Grisham's twisty 'Racketeer' keeps readers riveted
“Let's make a deal” isn't a game show, it's a con game in John Grisham's latest legal thriller.
And if all goes according to plan, “The Racketeer's” Malcolm Bannister is going to game his way out of a federal prison camp in Frostburg, Md.
Halfway through a 10-year sentence for a crime he did not commit, Bannister, 43, a former attorney for an African-American law firm in Winchester, Va., may have hit the jackpot when it comes to holding all the cards.
A federal judge and his mistress have been found murdered in an isolated mountain cabin. Their bodies are discovered in the basement near a behemoth-sized safe that's now empty.
Investigators have no idea who committed the crimes, but Bannister does — and he knows what was in the safe. He'll tell all if the feds let him walk free.
But as in any decent thriller, that's not all there is to the story. The wrongly convicted Bannister may start out looking like a patsy, but he's got more leverage, more tactical skills and employs more strategic thinking than the FBI can muster as it considers giving him a deal.
The best thing about “The Racketeer” comes, in part, from an appreciation for the time and calculated thinking that Grisham, the author of more than a dozen legal thrillers, has invested in his clever, twisty plot. You know something big is going on, you just can't fathom what it is.
Few people, if any, will figure out what Bannister is really up to until Grisham neatly ties it up with a bow in the closing pages. And the clues, schemes and conspiracies, more colorful than the gaudiest prison jumpsuit, feed a story line that gets additional octane from drugs, bribery, sex, corruption and one of Grisham's favorite plot threads, corporate greed.
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.
Carol Memmott is a staff writer for USA Today.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Recent early retirements in NFL could be trend — or simply a coincidence
- Reversing the field: Pirates continue to raid Yankees for hidden skill
- Charleroi man jailed in teen sex assault case
- Steelers’ Tomlin, Pirates’ Hurdle share similar philosophy
- Mother of Kiski student files lawsuit against bus company, driver
- Business roundup: DEP to hold 1st hearing on Shell permit for cracker plant; more
- Dorfman: Fossil, Pilgrims Pride, Micron latest picks for Casualty List
- Rostraver man arrested on multiple drug charges
- Frazer residents rattled by potholes
- Vietnam Veterans Celebration at Tarentum VFW brings ‘brothers’ back together
- Injuries to Penguins’ Ehrhoff, Letang force defense to pick up slack