The Racketeer

John Grisham. Doubleday, $28.95 (352p) ISBN 9780385535144
Bestseller Grisham (The Litigators) is back in top form with this twisty, precisely plotted legal thriller that eschews the civics lessons of some of his more recent work. The masterful opening introduces disgraced Virginia lawyer Malcolm Bannister, who has served half of a 10-year prison sentence for money laundering after getting caught up in a federal net aimed at a sleazy influence peddler. Bannister’s conviction has, naturally, destroyed his life, but he thinks he can use the murder of federal judge Raymond Fawcett to his advantage. Fawcett, who presided over a landmark mining rights case, and his attractive secretary, with whom he was having an affair, were both found shot in the head in his cabin in southwest Virginia. Near the bodies was an empty open safe. When the high-profile investigation stalls, Bannister tells the feds that he can identify the killer for them in exchange for a release from jail and the means to start a new life. The surprises all work, and the action builds to a satisfying resolution. Agent: David Gernert, the Gernert Company. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/29/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
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