The Reckoning

The Reckoning

John Grisham's The Reckoning is the master storyteller's most powerful, surprising, and accomplished novel yet"John Grisham is not only the master of suspense but also an acute observer of the human condition. And these remarkable skills converge in The Reckoning--an original, gripping, penetrating novel that may be his greatest work yet."--David Grann, New York Times best...

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Title:The Reckoning
Author:John Grisham
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Reckoning Reviews

  • Cody | codysbookshelf

    The latest novel by John Grisham,

    (release date October 23), is a sprawling and enthralling read set in the Ford County of

    ,

    , etc. By setting this story of murder and Gothic-esque family drama in the county most familiar to longtime Grisham readers,

    mixes the pleasures of familiarity with the new, experimental territory upon which the writer embarks. If anything, this novel is certainly not Grisham on auto-pilot.

    This will likely be the most

    The latest novel by John Grisham,

    (release date October 23), is a sprawling and enthralling read set in the Ford County of

    ,

    , etc. By setting this story of murder and Gothic-esque family drama in the county most familiar to longtime Grisham readers,

    mixes the pleasures of familiarity with the new, experimental territory upon which the writer embarks. If anything, this novel is certainly not Grisham on auto-pilot.

    This will likely be the most divisive Grisham release in some time, if ever. The author playfully mixes up and challenges the courtroom drama standard he set, choosing to tell the story in an almost non-linear fashion. At the heart of this novel is the question:

    The consequences set in motion by the murder — which happens in the first chapter, and is mentioned in the synopsis — are gritty and cold and real. Grisham’s focus is not so much the legal system (though it does play a part), but the dissolving of two American families.

    This reader respects Grisham for shaking things up and penning what could be the darkest, and most literary, novel of his career. I certainly did not see it coming. If 2017’s

    was a slick crowd pleaser,

    is a raw challenge . . . one of which William Faulkner, perhaps, would be a fan.

  • Kate Olson

    Thanks a million to @doubledaybooks for this free review copy!

    .

    I’m an old school Grisham fan. I absolutely adore all of his older titles, with my very favorite being The Testament. I will never forget listening to that book! His newest book is out on 10.23 and I’m so excited to share with you that The Reckoning not only brings us back to the Grisham of yesterday, but also adds in some absolutely fascinating WWII history about the Bataan Death March in the Philippines that I really had almost no

    Thanks a million to @doubledaybooks for this free review copy!

    .

    I’m an old school Grisham fan. I absolutely adore all of his older titles, with my very favorite being The Testament. I will never forget listening to that book! His newest book is out on 10.23 and I’m so excited to share with you that The Reckoning not only brings us back to the Grisham of yesterday, but also adds in some absolutely fascinating WWII history about the Bataan Death March in the Philippines that I really had almost no knowledge of. This book sucked me in, kept me guessing, and had me reading about military history with a completely new level of interest.

    .

    I wouldn’t classify this newest Grisham so much as a legal thriller as I would call it a grief-filled family mystery/drama with a LOT of legal plot. There were parts that weren’t perfect in my eyes and I wish some things had been done differently in the last quarter of the book, but overall this was a compelling 4 🌟 read for this Grisham fan (since high school!).

    .

    If you or a friend or family member are also old school Grisham fans, or love reading about WWII, get your hands on a copy of this book!

  • Jean

    The book takes place in Ford County, Mississippi, the site of many of Grisham’s early books. The reader must remember the story takes place in 1946 and the relationship between black and whites in Mississippi was different than today. The book is divided into three section. The first is about the current time (1946) with the story of Pete Banning. The middle is about Pete’s time during WWII and the last part is back to the current time (1946) with the problems of Pete’s children.

    Grisham grabbed

    The book takes place in Ford County, Mississippi, the site of many of Grisham’s early books. The reader must remember the story takes place in 1946 and the relationship between black and whites in Mississippi was different than today. The book is divided into three section. The first is about the current time (1946) with the story of Pete Banning. The middle is about Pete’s time during WWII and the last part is back to the current time (1946) with the problems of Pete’s children.

    Grisham grabbed me with the calm killing by Pete Banning of the Methodist Pastor, Dexter Bell. Our protagonist is Pete Banning. Grisham also spends some time telling about Banning’s time during WWII. The story is a bit different from the usual Grisham story, but it is interesting. Grisham always makes a great read; he is a master storyteller. Unfortunately, the story left me feeling sad.

    I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is seventeen hours and thirty-six minutes. Michael Beck does a good job narrating the book. Beck is an actor and audiobook narrator.

