Review Tuesday: The Racketeer

I really enjoy John Grisham. The Pelican Brief is one of my favourites by him, and one of my favourite movies. I’ve never really been disappointed by him until this book.

First from Goodreads:

racketeerGiven 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.

The book started off really strong and I was hooked from the get go. However about half way through the plot was just about wrapped up and yet there was still another half of the book to go. Cue the most left field WTF second half. It was far fetched, shoddily woven together and I just wasn’t buying it. It felt like Grisham had a moment of “crap I need to make this longer!” and thus proceeded to write whatever came into his head and vaguely tied it (or tried to) to the first half of the book.

I also didn’t like Max by the end. He’s an unreliable narrator and that’s fine, you realize that from page one. You know not to trust him, but he’s like a pendulum sometimes in how he swings from being a nice guy to being this ruthless asshole character and the buildup wasn’t there for that switch back and forth. So I was left feeling at some instances that he had a split personality or was bipolar. He went from wanting a quiet little life somewhere to huge passages of hatred for the FBI and it was just completely out of character for what had been written of him. It’s never good when you think the main character is shoddily written.

I really like the John Grisham books that I’ve read before this one, but this one was just blah. It gets two stars on Goodreads because the first 100 pages were good before everything went to hell in hand basket.


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