The Racketeer — Another Legal Thriller from John Grisham

The Racketeer by John Grisham is the latest thriller to catch my eye

It has been a while since I last read John Grisham.  His earlier novels —  A Time to Kill and The Pelican Brief in particular — are enjoyable legal thrillers and having spotted The Racketeer on a list of recently published fiction, I purchased the Kindle edition and was looking forward to reading it.

The opening is promising — Malcolm Bannister, a lawyer, is half way through a ten year jail sentence having been convicted of a money laundering offence. His wife has left him and his only visitor is his father, Henry.

When a judge is murdered, Malcolm claims to know the killer and uses a legal strategem — Rule 35 — to trade information with the FBI that helps them to catch the killer which gets Malcolm out of jail with a new identity.

On the positive side, the plot of The Racketeer is okay —  perhaps a little far-fetched — and there is enough suspense — just about — to keep you turning the pages but the characters lack depth which makes sticking with the story more of an effort than it might otherwise have been. I couldn’t help thinking that The Racketeer would work better as a movie than it does in print. As a novel, it seemed to me overly long and rather flat. I was a full 50% into the Kindle edition before I felt engaged with the story and although I persisted to the end, overall I found The Racketeer a disappointing read.