The Racketeer John Grisham by John Grisham
Click Here to Download the Book 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.
Reviews Sometimes John Grisham gets it exactly right. The Racketeer joins the list of A Time to Kill: A Novel, The Rainmaker, and The Appeal of lawyers' lawyer books that delight with every page. Meet Malcolm Bannister, age 43, African-American, and an inmate at a federal work camp in Frostburg Maryland. Five years ago, he was a lawyer in the town of Winchester Virginia, making somewhat of living along with two partners. Overzealous federal prosecutors indicted him for violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, otherwise known as RICO, and when the dust had settled Bannister found himself on the wrong end of a ten year sentence. That Bannister's "crimes" were essentially illusory is beside the point. A jury, under the gun of the so-called "shotgun charge" read to deadlocked panels, convicted him and his appeals have run their course. Malcolm is gonna finish out his time, and then return to a world without his profession, wife and kid. There are only two things for an inmate with the skills of Bannister to do-practice a little jailhouse law and scheme to get out. The opportunity for the second comes with the murder of a United States District Judge in Roanoke. Killing a federal judge is a very serious offense. In fact only four sitting federal judges have been killed in our nation's history-all within the last thirty years. I actually appeared before one of those judges Robert Vance of the Eleventh Circuit. A classmate of mine from law school was appointed to represent his assassin and I followed his trial and conviction closely. So when I say as a trial lawyer in the federal courts for thirty seven years that
this book is incredibly authentic, I have a substantial basis for that opinion. Lawyers reading this book will recognize the cast of characters from lawyers, inmates, U.S. Marshals, FBI agents, judges and corrections officers. It is absolutely spot on. It is also incredibly imaginative. Grisham always tells a good story, but this one is quite special. Pick it up today.
Malcolm Bannister is a 43-year-old ex-lawyer serving time in a US prison after being convicted for moneylaundering. He is innocent, the most he should have been charged with was gross naivetĂŠ, but he was but one person in a larger FBI sting. He has lost everything, his wife who said she would stand by him but filed for divorce eight months and six days into his sentence, his young son, his career, his friends and most of his family. Five years into his ten year sentence everything dramatically changes. In the outside world Judge Raymond Fawcett is discovered dead with his secretary in his lakeside retreat, both of them shot execution style. The FBI quickly run out of credible leads, but then Malcolm comes forward to say that he knows the identity of the killer â€“ eager to do a deal that will have him start over in Witness Protection. Amazingly the FBI make the deal and Malcolm Bannister with different paperwork, money and some plastic surgery is transformed into Max Baldwin about to start a new life on the outside. But have the FBI really found the killer? Things are about to take yet another turn and it all hinges on the empty safe found by the dead judgeâ€™s body... John Grisham delivers another page-turning, highly enthralling read that has an unmistakable air of authority. It may be fiction, but you rail against the injustice in US prisons, the stupidity of much of the sentencing and the waste of good lives. But at the same time you get the chance to cheer on the underdog when he takes on the big guys in a plan that is only clear at the very end. This is a wonderful read!
Grisham back to his usual form after some recent slow patches (his non-legal thrillers, like Playing for Pizza aren't bad, but they're not the stories I pick up a Grisham book to read). While people think of him as someone who writes about lawyers, most of his characters are actually people on the fringes of the legal profession, including many who have given up being lawyers (much like the author himself). The hero protagonist (I'm not sure he's actually being heroic) is a former lawyer who is in jail and manages to use his knowledge of a crime to get sprung from jail, put into witness protection, escape witness protection and then get revenge and make some money on the side. Grisham managed to keep me guessing as the plot evolved, continually adding just a little more information that gave more of the plot away, then pulling the rug out with another revelation that changed my view of what was going on.
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