  • Diane S ☔

    4+. It has been a while since I have read a Grisham. Not sure why, but I can say I'm glad this is one I read. It combined my many book loves, a legal story, a mystery, which is really at the heart of this book, and a look back to a terrible time in history. It is the 1940' in the Jim Crow south, a farmer whose large farm has been passed down through generations, Pete Banning does what he needs to do for the immediate future. He then walks over to the Methodist Church and shoots the Pastor three

    4+. It has been a while since I have read a Grisham. Not sure why, but I can say I'm glad this is one I read. It combined my many book loves, a legal story, a mystery, which is really at the heart of this book, and a look back to a terrible time in history. It is the 1940' in the Jim Crow south, a farmer whose large farm has been passed down through generations, Pete Banning does what he needs to do for the immediate future. He then walks over to the Methodist Church and shoots the Pastor three times. Why? He has no intention of saying, no explanation, no excuses. His wife had been committed to a mental institution the year before, his two grown children away at their respective schools.

    So that is the mystery, and of course the court case. We then follow him back to the war, and the Bataan death March in the Philippines. Hard to read, but well researched, well written, the merciless Japanese and Bannings time in the military. Too many he became a hero. There is one part near the beginning that was very emotional, he was loved by many.

    This was a book I couldn't put down, it just pulled me into the story of this family, and of course I needed to know the why. So,even though I don't always fsvor narratives that go back and forth, here I can't see this story working any other way. It truly has a little of everything, plus a family that one can't help but embrace, and a man who makes a decision feeling he has no other choice. In this book I feel as though Grisham has out done himself.

    ARC from Doubleday.

  • Travis Fortney

    Somewhat of a departure for Grisham, though his recent books

    and

    haven't perfectly fit the mold of "legal thriller" (which he pretty much created) either. This one is about a World War II hero named Pete Banning who kills the preacher Dexter Bell for reasons unkown. Suspense in the novel is two-fold. Question one, will Pete be executed for his crime, and two, will we ever learn his motive? I found the first part of the novel, which deals with question one, to be

    Somewhat of a departure for Grisham, though his recent books

    and

    haven't perfectly fit the mold of "legal thriller" (which he pretty much created) either. This one is about a World War II hero named Pete Banning who kills the preacher Dexter Bell for reasons unkown. Suspense in the novel is two-fold. Question one, will Pete be executed for his crime, and two, will we ever learn his motive? I found the first part of the novel, which deals with question one, to be very suspenseful, and I stayed up reading the first half of the book the first night I cracked it open. The answer to the question of motive, which is the driving force to the second half of the book, I found less satisfying.

    It seemed like Grisham wanted us to believe in Pete Banning as a war hero, but even during his heroic story arc, he's not a great person. He's apart from his family for three years and makes only minimal effort to contact them. Though the end of the book isn't happy for anyone, Pete's punishment and the ripple effect his crime has on the next generation seems ultimately just.

    Seperately, it was refreshing to read a World War II book that largely ignored the Nazis and Hitler, but the words "Japs" and "Nips" were used too much. I didn't know what would be lost by just calling the enemy "Japanese" and not having the characters refer to them in dialogue. Race and Racism is a theme here, and race plays a role in the tragedy at the center of the book, but to say the tragedy is caused by anything other than Pete's selfishness and self-righteousness is a stretch.

  • Scott

    It has become one of my annual late Fall rituals. The leaves are falling. College and Pro football are in high gear, which means it is time to open the new John Grisham novel, “The Reckoning”, and re-visit the law in action in the South.

    This time out, Grisham shares a family saga combining the elements of a World War II time period, a secret mystery, and plenty of court room drama. It is 1946. Pete Banning is a successful farmer and patriarch of a prominent family in Clanton, Mississippi. He is

    It has become one of my annual late Fall rituals. The leaves are falling. College and Pro football are in high gear, which means it is time to open the new John Grisham novel, “The Reckoning”, and re-visit the law in action in the South.

    This time out, Grisham shares a family saga combining the elements of a World War II time period, a secret mystery, and plenty of court room drama. It is 1946. Pete Banning is a successful farmer and patriarch of a prominent family in Clanton, Mississippi. He is a decorated World War II hero that should have been killed many times over rather than safely return home. He is also a faithful member of the Methodist church.

    Then everything changes for him and his family when one October morning he drives into town, walks into his Church, and calmly shoots his spiritual leader, Reverend Dexter Bell, to death. If the murder was not shocking enough, Pete turns himself in and takes accountability for his actions. However, Pete’s only statement to the arresting sheriff, his lawyers, his family members, judge and the jury was that he had nothing to say. His actions were between himself and the Reverend, and no one else. Pete refuses to provide any reason or information whatsoever, regardless of he is facing either life in prison or the death penalty.

    Grisham tells Pete’s story and the impact of his actions on his family in three distinctive parts, some of which work better than others in providing a cohesive story. He moves through the bias and prejudicial legal process of the Jim Crow South to the horrors of modern warfare in the jungles of the Philippine islands during World War II to the outcome and impact of a family falling apart in the overwhelming layers of legal liability. Grisham’s strengths as master storyteller shine throughout this gothic and emotional story, demanding your attention most of the time, but at sometimes the story either slows down a bit or becomes predictable, forcing for you to wait for plotline related dots to be connected.

