Saturday Afternoon Book Review || The Racketeer (and Why Pastors Should Read Novels)

On most Saturday afternoons, I share a review of the most recent book I’ve read.To see previous books I’ve reviewed, go here. This week’s book is The Racketeer (kindle version) by John Grisham.

Here’s the plot:

The book is about a federal judge’s murder and an imprisoned lawyer who has inside knowledge on the details of the murder.

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.

It was vintage Grisham. Not as good as my favorite Grisham novel, but still really good.

Which brings me to another point: why pastors should periodically read novels. 

As a pastor, I am constantly reading. The old adage that “leaders are readers” is true. Any leader who is leading a large organization that I’ve ever met, is a reader. But with reading theology, sermon prep, and leadership books, my brain gets tired. It is nice periodically throughout the year to read biographies, memoirs or novels. Books that have no connection to being a pastor or a sermon. Some of my favorite authors for this besides Grisham are David Baldacci (the Camel Club series is fantastic), Andrew Britton and Dan Brown.