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Showing 1-10 of 8,828 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 10,914 reviews
on October 7, 2014
My fist Grisham and a bit of a disappointment.
It started out great. I really enjoyed the book till about half way through and then it fell flat.
I did not like any character and for me to like a book there has to be someone, any one, with some redeeming qualities. There has to be a hero. There has to be someone I can root for. I didn't find a single person, or in-fact institution, that I can support. That was my biggest problem with it.
I was hoping the protagonist Mal/Max can be that be it really took a turn for the worst.
The way that the actual killer was set up and framed, even though far fetched (I'm actually okay with things being far fetched), was just so cold that it left me thinking "yeah this guy has done it but he hasn't really done anything to deserve being treated like this by Max when he hasn't done anything wrong with Max". This just made me dislike everyone else even more.
The appearance of the girlfriend from the middle of no where was just ridiculous. Mal didn't even think of her till about 50% of the book! She felt a little forced to me.
I think the only thing that kept me reading this book till the end is the first half. It was intriguing till that point then just got tedious.
I hope my next Grisham is better than this one.
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on March 27, 2016
So far unbelievable. I don't know if I can continue to read this. I cannot believe that an attorney, even a small town attorney would not have any sense at all in receiving a wrong payment of several million dollars.

First of all, the attorney says that after a gazillion changes in the name of the client (why doesn't that ring a bell? Why don't you know who you are representing?) the client was supposed to send him $450,000, $400,000 of which was supposed to pay the first 2 months rent. Now, first of all, why would the client pay rental for 2 months and then buy the property? Second, why send the rental to the attorney to pay the rental?

Then he receives millions of dollars. And the book doesn't even say that these millions are put into an escrow account for the benefit of the client (but then of course, he doesn't know who the client is!). He doesn't contact the IRS, because I guess he never figures out that he could be liable for the taxes on several million dollars and that maybe, of course, the money is being laundered.

Of course he is a small time lawyer and never heard of laundering money -- LOL!

Then he finally instructs his banker to send the money back (although he still should have contacted the IRS), but the banker can't make up his mind what to do for 2 days..... HUH?

THEN, he is offered a deal to plead guilty, but says he wouldn't accept it because he was innocent. He was NOT innocent. He accepted several hundred million dollars, put it into his attorney account (NOT an escrow account) and never contacted the IRS or any other governmental agency.

Then, he writes to the FBI and says he knows who is the killer of the judge, and wants the FBI to release him (on his own recognizance) because he says he knows who the killer is. But, at the point in the story that I am, he gives no guarantees, gives no hints, gives no assurances that he would be returned to prison if he is wrong. BUT the FBI is interested.....? Why? Because the warden says he has been a good inmate.

I am not an attorney (although was a real estate broker) and certainly know more than this dumb bum. I'll write more if the story gets any more believable. Otherwise I give up.
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VINE VOICEon February 16, 2013
Fans of John Grisham will recognize this as being in the main of his style -- a book where the law and legal system are the fulcrum upon which the tale grows from and turns.

Though not concerned with great issues of society or justice as the author plumbed in The Chamber and A Time To Kill, this book does offer a commentary on the government's aggressive of the RICO statute and the severity of sentencing in the federal system.

Malcolm Bannister is a first rate character as are a couple of the criminals he interacts with. The story is told in Bannister's first person pespective when he is present in the scene - and in the third person when he is not. Bannister, a federal prisoner locked away in a country-club prison is rightly mad about his conviction. A model prisoner, he is biding his time until he gets the gift of knowledge that will help solve the murder of a federal judge. He has a deal in mind. But the seemingly straight-fowrard story is anything but as plot twists emerge from Grisham's fertil mind to take the reader on a trip that unfolds clever schemes and interesting characters Without giving detail that could ruin the plot, I would definately recommend this for fans of the author's legal thrillers. Though not as wholly focused on the law as some of his other books, this book combines interesting aspects of the federal correctional and justice system that gives form a narrative that moves. An enjoyable read.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 31, 2012
While John Grisham may have a formula, it's one that I count on and love. He starts out with an underdog who's underestimated and always wins in the end, which is of course, that he stops being a lawyer. haha.

