Monday, March 18, 2013

The Racketeer - by John Grisham

Malcolm Bannister is an incarcerated former lawyer who tells his story of getting caught in the net of a zealous federal prosecution of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act violations. He is currently a resident of the Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland.

When Judge Raymond Fawcett and his secretary are murdered at his lakeside Virginia cabin, the FBI investigation quickly stalls. Malcolm claims to have the information they need to close the case. Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure allows for a prisoner to be pardoned or have their sentence reduced if they can solve another crime and Malcolm wants a deal based on this. As you probably expect, however, the situation is not as straightforward as it may appear.

This story does not follow the traditional Grisham formula. It is, however, an intriguing tale about the execution of a complex and well planned scheme. There a plenty of surprising twists and turns. I was a little conflicted about Malcolm. I wanted to like him, and generally did, but also found him a little cocky and even annoying at times. If you demand uncompromised realism, you may have issues with the storyline. For me, personally, though, I really enjoyed it.

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