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The Racketeer by John Grisham

The Racketeer (original 2012; edition 2012)

by John Grisham

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1,634814,433 (3.65)47
Title:The Racketeer
Authors:John Grisham
Info:Doubleday (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Racketeer, The by John Grisham (2012)



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Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
The Racketeer is yet another thriller from John Grisham. The story is Grisham-twisty and keeps you wondering who really did the deed. The characters are engrossing and all of them wouldn't find suburbia a bucket of fun...even the dead guy. Grisham even takes on some social angles, albeit tangentially--maybe the whole book is a social commentary? ( )
  buffalogr | Aug 9, 2015 |
This John Grisham was a little different---I wasn't sure I really liked "Malcolm" and then, with all the ups, downs and sideways of the story. Yes, the ending provided the answers and as even the author's note explained, this was more than ever entirely a work of fiction---no research whatsoever! Given that, it was another good work from Grisham, but not one of my favorites. ( )
  nyiper | Jul 18, 2015 |
Nice twist to look forward to. ( )
  tjsween | Jun 15, 2015 |
For the last several years I've stuck to literary and highly reviewed books of any genre because there are just too many great books out there and not enough time to read them all. This time though, I felt like a nice, easy paperback. John Grisham is not a hack (A Time to Kill and The Firm were brilliant), and not as much of a sell-out as James Patterson (at least he writes his own books), so I thought that The Racketeer might be a quick weekend read.

It wasn't the worst book ever written but it wasn't great either. The writing was okay, the plot was creative but not in the least bit believable, and, as Grisham himself admits, the research was nonexistent.

There’s no need to go over the plot again since it’s been done many times over on this site and elsewhere. But I feel an overwhelming need to point out the plot holes, absurd generalizations and utter impossibilities in this book.

Spoilers to follow.

A black drug trafficker, from a black drug trafficking family, that is caught with a van-load of pure cocaine, does NOT end up in a federal “day spa” for white collar criminals. Never.

Quinn’s sister who has stayed away from the family business her entire life, does not decide to embark upon a criminal conspiracy to kidnap and rob a meth dealer/killer after making eye contact with a prison inmate from across the room.

Max/Malcolm slipped four kilos of coke into Nathan Cooley’s backpack. FOUR KILOS! One does not simply slip four kilos of coke anywhere. A few ounces would have done the job. Four kilos would have cost $80 to $120 thousand dollars. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has four kilos of pure cocaine lying around in case somebody needs to be framed.

When they land in Jamaica with Nathan’s ninety kilos, an AK-47 , a grenade launcher and a harem of white women to be sold into slavery, the Jamaican authorities let Max/Malcolm walk away. They detain the pilots and the plane because something something Caribbean corruption but they have no interest in the man who chartered the flight. Max/Malcolm even gets to visit Cooley in jail because… Jamaica.

The best line of the book. A Jamaican authority interviewing Nathan Cooley asks him about the FOUR KILOS of pure cocaine, “Was it all for personal consumption or did you intend to sell some of it to other rich Americans?” –That line sums up this books for me.

Bannister had extensive plastic surgery to change his appearance to the point that he is no longer recognizable to anyone from his old life, including people he lived with in prison. BUT… he was able to enter the country with his old passport because a white customs officer thinks “we all look the same.”

I have to stop there before my head explodes. But I can’t, not yet.

Grisham’s other huge mistake was introducing Nathan Cooley as a sympathetic character. You feel bad for him from the beginning. He had little choice in the life he lived. His family pushed him into a lifestyle and that was all he knew. Then his brother was murdered and he went to jail. When we met Cooley he had actually turned his life around and was doing well. In the last couple pages we learn that he killed the judge and his girlfriend. That does little to avoid the human empathy that a normal person (or a fleshed out character) would feel for someone that did absolutely nothing to them personally. That’s just not how human nature works. If Grisham’s Max/Bannister has no empathy or compassion for a man whom he just kidnapped, set up, had tortured for his own personal gain, and then sold to the US for immunity (and gold, gold I say) once again, then Max/Bannister is the worst monster in this book by far. I don’t’ believe that was the protagonist Grisham was going for.

