who needed to launder a lot of money. Two years in a minimum-security prison camp are sufficient to turn him from a struggling bungler into a mastermind, and the tangled web of deception he weaves begins when Bannister approaches the FBI with information that can help them solve the execution-style murd ...more
Nan Williams
Grisham has said that he writes his books to be read in one sitting. I believe this one was written in one sitting. He explained it well in his "author's note" at the end: "Almost nothing ... was based on reality. Research, hardly a priority, was rarely called upon. Accuracy was not deemed crucial. Long paragraphs of fiction were used to avoid looking up facts."

At 340 pages it's not a quick read, but I believe it was a quick "write." It's a very shallow book with very shallow characters. There's
Una Tiers
Mar 24, 2016 Una Tiers rated it liked it
My Grisham fan days are waxing and waning. The book begins with a meandering tale. It shifts into the story of the smartest man in the world, able to leap tall buildings and learn copious amounts of information in no time flat. The plot wasn't bad, but the pay per word spoiled things for me.
Feb 06, 2013 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Malcolm Bannister is halfway through a ten year prison sentence for money laundering, a crime he only technically and innocently committed. When a federal judge is murdered, he senses an opportunity to obtain his freedom, because he knows who committed the crime and why. Rules 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure allows for a prisoner to be pardoned or have their sentence reduced if they can solve another crime. His first challenge is getting the attention of the FBI, but eventually he ...more
Teresa Crawford
Oct 26, 2012 Teresa Crawford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh Grisham, you are back!!!!

You had me hooked from the first chapter. I felt like I was on a continuos road trip and the adventure was thrilling. I could almost see Bannister (main character) having a meeting at the George Washington Hotel or gossiping in one of the Old Towne coffee shops or at his office on Braddock Street in Winchester, VA (as this town is my home) so it was easy to visualize the places (New Market battlefield, Reston, Radford, Roanoke, Fairfax, DC, Frostburg) - it made it se
Nov 25, 2012 Drew rated it liked it
John Grisham is a genius. How many times can you re-tell the same story and get people to pay for it each time? Grisham has the secret formula. Here's Grisham's story checklist:

1. Small-town lawyer who was wronged by the Feds.
2. Lots of cash and shady off-shore banking.
3. Righting wrong against Feds (or evil corporations)
4. Bumbling Feds
5. Attractive woman who helps small-town lawyer

The Racketeer has everything in the Grisham story checklist, but somehow it seems different than The Firm, The Ass
Nov 03, 2012 Ric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Contemporary fiction has it easy. All of the backstory, including pieces of equipment, structure or organization, are pre-constructed and readily available. The story can be told with the milieu mostly already prepared. In contrast, in the fantasy and science fiction genres, all of these elements cannot be taken for granted and have to be built in the narrative. Hence, when one picks up a book such as this, the expectation is for a quicker read with not much work required to imagine the locales

Jan 14, 2013 Stewart rated it it was ok
Shelves: no-longer-own
By my count, The Racketeer makes it three stinkers in a row by John Grisham after The Litigators and The Confession. I don't know if he's lost his mojo or what, but he's gone off of the legal thriller rails lately, and, frankly, the only reason I'm still reading his stuff is that they are quick to get through and usually only a couple bucks at the Wheaton Library used book store.

There was no courtroom drama whatsoever in this one, just the odd tale of a supposedly innocent convict working the sy
I've read a few other Grisham novels & this one was pretty much the same. They're the better brand of candy reads. In the author's note he mentions that he did absolutely no research for this book. That's OK since it's his standard fare, a lawyer in a tight spot who figures his way out. I think this is the first I've read where the protagonist was black, but that didn't make any difference.

