The Racketeer is the latest brilliant legal thriller from John Grisham. It is an absorbing tale from start to finish and has some fiendishly unexpected twists and turns that I absolutely loved.
Malcolm Bannister used to be a fairly typical reasonably successful small town lawyer. That was until he was accused and sentenced for ten years after being innocently caught up in a massive money laundering operation. He is also the only black man imprisoned for a white collar crime in the prison. At the start of The Racketeer, he is halfway through his sentence, keeping his head down and getting on with his work in the prison library and advising fellow inmates on various legal matters.
Five years into his sentence a somewhat isolated incident occurs and a federal judge, Raymond Fawcett, is murdered near the small town of Roanoke. It would seem to have nothing to do with Bannister apart from the fact that he claims to know who the murderer is. In exchange for naming the individual to the FBI, he wants immediate release, witness protection and a new identity complete with new looks. Eventually, a deal is struck and the release is complete. However, things are not exactly as they seem as the events that follow bear out.
The Racketeer is a clever and absorbing read that will keep the reader guessing from start to finish. Set against the background of the American legal system, it is fascinating reading about Bannister’s dealings with the FBI and what ultimately happens as he goes through the Witness Protection scheme and re-emerges as Max Walker. He is an intriguing character and I enjoyed reading about the tension between him and the FBI agents who were supposed to be protecting him.
I’ve always enjoyed reading John Grisham’s books and The Racketeer ranks for me as highly as some of his best and particularly The Litigators which was his previous book. His books are always tense, gripping and very readable and The Racketeer is no exception. I definitely recommend it to all Grisham fans.
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