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The Racketeer

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3.8  ·  Rating details ·  71,899 Ratings  ·  7,170 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
...more
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Doubleday
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Philipp
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Rob Damon The ending was predictable, and dragged on a little. But on the whole, it was a clever plot.

Community Reviews

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Ruds
Oct 23, 2012 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.
Paula
Feb 23, 2013 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
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Rena
Nov 22, 2012 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
Frances
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: past-favourites
John Grisham is Back with a Winner!
I haven’t read a John Grisham book in a long time. This little gem was picked up recently and it was a pleasant surprise. It moved along at a good pace, had an excellent story line, first class dialogue, and will definitely keep the reader on the edge. It is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed every page.
Jonathan Ashleigh
Oct 07, 2014 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.
Andrew
Feb 04, 2013 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
...more
Sarah
Jan 24, 2013 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
Barbara
Feb 10, 2013 rated it did not like it

Malcolm Bannister was an attorney in a small firm when he was inadvertently caught up in a money laundering scheme, convicted under the RICO statutes, and sent to federal prison. There he became a 'prison lawyer' helping other convicts with their appeals. etc. When Judge Fawcett - a federal judge in Virginia - is murdered, Bannister contacts the FBI, claiming he will name the killer in exchange for immediate release from prison.

This happens, and once he is free Bannister, with help from a woman
...more
Joseph
Oct 23, 2012 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
...more
James Thane
Jan 10, 2014 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
...more
Rohit Enghakat
Rounding off the year with another book in the "Read" shelf from my once-one-of-the-favourite authors who is fast falling off my favourite lists.

I picked up this e-book with great hopes of getting a good courtroom drama, what with the blurb mentioning about a Supreme Court judge being murdered and the protagonist being a lawyer behind bars (the author has introduced a black lawyer as a protagonist). However, my hopes were dashed as I progressed through the book. The plot is about how a lawyer u
...more
Desiree
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
Stephen
Jun 21, 2013 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
Mal Warwick
Nov 02, 2012 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
...more
Delee
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
...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
...more
Una Tiers
Mar 20, 2016 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.
Bethan Watson
Jul 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller-mystery
This is a mystery/suspense novel surrounding a wrongly accused lawyer (Malcolm Bannister) sent to prison for ten years. While in federal prison, he uses his legal knowledge to aide other prisoners with their current legal battles, looking for any loopholes to find them early release. When he meets fellow prisoner Quinn Rucker, everything changes for Malcolm.

I have been hearing about John Grisham books for quite a while now, so when I picked up this novel to begin reading I felt as if I was a lat
...more
Teresa Crawford
Oct 26, 2012 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
...more
Lewis Weinstein
Dec 25, 2012 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.
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
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
Natalie Vellacott
Probably the most contemporary John Grisham book I've read, not really the better for it though.

The Racketeer is relayed partly in the first person which made for a nice change of pace at first. However, it ended up being quite slow. The story development and building of suspense took so long and was just centering on one main theme. There weren't the usual intricacies or the tangled web to be navigated by the reader.

Malcolm Bannister, a lawyer, found himself on the wrong side of the law when he
...more
Ric
Oct 26, 2012 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

...more
Drew
Nov 25, 2012 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
...more
Noeleen
Oct 23, 2012 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
...more
Jim
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
...more
Britany
Oct 19, 2012 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
...more
Iris P
Love John Grisham but this book was all over the place, with a pretty implausible plot and I also find it kind of difficult to follow.
I am giving it 3 stars just because Grisham is such a prolific writer that he can be forgiven if he doesn't always hits the mark.
If you have not read other Grisham's books I suggest you start with some classic (A Time To Kill, The Confessions, The Firm are all wonderful reads if a bid dated now). Out of the more recent Grisham books, I really enjoy Sycamore Row, w
...more
Matthew
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, legal-drama, kindle, own
This was a fun and twisted story where you are never quite sure what is going on. Grisham does a good job of crafting an unbelievable tale of a falsely accused victim working our federal system to his advantage and turning his bad luck into "gold" .
Helena (Renchi King)
Grisham i u ovom romanu sjajan!
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32,421 followers
"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.” 17 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.” 8 likes
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