BOOK REVIEW: The Racketeer – by John Grisham

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Title: The Racketeer
Author: John Grisham
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: 2012
Finished reading: December 22nd 2014
Pages: 386
Rating 3

“I was guilty all right. Guilty of stupidity for allowing myself to fall into such a mess.”

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I’ve read a few of John Grisham‘s books in the past, so when I came across a copy of The Racketeer I decided to give it a go. I finished it with mixed feelings. It’s not that I didn’t like the story or that the prose was bad, but I just couldn’t connect to the main characters. Especially Max/Malcolm; he is actually turns out to be a first class crook and I was supposed to feel empathy for him? Yeah, that didn’t happen. The story is entertaining enough to keep reading though. It was interesting to read how they were able to deceive the government and FBI, even though the story is fully fictional. All in all a book for an entertaining afternoon as long as you don’t care too much about having a thief as a main character and keep in mind this was ment as a fiction novel.

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Federal judge Raymond Fawcett has been murdered, and the FBI doesn’t have a clue who is responsable. No physical evidence was found in the remote cabin his body was found along with the body of his young secretary, and they don’t know where to start. Former attorney Malcolm Bannister claims he knows the identity of the killer and why the judge was murdered, and sees this information as his way out of The Federal Prison Camp he currently calls his home. The Feds promise to get him out of prison and into witness protection if he shares his information, and soon Malcolm is a free man with a new face and identity.

What the FBI doesn’t know is that Malcolm, now Max, has a plan that will make him a very rich man. At the murder scene an empty safe was found, and Max knows what was inside. Together with Vanessa, the sister of the man he claimed to be the murderer, they slowly put their plan into action to get the contents of the safe. Max leaves witness protection and disappears; the Feds don’t have a clue where he is or what he is doing. And the real killer doesn’t realize he is about to be deceived  and trapped by Max…

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Part of the story was a bit hard to believe, but as Grisham explained, The Racketeer is ment as a work of fiction. The story itself is quite entertaining, which makes up for the lack of connection to the characters. It’s not the perfect read and some of the scenes close to cliche, but it is still worth reading if you like treasure hunts and seeing FBI agents running around in circles.

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WWW Wednesdays #22 – Christmas Edition

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I’m baaaack!! 😀 It took a bit more time than originally planned to actually finish everything, but life is finally back to normal. Just in time for Christmas! I haven’t had much time to read in the last two weeks, but I managed to finish two books… Ah, and before I continue, I first want to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas!

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On to the meme… Originally featured at Should Be Reading, WWW WEDNESDAYS is all about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

twelveyearsaslaveI’m finally continuing with Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northup, a story about a free man who was forced into slavery during twelve years. Since I didn’t have much free time to actually sit down with a paperback, I didn’t get much reading done… But now I have, I’m hoping to finish this one soon.

 

  • What did you recently finish reading?

achristmascarolI16139704 finished The Racketeer by John Grisham the other day, as well as A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The first one didn’t fully convince me; the main character turns out to be a crook and it is not easy to symphatize with his situation. A Christmas Carol was the perfect read just before Christmas, and I’m glad I finally came around reading the original story!

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Since I will be completing the Bookish Bingo challenge as soon as I finish reading Twelve Years A Slave, it will be REALLY hard to choose my next read. I have no idea so far which title to pick next, and I might end up using my TBR cup to decide for me…

WWW Wednesdays #21 – December 10th

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Originally featured at Should Be Reading… WWW WEDNESDAYS is all about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

twelveyearsaslaveI’m still reading Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northup, a story about a free man who was forced into slavery during twelve years. I could have finished this one sooner, but somehow I find it easier to read e-books right now and I have been neglecting this poor paperback. Maybe today or tomorrow I will manage to continue this intriguing story…

 

  • What did you recently finish reading?

kiera'smoonthedarkwindI finished Kiera’s Moon last weekend and I’m in the process of writing my review. It won’t be a positive one, since I couldn’t enjoy what turned out to be a cheesy romance novel rather than a science fiction story. I’ve also finished The Dark Wind by Tony Hillerman today, which I enjoyed better than my last read. An interesting mystery story involving a drug exchange gone wrong… And Navajo chief Chee is trying to figure out what really happened. Review coming soon!

