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The Racketeer Paperback – 4 Jul 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444729764
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444729764
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,249 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career--and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, and The Associate) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 250 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500--the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

Product Description

Review

Electrifying (Guardian)

The best thriller writer alive (Ken Follett)

Grisham writes with rekindled vigor here (New York Times)

No one does it better than Grisham (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

Worldwide bestseller John Grisham will keep you on the edge of your seat with his most suspenseful thriller yet.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

138 of 142 people found the following review helpful By G. Waterman on 10 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I still remember browsing a bookshop in Florida many, many years ago and coming across a locally published edition of a book called "A Time to Kill" by an unknown author called John Grisham

That book remains one of the finest thrillers that I have read. I remained loyal to Grisham over the years until I just felt that the sparkle and innovation had gone out of his writing and I began to give him a miss.

The Racketeer is the first of his books that I have tried for several years and you know what - it was a good read.

The story was enticing and credible, the characters well drawn and interesting and the plot drew me in and I read the entire book , if not breathless, but certainly well engaged, over a couple of days.

I won't bother going into the story as others have already done it but without damning it with faint praise, it is a well written pot-boiler that gently simmers all the way through and was well worth reading.

if not Grisham at his overall best, The Racketeer is a prime example of a master story teller back on form.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ladipo on 16 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is by all means a good book, but my expectatons of John Grisham are based on the excellent books he has written in the past, and are therefore much higher.
The story is nice, but not particularly captivating. Grisham's books typically keep me awake all night reading, Sadly, this one does not fall into that category.
Perhaps, as many people say, the sun has indeed set on this great author. Nothing he has written in the last few years compares to his first few books.
My one word summary would be "disappointing". If the authors name for this book had been John Doe, I would definitely not look for any of his other books to buy.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER on 6 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Malcolm Bannister is halfway through a ten year prison sentence for money laundering, a crime he only technically and innocently committed. When a federal judge is murdered, he senses an opportunity to obtain his freedom, because he knows who committed the crime and why. Rules 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. His first challenge is getting the attention of the FBI, but eventually he is successful in negotiating his release from prison if the man that he accuses of the murder is indicted. What appears to be a reasonably straightforward and only moderately interesting story becomes a lot more interesting when it becomes apparent that Malcolm has an entirely new agenda of his own and that his release from prison is only the first step of the plan.

This had the potential to be a very interesting story but it is let down by the absence of characters that we care about and by the padding that stretches it out significantly longer than the storyline warrants. There is a low level of suspense throughout, but not enough to maintain your interest as we follow Malcolm's everyday activities. Malcolm himself - the narrator for the majority of the book - is never anyone who came to life for me. The early chapters establish his back story and arouse our sympathy for him, but after that he just becomes a bit of a cipher who narrates everything with a sense of detachment. His love interest (who emerges in the second half of the book) is equally bland - long legged, big breasted and good at running errands.

The book held my interest, but only just. Started very well but then got bogged down too deep for too long.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Dexter on 12 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As usual, John Grisham has devised another great story, but his ability to spin a yarn seems to be on the wane.

The Racketeer is a book of three parts. It opens in classic Grisham fashion; a slow burn with (attempted) misdirection. Part two is a super crime caper that keeps everyone (except the reader) guessing and the finale ties everything up (a little too) neatly. The problem is that none of these discrete parts seem to join up properly and the transition between them serve only to disrupt the narrative. The end comes so suddenly and feels so rushed that it seems that Grisham simply lost interest at around page 300 and killed the story as quickly as he could! This truncated ending put me in mind of Grisham's last book, The Litigators which I also found disappointing.

In fairness, The Racketeer is an easy if unchallenging read; great as a holiday read but it fails to prick the conscience as so much of Grisham's early work managed (or even as recent work such as The Confession does) and there is little of the social comment that marks Grisham's early work as classic fiction.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Jackson Jones on 25 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover
The "big twist" was completely spottable very early on - so reading this was more about guessing how it gets revealed rather than what happens. As usual, Grisham is let down by his inability to write characters well - I've no idea whether I like the main guy or not (I feel rather "meh" about him) and the love interest lady was very poorly sketched out - although I'm left with the impression that Mr Grisham is a fan of large boobs and long legs, because that's all he really said about her. I did get the feeling that The Shawshank Redemption was more than a little influential - I think the idea was "innocent man breaks the law to get justice", just not as well done. Having said all that, I quite enjoyed it - but I doubt I'll remember a thing about it a year from now.
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