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.
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The Racketeer was one of Amazon's mystery/thriller Best Books of the Month picks for October. A Q&A with the author:
Describe The Racketeer in one sentence.
A federal judge is murdered, and our hero in prison knows who did it, and why.
What's on your nightstand/bedside table/Kindle?
Ian McEwan’s latest novel, Sweet Tooth; a friend’s manuscript; and a Kindle Fire loaded with daily newspapers, magazines, and about three dozen books.
Top 3-5 favorite books of all time?
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; A Confederacy of Dunces; The Grapes of Wrath; Little Drummer Girl
Important book you never read?
There are so many. Atlas Shrugged, though I’ve been told for the past 30 years that it’s unreadable.
Book that made you want to become a writer?
To Kill a Mockingbird made me question race for the first time in my young, insulated, white life. It also inspired me to try and write something great.
Memorable author moment?
I received a note from Harper Lee, along with an autographed first edition of To Kill A Mockingbird.
What's your most prized/treasured possession?
A first edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, signed by the author.
Pen envy - book you wish you'd written?
Harry Potter – he’s the only dude I can’t outsell.
Author crush - who's your current author crush?
I’m 57 years old. Crushes are for sophomores.
What's favorite method of procrastination? Temptation? Vice?
Don’t get me started. I can waste enormous amounts of time, and with no guilt whatsoever. Currently, I’m doing so on the golf course, playing a game that I took up only four years ago and is driving me nuts.
What do you collect?
First editions, primarily Faulkner, Hemingway, and Steinbeck.
Best piece of fan mail you ever got?
The letter began: “As the newly elected President of the Arkansas Bar Association, it is incumbent upon me to suggest various topics for your future novels......” I don’t think I finished reading the letter.
What's next for you?
I’m hard at work on Theo 4 - “Theodore Boone, The Activist.”
>See all of John Grisham's books.
>Read a New York Times review of The Racketeer
(author photo by Bob Krasner)About the Author:
JOHN GRISHAM is the author of twenty-five novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and two novels for young readers. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.
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