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 Fawcett has just become number five.
Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge’s untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland.
On paper, Malcolm’s situation isn’t looking too good these days, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The judge’s body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied.
What was in the safe? The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price—especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett’s death. And the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday . . .
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.
About John Grisham
JOHN GRISHAM is the author of twenty-five novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and two novels for young readers. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.
The Ex-Lawyer (Disbarred) as a Good Guy - ‘The Racketeer,’ by John Grisham
The New York Times Book Review – October 17, 2012 (Excerpt)
At one of many moments in John Grisham’s new novel that find Malcolm Bannister, its main character, taunting federal investigators, he announces: “There is simply no section of your vast federal code that you can possibly use against me.” Mr. Grisham more typically writes about victims or escapees from the law, not about anyone with the nerve to flout authority this brazenly.
But “The Racketeer” is an unusual book for Mr. Grisham. Unlike many of his others, it has no soapbox to stand on and is not out to teach lessons about justice. This book is much more duplicitous than that. In its early stages it does follow the familiar Grisham template, in which a lawyer finds himself unexpectedly in legal trouble. But then it breaks out into the exhilarating tale of how Mal, a disbarred attorney, now a savvy, self-taught legal scholar, leads his pursuers on a long, winding chase.
Mal begins the book as a convict, an ex-Marine and former lawyer who got caught up in racketeering charges related to a crooked influence peddler nicknamed Barry the Backhander. The involvement of Mal’s tiny law firm in executing one of Barry’s real-estate transactions brought Mal a 10-year federal sentence for RICO violations he never knowingly committed. Mal’s wider story also involves a coerced confession, which will prove very helpful later. And Mal happens to be black. That fact seems to have nothing to do with the book until Mr. Grisham makes shrewd use of race later on. [Read the full article...]
Book World: ‘The Racketeer,’ by John Grisham
The Washington Post Book Review – October 22, 2012 (Excerpt)
Since the appearance of his breakout novel, “The Firm,” in 1991, the prolific and popular John Grisham has been a fixture on national bestseller lists. It isn’t hard to see why. “The Racketeer” is Grisham’s 30th book, and it offers a thorough display of his characteristic virtues: imaginative plotting; a fluent, deceptively effortless prose style; and an insider’s view of our complex, often fatally flawed legal system.
Grisham is at his best when his sense of moral outrage has been fully engaged. Big issues that pit a single, powerless individual against a vast, implacable adversary have inspired some of his most memorable novels. Among the subjects that have sparked his ire are capital punishment (“The Chamber”), the depredations of Big Tobacco (“The Runaway Jury”), and, most notably, the plight of the unjustly convicted. Grisham is a member of the board of directors of the Innocence Project, an organization devoted to assisting prisoners incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. This concern has found its way into much of his recent writing, including “The Innocent Man,” a work of nonfiction, and his 2010 novel, “The Confession.” It also provides the dramatic impetus for “The Racketeer.” [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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