Monday, December 3, 2012

Review: The Racketeer (Audio)

Summary: 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. -- Random House Audio

Prior to my blogging days, I used to read a lot of books written by John Grisham. I admit that I didn't always love them, but I appreciated the plots and the twists. I haven't actually gone out of my way to read any of Mr. Grisham's thrillers lately. That is until I read a few positive reviews for THE RACKETEER.This novel had the potential to be very entertaining, and it sounded kind of different from the typical Grisham legal thriller. Plus, it sounded perfect to listen to during my morning runs.

THE RACKETEER tells the story of Malcolm Bannister, an ex-lawyer who is serving ten years in a Federal Prison Camp for money laundering -- a crime he swears he didn't commit. When a federal judge is found murdered, Malcolm knows who committed the crime and why; and he's willing to tell the FBI if he is guaranteed to be released from prison and given a new identity. Once Malcolm is set free and starts his new life, things become very interesting for Malcolm (and the reader) as he carries out his carefully plotted revenge moves.

Overall, I have to say that I enjoyed THE RACKETEER a great deal. I might even say that I was surprised by what a great job Mr. Grisham did with this novel. It was so darn clever! Malcolm's character was fantastic and I absolutely loved how twisted and convoluted the story became. In addition, I was kept guessing for most of the novel; and suffice it to say that I was pretty surprised by how things eventually came together. There is no doubt that THE RACKETEER is one entertaining read!

I especially appreciated the character of Malcolm. Much of the story was told in his voice, and I immediately knew that I liked him. In many ways, he represented the "little guy" battling an unjust system; and I don't know about you, but I can't help but root for the underdog. As the story progressed, I loved the direction that Malcolm's character took. He is definitely a character that will remain in my thoughts for a very long time because of his resourcefulness and his ingenuity!

And as far as surprises go, this book has more than I could even count. There were twists and turns throughout, and I wasn't quite sure who or what to believe. I admit that the revenge moves that were created by Malcolm were a bit farfetched, but they were so intriguing too! I would love to ask Mr. Grisham how he created and executed this very complex storyline.

The audio version of THE RACKETEER was read by J.D. Jackson, and I thought he did a stellar job. He is a new-to-me narrator, but that's not surprising since I'm still a relatively audio listener. His rich voice was perfect for Malcolm, but I also liked how he narrated the other parts of this novel. I really had no issues with his performance, and I look forward to listening to other books that he's narrated.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed THE RACKETEER. It's a departure from the traditional Grisham legal thrillers; however, it's a positive change. Highly recommend to fans of thrillers and stories heavy on revenge!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this audio book.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


Sandy Nawrot said...

I've been listening to audios for years, and I almost always am listening to a new narrator! i've read a lot of Grisham too in my day, and he can certainly craft a twisty, fast-paced story. I REALLY like An Innocent Man, his first dabble in true crime. I may see if I can get this on audio. Sounds fun.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Yes to what Sandy said! (I hate when she beats me in the comment line and moreover says exactly what I would have said!) :--)

bermudaonion said...

I'm listening to this one right now and enjoying it. I'm trying to figure out what Malcolm has up his sleeve. I agree with you about the narrator - he has a great voice!

Beth Hoffman said...

I just recently became aware of this book and it's already on my list. Terrific review, Julie!

Serena said...

Sounds like a good read and I haven't read Grisham in ages.

Beth F said...

I'm gong to have to get this in print. Mr. BFR is a bi Grisham fan but doesn't love audios. Now I'm kind of sorry I didn't request this audio for me, though.

Carol said...

Hopefully our library'll get this on audio. I actually enjoyed the last Grisham I listened to, so had thought about giving this one a try. Glad to see you enjoyed it.