The first half built up well & I wondered where the second half would go. It was pretty chilling &a
Lewis Weinstein
Jun 22, 2013 Lewis Weinstein rated it it was amazing
"The Racketeer" is the best Grisham and one of the best crime/thrillers I have ever read. Written in an easy-to-read, straight-forward style, the plot mixes brilliant complexity and multiple surprises in a high-tension manner that doesn't end until the last page. That's all I can say, because to say more, even a single word, might interfere with the joy I think you will have experiencing this book for yourself.
***4 gigantic stars***

I went back and forward on how to rate this book. The story was brilliantly developed with fascinating characters and good writing. It sucked me in from the first page and kept my attention to the very last word.
I took away one whole star because I had a major issue with one thing that made me very uncomfortable and at times irritated. But I will come back to that.

What I liked:

- Male MC, Malcolm Bannister. He is a real son of a gun, master manipulator and a scam artist. In
Barış Heybeli
Jan 06, 2013 Barış Heybeli rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 16, 2014 Britany rated it liked it
This was my first Grisham read, and I wasn't disappointed. I wanted to delve in and really savor every word. The beginning was a little slow for me, and the story really picked up towards the end of the second half when you realize that Malcolm/Max has ulterior motives.

The Racketeer intoduces us to Malcolm Bannister, a convicted felon, spending a 10 year sentence in a low security prison for "helping" a known criminal purchase a property illegally. while Malcolm was dished a tough sentence for t
Oct 28, 2012 Anand rated it really liked it
Vintage Grisham! Thrill, intrigue, fun, serious, deceit, revenge- everything one used to find when Grisham used to be at his peak (Firm, Time to Kill, Pelican Brief, Runaway Jury....). First half of the book deals with the central character, Mal Bannister, trying to buy his freedom from jail by becoming an informant about the identity of the killer of a judge. The second half of the book departs almost completely from that, and narrates Bannister's dealings with an ex-con who until then does not ...more
Nov 20, 2013 Rachel rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 01, 2012 Monnie rated it really liked it
In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I've never read a John Grisham book I didn't like - and over the years I haven't missed very many. As such, I opened the book on this one (make that turned on the Kindle) fully expecting to be quite satisfied - and I wasn't disappointed.

The story revolves around a black lawyer named Malcomb Bannister from Winchester, Virginia - a lovely town my husband and I have driven over, under, around and through on many trips to the North Carolina Out
Don Johnson
Nov 17, 2012 Don Johnson rated it it was amazing
Simply fun to read. Fun . . . fun . . . fun!

In my opinion, one of the best John Grisham novels ever. Lots and lots of thrills and excitment. Everything flows from page to page. The subject is facinating and very engaging -- and very unusual. At times, one could quibble with some of the action details and wonder if what just happened could really happen in the real world, but the book is so well written and engaging that those minor "concerns" receed into the background very, very quickly and bec
Dec 04, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
At this point, it'd be easy for John Grisham to go on cruise control, churning out a new legal thriller a year. Anything penned by Grisham at this point is going to be a guaranteed best seller, but it's nice to see that Grisham is still challenging himself and his readers on occasion with books that defy the conventional legal thriller mold.

The first half of Grisham's latest offering The Racketeer feels like Grisham pushing himself into different territory than his standard The Firm model of sto
Jan 31, 2013 Noeleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t read a John Grisham book in years, not since his most early works. I’m so glad I decided to read The Racketeer. It had me hooked from the first page and after that, well, I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough, keeping me up too late the last couple of nights.

The Racketeer is skilfully written, has a engaging story and plot, is nicely paced, has a really clever protagonist in Malcolm Bannister and lots of Feds, I love lots of Feds in a story like this! Gotta love those suits! This bo
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do you find yourself buying books of authors you loved but now getting disappointing 29 299 Oct 16, 2014 08:25AM  
52 weeks, 52 books: Week 38: The Racketeer 5 73 Oct 14, 2014 03:09AM  
52 weeks, 52 books: My review of The Racketeer 1 25 Sep 23, 2013 06:51AM  
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"Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of
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“I guess under the right circumstances, a man will do just about anything.” 14 likes
“How do you survive for years in prison? You don’t think about years, or months, or weeks. You think about today—how to get through it, how to survive it. When you wake up tomorrow, another day is behind you. The days add up; the weeks run together; the months become years. You realize how tough you are, how you can function and survive because you have no choice.” 7 likes
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