The Racketeer by John Grisham

78%

34 Critic Reviews

In “The Racketeer,” Mr. Grisham treats his legions of faithful readers to yet another sure-fire, hard-to-put-down, story-driven thriller.
-Washington Times

Synopsis

The Racketeer is guilty of only one thing: keeping us engaged until the very last page.”—USA Today
 
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
In the history of the United States, only four active federal judges have been murdered. Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five. His body is found in his remote lakeside cabin. There is no sign of forced entry or struggle. Just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied.
 
One man, a former attorney, knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and why. But that man, Malcolm Bannister, is currently residing in the Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland. Though serving time, Malcolm has an ace up his sleeve. He has information the FBI would love to know. Malcolm would love to tell them. But everything has a price—and the man known as the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday.
 
Praise for The Racketeer
 
“Exhilarating . . . surprising . . . ingenious.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
 
“A satisfying, deeply engrossing thriller in which different forms of justice are ultimately served.”—The Washington Post
 
“Fast-paced . . . with enough startling plot twists—and changes of scenery, from Miami to Montego Bay and beyond—to surprise even the most suspicious reader.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Tautly plotted.”—Entertainment Weekly
 

About John Grisham

See more books from this Author
Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction. Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.
 
Published October 23, 2012 by Dell. 402 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Horror, Political & Social Sciences, Crime. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Nov 11 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Racketeer
All: 34 | Positive: 31 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Good
on Dec 03 2012

...Grisham’s plot, which is carefully mapped out without seeming pat, leading to a most satisfying conclusion. In fact, there are plenty of surprises along the way. As ever, a solid, unflashy performance by Grisham.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Oct 17 2012

He strategically keeps Mal’s trickery a few steps ahead of the story, so that we don’t know why he does things until after they have started to happen.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Oct 29 2012

The surprises all work, and the action builds to a satisfying resolution.

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Book Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on Oct 26 2012

...exciting characters, enthralling plot twists, and page-turning action. Grisham is a baseball fan, and so I will pay him the ultimate baseball compliment. In 20 years of writing, he appears to have lost nothing off his fastball.

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Washington Times

Good
Reviewed by John Greenya on Nov 09 2012

In “The Racketeer,” Mr. Grisham treats his legions of faithful readers to yet another sure-fire, hard-to-put-down, story-driven thriller.

Read Full Review of The Racketeer | See more reviews from Washington Times

Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Thom Geier on Oct 26 2012

...Grisham introduces a small-town Virginia lawyer named Malcolm Bannister, who's dubiously convicted of money laundering for a drug-lord client, and maps out a revenge plot from his federal penitentiary cell that's twice as elaborate as the one Alexandre Dumas cooked up in The Count of Monte Cristo.

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The Bookbag

Good
Reviewed by Sue Magee on Nov 01 2012

...one I'll pick up again simply because I really do want to work out how he did it - and did it so effectively!

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Carol Memmott on Oct 22 2012

This is the kind of story that built Grisham's reputation as a lion of the literary thriller. The Racketeer is guilty of only one thing: keeping us engaged until the very last page.

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Express

Above average
Reviewed by David Connett on Nov 11 2012

The key ingredients of Grisham’s successful franchise are all here: the small man pitted against formidable odds armed only with his wits and the battered shield that is the law. It is a formula that has served him well and he’s sold 300 million books worldwide in 40 languages, but he is still tweaking it to prevent complacency.

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Express

Good
Reviewed by David Connett on Nov 11 2012

The Racketeer isn’t without its improbabilities but the author’s laborious research and well-honed sleight-of-hand together with the pace of the narrative never let them fester long enough in the reader’s mind to spoil the enjoyment.

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Look At OKC

Good
Reviewed by Betty Lytle on Jan 20 2013

Everything seems settled when Bannister suddenly has an agenda of his own. This is Grisham at his best: a thriller with a surprise twist that will keep you reading.

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The Washington Post

Good
Reviewed by Bill Sheehan on Oct 22 2012

...a cleverly orchestrated series of twists and reversals. As he shuttles his characters from Maryland to Florida to assorted Caribbean locales...Grisham transforms his once straightforward tale into an elaborate caper that is ingenious, surprising and suspenseful.

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Patheos

Good
Reviewed by Ben Witherington on Nov 27 2012

This novel is so clever, you don’t know whether to applaud or be appalled by the protagonist even after you have read most of the novel.

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Lincoln Journal Star

Good
Reviewed by Francis Moul on Nov 26 2012

We both read it in a couple of days, a common habit with a Grisham book, because we really couldn't lay it down until the last word. Read it.

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Post and Courier

Good
Reviewed by Jacqueline Maduneme on Jan 27 2013

...the story is fast-paced, well-conceived and executed, and it leaves the reader guessing until the very end. There is thrill, intrigue, deceit and revenge. Nothing is as it seems and everything is fair game.

