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Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

The Racketeer by John Grisham

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An exciting enough read, but certainly not one of Grisham’s best.   When you are such a prolific novelist, I imagine it is hard to top some of your most popular works. This was still entertaining and a good choice if you need to kill some time, but to really see Grisham shine, you may want consider A Time to Kill or The Confession.

In The Racketeer, attorney Malcolm Bannister is serving a ten-year sentence at Frostburg, a federal prison in Virginia, for unknowingly laundering money on behalf of a shady client.  He is the librarian and a lawyer who has been known to get a fellow inmate out of prison a time or two through loopholes he discovers.

While in prison, Bannister learns from the papers that federal judge Ray Fawcett and his secretary have been violently murdered at the judge’s lakeside cabin and that his safe has been broken into.  The FBI have no motive, no suspect, and no leads.  Enter Rule 35, which allows for a prison sentence to be reduced if a inmate provides government assistance in convicting another person.

Bannister claims that he knows the identity of the killer and will offer this information up if he can be a free man, have his face altered through plastic surgery as protection from the killer, and be granted a new life under witness protection.  After several negotiations, the FBI complies, but the reader soon learns that Bannister has more up his sleeve than what he is telling the Feds.

I liked that you never really knew what Bannister was up to until the very end, and Grisham again proves that he is at adept at using the intricacies of our law as the foundation for an engrossing story.

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