Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Audiobook review: The Racketeer

The Racketeer by John Grisham
Narrated by J. D. Jackson
Length: 12 hours and 45 minutes
Release Date: 10-23-12
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publisher's 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.

My Thoughts:
This is my least favorite book by John Grisham (unless he writes one that is worse).  The critics seemed to be impressed but I was not.  Grisham is one of my favorite authors but if The Racketeer was the first book I had read by him, I might not have ever read another.  I’ve read some and listened to others but I’ve always been able to get into the story right away.  I found myself washing dishes without my mp3 player when I first started listening to The Racketeer.  I kept wondering when the story would start.  It wasn’t until about the middle that I was driving on a familiar road and made a wrong turn because I was so tuned in.  When Vanessa joins Malcolm the story really gets interesting.  Malcolm is using Rule 35 to get himself out of prison and Vanessa is helping him.  I was pretty sure that Malcolm/Max was in cahoots with (no, not telling - you’ll have to read it to see if you think the same.)  I just had to let the story unfold.  Their plan went along without any hitches except maybe when Vanessa had to get naked or Max was slowed down by a traffic jam.  At times I found myself rooting for Max and his friends to succeed and other times I wondered why he deserved success.  He sure didn’t subscribe to the golden rule.  
The narrator, J.D. Jackson, has a wonderfully smooth voice but he read so slowly that I might have had a better experience with the print version.  I would not avoid another audiobook narrated by him but I won't add him to my list of favorite narrators.  
I sort of wish I’d waited on the list at my local library instead of spending my Audible credit on it. 

1 comment:

  1. The book starts slowly so much so that the first 100 pages are on the verge of being truly boring. But then knowing John Grisham, you plod and soon hit pay dirt! You’re sucked up into an edge-of-the seat suspense thriller and like the hero in the book; sleep and food become ancillary to knowing what happens next in the plot that the hero and his friends hatch in jail and let fly by the skin of their collective teeth. The reward is their freedom, new identities and a pot of gold. Will they succeed and how is what this book is all about. Totally enjoyable!

    If you have a long boring journey ahead, I suggest you buy the book but not read until you travel – you will be so engrossed you won’t even realize you've arrived. Fantastic! May his (John Grisham’s) tribe live long, prosper and produce more such books!