Grisham’s best books worked for two reasons. They were written with a tremendous amount of heart and they relied upon his expertise as a lawyer. I believe he wrote this book because his agent told him to and to make more money. Probably even enough money to buy four kilos of cocaine and enjoy a fun-filled weekend in the sun.
( )
  ScottOglesby | Jun 12, 2015 |
I listened to it on CD and enjoyed it. I think it would make a good movie, and the actor who narrated the book should play Bannister! ( )
  sandra.k.heinzman | Apr 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
Grisham’s novel has been hanging around the best-seller lists for a few weeks now. It’s easy to see why. Grisham is the master of the school of telling the readers what happens rather than showing them, and there’s a huge market for that kind of thing.

In the new book, an Afro-American lawyer is sentenced to prison for a white collar crime he didn’t commit. He sets out to get even with the FBI, the prosecutors and everybody else who locked him up. In ways that might baffle even the Perry Masons of the world, the jailed lawyer succeeds.
added by VivienneR | editThe Toronto Star, Jack Batten (Jan 11, 2013)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Grishamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beutnagel, Jofre HomedesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sappinen, Jorma-VeikkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I am a lawyer, and I am in prison.
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Book description
Read 02-2014. Read in Ft Laud & Providence. Complex scam by framed black lawyer Malcom Bannister to get revenge on the US govt for wrekcing his life
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385535147, Hardcover)

The Racketeer  was one of Amazon's mystery/thriller Best Books of the Month picks for October. A Q&A with the author:

Grisham3Describe The Racketeer in one sentence. 

A federal judge is murdered, and our hero in prison knows who did it, and why.

What's on your nightstand/bedside table/Kindle?

Ian McEwan’s latest novel, Sweet Tooth; a friend’s manuscript; and a Kindle Fire loaded with daily newspapers, magazines, and about three dozen books.

Top 3-5 favorite books of all time?

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; A Confederacy of DuncesThe Grapes of Wrath; Little Drummer Girl

Important book you never read?

There are so many. Atlas Shrugged, though I’ve been told for the past 30 years that it’s unreadable.

Book that made you want to become a writer?

To Kill a Mockingbird made me question race for the first time in my young, insulated, white life. It also inspired me to try and write something great.

Memorable author moment?

I received a note from Harper Lee, along with an autographed first edition of To Kill A Mockingbird.

What's your most prized/treasured possession?

A first edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, signed by the author.

Pen envy - book you wish you'd written?

Harry Potter – he’s the only dude I can’t outsell.

Author crush - who's your current author crush?

I’m 57 years old.  Crushes are for sophomores.

What's favorite method of procrastination? Temptation? Vice?

Don’t get me started. I can waste enormous amounts of time, and with no guilt whatsoever. Currently, I’m doing so on the golf course, playing a game that I took up only four years ago and is driving me nuts.

What do you collect?

First editions, primarily Faulkner, Hemingway, and Steinbeck.

Best piece of fan mail you ever got?

The letter began: “As the newly elected President of the Arkansas Bar Association, it is incumbent upon me to suggest various topics for your future novels……” I don’t think I finished reading the letter.

What's next for you?

I’m hard at work on Theo 4 -  “Theodore Boone, The Activist.”

>See all of John Grisham's books.

>Read a New York Times review of The Racketeer

(author photo by Bob Krasner)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:16 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When a federal judge and his secretary fail to appear for a scheduled trial and panicked clerks call for an FBI investigation, a harrowing murder case ensues and culminates in the imprisonment of a lawyer who imparts the story of who killed the judge and why. 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 Fogletree just became number five. His body was found in the basement of a lakeside cabin he had built himself and frequently used on weekends. When he did not show up for a trial on Monday morning, his law clerks panicked, called the FBI, and in due course the agents found the crime scene. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies, Judge Fogletree and his young secretary. I did not know Judge Fogletree, but I know who killed him, and why. I am a lawyer, and I am in prison. It's a long story.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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