The Racketeer – by John Grisham (2012)

The Racketeer

If you love novels that involve lawyers, wrongful imprisonment, murder mysteries, and hiding from the government, you’re going to enjoy this Grisham book. It begins with Malcolm Bannister, a lawyer who has been stripped of his license, serving a ten-year sentence in a federal facility. Convicted of money laundering- which he did not do – he now spends his time as an informal jailhouse lawyer, looking at other inmates’ cases to see if they have any basis to appeal their sentences.

When a federal judge is murdered in his mountain cabin get-away, Malcolm believes he knows who did it. If he can just convince the FBI of the identity of the murderer, he may have the rest of his sentence commuted. But as it turns out, the story isn’t quite as cut and dried as first thought. Does Malcolm have the right man? If he’s wrong, what are the consequences?

The Scandal – by John Grisham (2016)

The Scandal - by John Grisham


Just when I thought John Grisham had wrapped up his “Theodore Boone” series, he published another great story about the kid lawyer. Growing up with two lawyers for parents, Theo isn’t just any kid. He’s only 13, but knows the law and court procedures better than most adults. His friends frequently ask his advise on matters of a legal nature.

Usually Theo doesn’t mind going to school, but this week is different. All week he and the other 8th graders from the three schools in town will be subjected to the state standardized tests. Everyone dreads the tests: the students who feel the pressure to get high scores, the teachers who will be evaluated on their teaching skill based on the results, and the parents who fear their children may be labeled as “slow” if they don’t do well. When the week is over and the results are in, something doesn’t seem quite right.

All the lovable characters from the first five books are included. There’s April, the friend whose dysfunctional family problems never end. There’s Mr. Mount, their favorite teacher, and Mrs. Gladwell the principal. There’s Theo’s parents, Woods and Marcella, who are constantly debating and discussing things. There’s Judge Yek, who is still in charge of Animal Court. And of course there’s Uncle Ike, as crazy as ever.

I did notice that Theo has remained the same age through all six volumes of the series. It would seem unlikely that so many stories could come out of one year, but hey, anything is possible with fiction. Don’t let the young age of Theo keep you from reading this book. It’s an enjoyable, quick read that tackles a subject that I have not seen in the fiction realm. Pick up a copy today at your local library!