But seriously, I'm not giving away the plot because the story starts out with a forty-something, African-American lawyer who's spent the last five years of his life in a 'club-med' prison for white collar offenders. Malcom is too smart to serve all 10 years of his sentence, and when a local supreme court judge is murdered, along with his secretary, guess who has the answer as to who-done-it? Certainly not the federal government, the ones responsible for ruining Malcom's life with trumped up charges of racketeering.

How Malcom beats the government drones at their own game is both awe-inspiring and hilarious. Everything seemed pretty cut and dry in the middle of the book and I found myself ready to relax my break-neck speed-reading marathon, but of course this is John Grisham, master story teller, and when he throws a new hook in the story, I find myself once again unable to put the book down.

I love how Grisham's hero's come alive in his stories. These are real people with all their strengths and foibles, totally relateable and sympathetic. Another thing I love, is learning about the life of lawyers, and in The Racketeer, I learned way too much about what it would be like to be in prison. I have to wonder if Grisham had himself locked up for a few months to be able to write so realistically about our hell-hole of a prison system.

But my favorite thing about Grisham's novels, is his compassion for the underdog. Too often those in power take advantage of those without power. Grisham's novels at least point that fact out, and then show us ways to even the scales so to speak.

The Racketeer is another fascinating romp through the legal world, this time showing how the government that was put in place to protect us, can sometimes be our worst enemy. Grisham once again writes the perfect book for a long airplane ride, beach or anywhere when you need some fun escapism. He's never disappointed me yet.
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on September 10, 2013
This latest Grisham novel seems to follow the formula of 'The Firm' very closely: A trusting and somewhat naive small-town lawyer is duped into serving as an unwitting conspirator in a money laundering scheme and sent to federal prison by an unscrupulous corrupt judge. This judge, recently slain at his cabin, had a safe stuffed with gold ingots. There, at a low security prison camp, Mal the protagonist, meets s kindred spirit and cooks up a plot for each of them to be released from prison under Rule 35, i.e., helping law enforcement solve a different crime. His new prison pal has a sister to whom Mal, takes a liking, and she in cahoots with the other two, becomes a major player in the scheme. They are successful in outwitting the FBI, getting the money, and lease a yacht and head off to the Caribbean to bask in the sun until the cows come home (or the money runs out, which will be never).

The biggest problem I have had with Grisham's last several books and this one included is that it sounds like a newspaper article or a report, or a shopping list. the sentences are very static and matter-of-fact: I did that, she did this, then we went there, etc. Perhaps it's been his style since the beginning, but if so, I never noticed in the early novels, and I've read every single novel he's written, well, except the Christmas one.

I'll give him a huge amount of brownie points for knowing that the past tense of 'sneak' is 'sneaked' and not 'snuck'. I got a ruler over the knuckles in school for making that mistake, a few times, and so I never forget it, even if 'snuck' once not even considered a word, is now making its way into dictionaries, mostly American, for now, but others are catching up, and I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes common usage. It's a pet peeve of mine and it was almost a relief to see it in print again - a small thing...but I noticed it. He also knows the difference in applying 'lie' 'lay' 'laid' and 'lain'- again refreshing to see - and it shouldn't be. Just had to get that said.

Although the plot was heavily formulaic, I found the details of this version just interesting enough to hold my attention, and I enjoyed it, mostly, but with skills of his caliber, it would be wonderful if he would sit down and write from the heart, something he believed in and was deeply proud of, something that would grip and rivet the imagination, stir up and magnify the emotions and elevate the spirit and send it soaring. He can do it, I'm certain of it, but these last several books seem written as if he didn't care, written almost grudgingly and perhaps even defiantly -perhaps to get his publishers off his back and to keep the pot boiling.

Well, it is what it is, and his style is his own. More of the same, but that's not such a bad thing. I've liked it well enough to keep buying his books.
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THE RACKETEER is one big scam from beginning to end. I hasten to add that it's written by John Grisham, in case you think I'm writing a negative review. I'm not. I'm just alerting you to the premise of the book. Grisham's name will provide the motive to read it and his writing will generate the spark to create a best seller.

A reviewer has to be careful about giving too much away with a book like this; with a storyline as thin as tissue, it would be easy to reveal it all. In fact, this novel written by most other authors would be immediately assigned to the big stack of discount books at B&N. All of the characters are sleazy with not an honest thought in their heads. The cops are gullible and befuddled. No one is likeable. The frenetic travel is too exhausting to be believed. The plot is simplistic and completely predictable. That's a lot of downside for a book that is so enjoyable to so many people. Grisham turns a wart to pure gold.