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The Roanoke Times

Good
Reviewed by Jason Barr on Nov 18 2012

...“The Racketeer” moves away from the legalese that occasionally marred Grisham’s other works and instead focuses on the intrigue.

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Chicago Sun Times

Good
Reviewed by Carol Memmott on Oct 25 2012

This is the kind of story that built Grisham’s reputation as a lion of the literary thriller. “The Racketeer” is guilty of only one thing: keeping us engaged until the very last page.

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Open Salon

Good
on Jun 20 2013

...the skilled Grisham keeps his control and never fails his craft. The very statement “long paragraphs of fiction were used to avoid looking up facts” shows the risk in writing this book. Grisham overcomes this risk elegantly.

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San Jose Mercury News

Good
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Nov 01 2012

Grisham writes with rekindled vigor here, strategically keeping Mal's trickery a few steps ahead of the story. And almost in passing, "The Racketeer" illustrates that crime just might pay.

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Helium

Good
Reviewed by Jerry Curtis on Nov 28 2012

The twist in the plot involves “another person,” and the reader will figure it out, but not until very close to the end of this eminently readable and enjoyable novel.

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Reviewing the Evidence

Good
Reviewed by Yvonne Klein on Nov 01 2012

It is, as we have come to expect from this author, enormously entertaining, smoothly written, and with enough substance to make it something more than simply a pleasant way to pass a few hours.

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Booking Mama

Good
Reviewed by Julie P. on Dec 03 2012

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed THE RACKETEER. It's a departure from the traditional Grisham legal thrillers; however, it's a positive change. Highly recommend to fans of thrillers and stories heavy on revenge!

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Quick Book Reviews

Good
on Aug 05 2012

All in all, this promises to be an entertaining, dramatic, thrilling, emotional and no-nonsense story about a very curious murder from the perspective of the man who knows who did it and why it happened.

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A Bookworm's World

Above average
Reviewed by Luanne on Nov 20 2012

...there was just something about Malcolm I didn't like. He's the one we should be rooting for, but I found him to be pompous and cocky. I never did feel sorry for him. Did he get what he deserved? In his eyes, yes. In mine - not really.

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The Guilded Earlobe

Good
on Nov 15 2012

The Racketeer is a highly complicated tale which is less of a legal thriller and more of a mix of confidence game and revenge thriller which pushes right up to the line of implausibility. I loved every minute of it.

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Civilian Reader

Good
Reviewed by Stefan Fergus on Nov 04 2012

...I can’t deny that I enjoyed reading the novel, and eagerly picked it up at every opportunity. It’s engaging and well-written.

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Nashville Book Worm

Above average
on Dec 04 2012

...it does feel, at times, like he’s working too hard to have his characters make points for him...I just hope next time he pushes himself, he does it for the entire book and not just a half a book.

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Mysteries and More from Saskatchean

Good
Reviewed by Bill Selnes on Jan 10 2013

Grisham is just as skilled as Michael Connelly in drawing the reader forward anxious to know what is on the next page.

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Live Your Dream

Excellent
Reviewed by sayedkhadri on Nov 13 2012

Nothing is as it seems and everything’s fair game in this wickedly clever new novel from John Grisham, the undisputed master of the legal thriller. Overall a must read for all John Grisham fans and also for non JG fans, a real page turner, can’t put-down-able book.

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Izzy Reads

Below average
on Jul 21 2013

...the plot of The Racketeer is okay — perhaps a little far-fetched — and there is enough suspense — just about — to keep you turning the pages but the characters lack depth which makes sticking with the story more of an effort than it might otherwise have been.

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A Lot of Pages

Good
on Nov 27 2012

When you've read Grisham before, you realise that nothing is over until the last pages. So, I knew that there was some real goose cooking and I also guessed what would happen next. But the 'why' of the story dragged me to the last page. That's his power. That's how he writes.

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A Lovely Shore Breeze Blog

Good
on Nov 09 2012

I will warn you that at times, things will happen, things will be said, people will do things, that you don't understand. Please, don't worry, it will all become clear soon enough. You just need to see the BIG picture and that will be reveled to the reader, bit by bit, until it all makes sense. Clever, entertaining sense.

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Duffbert's Random Musings

Above average
Reviewed by Thomas Duff on Apr 07 2013

Overall, I liked the story. Grisham throws a number of plot twists into the mix that I didn't see coming.

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Books Club

Above average
on Aug 27 2013

In the beginning one will feel that the book is following the regular trend of John's stories in which the lawyer is in trouble all of a sudden and does not know how to get out of it. But slowly one will get to read the story of Malcolm Bannister a dismissed lawyer, who leads his followers on a long run.

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Reader Rating for The Racketeer
78%

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