The Racketeer By John Grisham

I read almost all John Grisham books as they are good reads, interesting and gets me hooked. The Racketeer is no exception and I really liked this book. However I do have to say that Grisham has the same kind of theme like in The Firm and other books of his and you get the feeling of deja vu as you go through the later half of the book. Still quite satisfying as you put the book down after reading the last page.

Malcolm Bannister, a former US Marine and small town lawyer in a 3 lawyer firm, is now in jail serving a 10 year sentence in a minimum security prison. A real estate transaction which he undertook in good faith turned out to have involved the purchase of a secluded hunting lodge where a crooked Capitol Hill lobbyist invited corrupt Congressmen for orgies with underage girls. When the scandal was exposed, Bannister was caught up in big a FBI sweep, his name was added to many others on a hundred-page racketeering charge sheet, his protestations of innocence ignored, and he got a ten-year prison sentence. 5 years later, when a federal judge is found murdered, along with his secretary, in his remote weekend cabin, Bannister puts his epic plan in place. Claiming to know the identity of the killer, Bannister contacts the FBI & gets out of jail and into the US Marshall’s witness protection program. The FBI apprehends the man, someone who was in the same prison as Bannister and who had escaped. Courtesy of the government, Bannister gets the reward money, a new face via cosmetic surgery and a new identity as Max Reed Baldwin. But things are not right as his identity & his new locations seem to be found by people  related to the “murderer”. Bannister / Baldwin gets annoyed with the US Marshalls & the FBI and walks away from witness protection.

What follows next is a plot filled with twists, deceptions, cunning and cleverness so large that even the FBI big wigs have to admire. See how Bannister plotted his escape with the help of his friend from prison, whose sister he is in love with and a cousin of the two. How they find & frame the real murder on another charge and gets him imprisoned in a Caribbean jail and the murdered reveals the place where he hid the gold taken from the safe of the judge. Bannister and his accomplices thumbs their nose at the US Government and the FBI, who put him in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, by committing several felonies and getting rich in the bargain. Second chances are something that this ex-lawyer schemed and thought out while sitting in a jail, innocent. Now he is out and he has a new woman in his life and he is wealthy. Excellent read for a lazy weekend.