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

16139704I’m about to start The Racketeer by John Grisham, a book that I need to fill one of the last squares of the Bookish Bingo challenge. I was going to read another book for the Birds On Cover square, but when I decided to use my TBR cup to choose my first read after completing the Bookish Bingo challenge, this one got selected out of over 80! titles. So I guess it was just ment to be…

BOOK REVIEW: The Appeal – by John Grisham

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Title: The Appeal
Author: John Grisham
Genre: Mystery, Legal Thriller, Crime
First published: January 29th 2008
Finished reading: May 6th 2014
Pages: 484
Rating 2

“The Senator did not know who owned the jet, nor had he ever met Mr. Trudeau, which in most cultures would seem odd since Rudd had taken so much money from the man. But in Washington, money arrives through a myriad of strange and nebulous conduits. Often those taking it have only a vague idea of where it’s coming from; often they have no clue. In most democracies, the transference of so much cash would be considered outright corruption, but in Washington the corruption has been legalized. Senator Rudd didn’t know and didn’t care that he was owned by other people.”

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I usually enjoy books written by John Grisham. Why do I say usually? Because this one disappointed me. Big time. The end just made me want to throw my mobile (e-book) against the wall, which would have been painful (and expensive). I’m not sure what he was thinking, but it looked more like a political statement  than the typical legal thriller. And I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way. It’s really a shame since I’m used to Grisham writing solid stories, but now I’m not so certain anymore… I’ll pick up the next book with great caution for sure.

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The story is about a big company situated in Mississippi dumping toxic waste close to a small town’s water supply, and therefore after a few years turning it into a town suffering from cancer, death and undrinkable water. The company tries to hide the evidence and moves its business elsewhere, but they cannot escape justice… Or can they? There is a big line of people wanting to sue the company, the first in line being the poor Jeanette who lost her husband and little boy to cancer. A small law firm owned by the Paytons is taking the case, almost bankrupting them in the process. Surprisingly they win the case, but the enormous 41 million verdict is worth nothing as the company directly appeals.

The owner of the company feels the Mississippi Supreme Court isn’t friendly enough, and he decides to buy a seat in order to save his company. We then see a election race between the supposedly liberal acting Justice and a new conservative and unsuspecting candidate named Ron Fisk. Fisk is being modelled into the perfect candidate, supported by and supplied for by big business. You can say they almost brainwash him into thinking whatever they want, and Fisk doesn’t even suspect anything… After a lot of mud throwing he wins the race, and even a terrible accident insolving his son cannot change the way he feels he has to act… And he does the unthinkable.

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Like I said before, the ending completely ruined The Appeal for me. The story itself wasn’t that bad, although Grisham was too political for my taste in some of the opinions expressed in this novel. All in all this definitely belongs to his best work and I would recommend picking up a different title if you want to read his work; he has plenty of books to choose from.

BOOK REVIEW: The Pelican Brief – by John Grisham

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Title: The Pelican Brief
Author: John Grisham
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First pubished: 1992
Finished reading: March 25th 2013
Pages: 432
Rating 3

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I used to read a lot of John Grisham novels when I was younger, and I still find them entertaining in general. The Pelican Brief doesn’t let legal thriller and John Grisham fans down. Although there is not as much law involved as in other novels written by the same author, this one is still an entertaining read. It’s what you call a page-turner with an moderately fast pace and a prose that is easy to read… Although I must admit one of the main characters Darby sometimes ended up irritating me. Some of her behaviour just didn’t fit the whole brilliant-law-student character, and we are not even talking about running right into the arms of Gray after what happened to Thomas. Definitely not convincing and it takes away some of the credibility of the story. Still, this is a nice read for Grisham fans and any lover of comfortable mystery/thriller books.

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One morning America learns two Supreme Court justices have been murdered the previous night. Justice Rosenberg and Justice Jensen are as different as day and night, and the question arises who would have killed both of them. Law professor Thomas Callahan is heartbroken, but his brilliant student and lover Darby Shaw sees the whole situation as a big puzzle. She starts preparing a legal brief (later to be called the pelican brief) trying to find out who was behind the murders. Someone has to get advantage out of the deaths, and she studied an enormous amount of cases before she saw light in the darkness. Darby gives her legal brief to Thomas, who then gives it to his FBI friend. But the letter ends up in the wrong hands, and Thomas pays for it with his life. Suddenly Darby is on the run, hiding from experienced but dumb killers and trying to solve the puzzle at the same time. She gets help from an ambitious reporter of The Post and together they try to show the truth to the world…

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While the legal part of this thriller doesn’t play as big of a role as in other John Grisham novels, The Pelican Brief is still an entertaining read with a healthy dose of action. I have read better and some parts are quite cliche, but I would still recommend reading this one if you are looking for a quick and easy read that will entertain you for a few hours.