Grisham, from the beginning of his prolific career, was adept at taking mundane legal stuff and turning it into gems of intrigue that everyone seemed to be lusting for. His clear treatment of complicated plots makes us all feel an integral part of his story, and he never loses us in tangles of sticky situations. Everything comes out orderly and logical. One can enjoy the story without a lot of contemplation as needed to read, say, Joyce or Faulkner.

And so it is with THE RACKETEER. We don't have to fall in love with the characters or spend a lot of time agonizing over life in prison. There's no need to absorb the intricacies needed to handle gold. We can just glide along with the story, close the book when it's over, and think about how much we enjoyed it.

How does Grisham do it? Believe me; a lot of wannabes would love to know the answer to that. I attribute it to a wonderful way with language, an orderly and inventive mind, and the ability to keep his mind on his work. I imagine that Grisham can sit down and crank out stories with one hand, play Mozart with the other, and tie a bow tie with his tongue at the same time, never missing a beat. Oh the injustice of it all.

Schuyler T Wallace
Author of TIN LIZARD TALES
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon August 30, 2016
We all know John Grisham is one of the best anthers ever! The Racketeer is indeed one of his best to date. So good in fact it's even worth slowing down to read so you don't miss any of the clues. The man is indeed innocent and has been thrown in jail for a crime he didn't commit. Something that unfortunately happens to often in our legal system.
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on March 8, 2013
Quite frankly, I was stunned at the 1,900+ five-star reviews, hailing this book as a "page-turner". I wondered if maybe I missed out on the "Page-Turner Special Edition" and instead accidentally picked up the "Slow, Plodding, Wish You Could Get Your Money Back Edition".

But what exactly makes a page-turner?

For me, I need someone to root for. I have to have some sort of emotional investment in the character and his or her fate. I have read nearly all of Grisham's novels, and I've always had this connection with his protagonists - even those who were terribly, deeply flawed.

My relationship with Malcolm Bannister started off just fine. In the early pages, Malcolm is reminiscent of Stephen King's Andy Dufresne from "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" - professional, unfairly convicted, plying his former trade in the jailhouse to pass the time.

But Malcolm began to lose me when two murders set into motion a sequence of events that he has clearly been anticipating for some time.

The second murder was particularly horrific. As I continued reading, I found it hard to stomach that Malcolm was willing to leverage this tragedy for his own personal gain. And the less interest that I had in Malcolm's well-being, the less interest I had in turning pages.

Had Grisham left out the more gratuitous murder, I might have maintained a little more sympathy and respect for Malcolm. But as it turned out, I did finally find someone in this book to root for: The Feds.
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VINE VOICEon December 25, 2013
I am a fan of Grisham, having enjoyed many of his books - but this is not his strongest performance.

The protagonist is an African American lawyer whom we meet in federal prison halfway through a 10-year sentence unjustly imposed for getting caught up unwittingly in a money laundering scam. He plots an elaborate scheme to get out of jail, get rich and reap a well-deserved revenge on the feds. The book describes how this unlikely scheme unfolds, detail by detail, with a few surprises along the way. It doesn't bear too much analysis because the scheme is pretty preposterous and rests on many unlikely coincidences. Still, as is usual with Grisham, one suspends disbelief and follows along for the ride.

As usual with this author, plot trumps character. None of the players here are very vivid and the protagonist and his love interest are so bland as to be utterly forgettable. Grisham doesn't do sex or passion very well - but this has to be one of the least sexy or passionate love affairs yet depicted in fiction - just another bodily function.

This strikes me as decent book for a plane ride. It's interesting enough to hold one's interest but thoroughly undemanding.
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on November 11, 2012
Usually, I have a few books on my kindle, read a chapter or two then on to the next book and rotate through them. Drawback is it takes longer to finish a book, but fun when you can cross off 3 or 4 in a week. However, there are some authors who tell a story so well that I stick with it until I am finished. Lee Child fits this category and so does John Grisham. Great story telling, interesting plot that kept me guessing in a book that moved right along. Some people found the central character less than sympathetic but think about how you would feel if you were railroaded into prison under those circumstances. An enjoyable bit of "mind candy" to offset all the political and non-fiction material I have been immersed in lately!
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