Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Racketeer, by John Grisham

John Grisham has done it again.  He has cranked out another yarn to keep you awake turning the pages late into the night.  With much that will be familiar to Grisham's readers, The Racketeer tells the story of disillusionment with the legal system, revenge, and a quest for personal redemption.  Grisham does take a turn that I didn't expect, with a con job worthy of a David Mamet film.

Malcolm Bannister made the mistake of naively taking the wrong client and got roped into a major racketeering case.  Though he did nothing wrong (intentionally, anyway), he ended up doing time in a federal prison, where he gained a reputation among inmates as a great jailhouse lawyer.  Using information gleaned from other inmates, he offers information about the murder of a federal judge in exchange for his freedom.  The feds give him a cash reward and a new identity, and Bannister begins his plot in earnest.

Bannister, who I believe is Grisham's first African-American main character, has the brains and devious wits of many of his other characters.  The Racketeer itself has the brains but quite a bit more wit (in various senses of the word) than other Grisham novels.  I knew there was something fishy going on, and at first blamed it on the stupid story.  I should have known better; Grisham puts it all together with flair.

Grisham doesn't write for high-brow literary meat, but as a story teller.  He spins a tasty yarn here that, more so than many of his other books, will satisfy your literary sweet tooth.

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