Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Racketeer - John Grisham

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.


John Grisham

A very ordinary read. The story is very very unrealistic and though Grisham claims at the end that all works are fiction, I felt it was very over-stretched. The FBI dances to the tunes of Malcolm Bannister, the characters can just walk around with bars of gold without getting caught and most important, if you need to smuggle something out of USA, all you to do is hire a yacht. Thats almost close to fantasy.
The characters are very shallow and I never got a clear picture of the lead character even after I finished the book. It was as if Grisham was in a hurry to publish something with his name on it. The plot also gets a little confising at times with the character switching between two identities - Malcolm Bannister and Max Reed Baldwin. Suddenly Nathan appears out of the blue and every Tome, Dick and Harry would have guessed why he was brought in. I found the plot right from the beginning, given that the book title reveals almost the entire plot. I will never understand how a single man can make the FBI do whatever he wants. Two men plan together in jail, fool the FBI, then reveal to them that they were fooled. The FBI even knew that Bannister is in possession of gold bars but they don't do anything about it.
His so-called ' revenge' on the US government, was not much of a revenge as the Feds's reputation remained undamaged and in fact they were handed the case on a platter by him . In addition,Nathan Cooley's character just got dumped on us without any background tease to give us a chance to guess his involvement n this. 
The authors note at the end that says: "Almost nothing ... was based on reality. Research, hardly a priority, was rarely called upon. Accuracy was not deemed crucial. Long paragraphs of fiction were used to avoid looking up facts." sums it all up. This one is not for serious readers. A very ordinary plot with lots of holes. I expected a lot more from Grisham.


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