The Racketeer by John Grisham – review

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  • What’s The Racketeer all about? Malcom Bannister is a mild-mannered prisoner jailed for a crime he didn’t commit. A former lawyer, he finds himself serving a 10-year sentence that ultimately robs him of his life, wife and young son. But Malcom has some information that can secure his release.

    Claiming to know who killed a prominent federal judge, Malcom is in the position to change his life forever… but just what is he up to?

    goodtoknow says: Malcom is such a good character to get behind. Told through his first person perspective and from the point of view of the FBI, you see both sides of the story as it unfolds. Intelligent, calm and adamant of his innocence, Malcom starts the book as a thoroughly good man and although his actions get increasingly more dramatic, you be on his side right up until the end of the book.

    The FBI, on the other hand, do not come out well from this story. Always one step behind Malcom, they are also the reason for his false incarceration – which puts them firmly in his sites for his revenge plot.

    The plot in question is sheer brilliance. You’d think that by having the story from his perspective you’d understand or at least guess what Malcom was up to and what his next actions were going to be. We can honesty say we had absolutely no idea what Malcom was up to from page to page and even as the end approached, we still couldn’t predict what was going to happen – a rarity in modern thriller books.

    The legal wrangling normally associated with Grisham’s novels is kept to a minimum in The Racketeer, with details of court cases, judges roles and FBI procedure kept to a minimum and the narrative firmly in the thick of the action.

    Some of the characters aren’t as fully rounded as the marvellously complex Malcom – his ladylove Vanessa is little more than a good body and a helping pair of hands. Fellow inmates are categorised by their race and social background and for the majority, fall into the stereotypical pitfalls. This is just a minor fault in an otherwise brilliant book.

    Engaging, challenging and a true mystery story, The Racketeer will keep you hooked and completely in the dark until the very last pages – and you’ll love every moment of it.

    Rating: 9/10
    You’ll like this if you liked: A Wanted Man, Lee Child

    Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
    Publish Date: Out now

    Buy it now on Amazon

    More books reviews in the goodtoknow Book Club.

    Have you read The Racketeer by John Grisham? If you have, tell us what you thought of it by publishing your review in the comments box below.

    Where to next?

    Sue Townsend’s The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year – review

    SJ Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep – review

    See the new titles in goodtoknow’s 2013 Book Club

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