    Over the last several years, it seemed to me that Grisham was shifting his writing to leave more of a legacy. His writings have been moving away from his earlier legal thrillers in which individual protagonists were on the run from large corporate greed or evil mobsters and were saved in the end in dramatic and climactic fashion. He is focusing more on 20th century period stories set in his home state of Mississippi, with many of them occurring in his fictionally created Ford County. His themes have been more aimed on exposing serious societal issues like the death penalty, race inequality, and how the law can be abused by those in positions of power.

    You don’t have to look far to see that Grisham’s model and example is none other than his southern predecessor, William Faulkner (1897 – 1962), a famous American writer and Nobel Prize laureate from Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner wrote many novels, short stories, screenplays, poetry, and essays during his lifetime. He is primarily known for his novels and short stories, especially those set in his fictional Yoknapatawpha County, which was based on Lafayette County, Mississippi, where he lived during most of his life. Faulkner even makes a guest appearance in this book, interacting with one of the main characters in an interesting restaurant scene.

    Grisham has used the same blueprint for his novels and short stories, using Ford County to reveal and examine social issues and inequalities that he feels need to be brought to the public square for debate and improvement. He’s come a long way from his legal thriller, “The Firm”, to this current novel, “The Reckoning” which concentrates on the horrors of war, it’s impact on the human psyche, and more importantly, how family secrets, lies, and the inability to forgive those we love the most, can tear apart a family for generations following.

    Overall, I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. It is that Faulkner gothic and Southern working-class story telling style that makes this both a good read and a tough read. It is a good read because Grisham is a master storyteller. He can make anything interesting, demand your attention, and keep you fully engrossed until the end, even if you think you know what the outcome will be. It is also a tough read because it is not a book, after finishing it and knowing the answer to the secret driving the central plotline, that I will come back to read again. It was full of negative and emotional experiences for many of the characters and their outcomes, which weighs heavily on the reader.

    I realize Grisham intended a certain emotional outcome, and he delivered it. It’s an outcome that causes me to think and explore ideas on how I can help contribute to making society better. However, it’s also an outcome that leaves me lacking interest in ever wanting to re-read it again. At least not in any foreseeable future…

  • Donna

    I've read many Grisham novels and have enjoyed the first several. And I've have even read one recently....last week to be more accurate. In that review, I couldn't quite name the thing that kept me from liking it like I've liked his older stuff. But now after reading this one, I think I know what that "thing" is.

    Grisham can come up with a story...that isn't a problem. He can create suspicion and suspense. Great. But the problem I've had with this book and with the one I read last week, is the w

    I've read many Grisham novels and have enjoyed the first several. And I've have even read one recently....last week to be more accurate. In that review, I couldn't quite name the thing that kept me from liking it like I've liked his older stuff. But now after reading this one, I think I know what that "thing" is.

    Grisham can come up with a story...that isn't a problem. He can create suspicion and suspense. Great. But the problem I've had with this book and with the one I read last week, is the writing. There is so much telling. He explains everything. It feels like he sees the scene in his head, and writes exactly what he sees. Nothing more. Nothing less. That is why I'm having a problem with the characters. They feel like cardboard....like they are in a painting and I'm trying to guess, who they really are, what they are thinking and feeling, etc.

    Also, this book was predictable in the "what really happened" arena. My advice, read the first part to get the info on the crisis at hand....then skip right to the very end. I promise. It will be okay.

  • Shoshana G

    I hated this book. It was racist, sexist, and most damningly - boring. The way Grisham talked about the black characters was condescending and the way he talked about Mary Ann was both racist and sexist. The reasons behind the crime were obvious and boring. If Grisham wanted to write a book about the horrors of the Pacific theater during World War II he should've just written that book, but those chapters merely served to point out the lack in substance in the rest of the book. I don't have symp

    I hated this book. It was racist, sexist, and most damningly - boring. The way Grisham talked about the black characters was condescending and the way he talked about Mary Ann was both racist and sexist. The reasons behind the crime were obvious and boring. If Grisham wanted to write a book about the horrors of the Pacific theater during World War II he should've just written that book, but those chapters merely served to point out the lack in substance in the rest of the book. I don't have sympathy for a family losing their land because their patriarch committed murder and I don't have sympathy for someone who planned a murder and refuses to divulge a motive to help their family understand.

    I've loved some of Grisham's past work and this was so bad that it makes me suspect that I was wrong to have enjoyed his writing ever!

    I read an e-ARC through NetGalley.

  • Amiee

    I have enjoyed SO MANY Grisham books that he is on my "read anything he publishes" list...however this one could and should be avoided.

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