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 bestselling author of Killers of the Flower MoonOctober 1946, Clanton, Mississippi Pete Banning was Clanton, Mississippi's favorite son--a decorated World War II hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. Then one cool October morning he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed his pastor and friend, the Reverend Dexter Bell. As if the murder weren't shocking enough, it was even more baffling that Pete's only statement about it--to the sheriff, to his lawyers, to the judge, to the jury, and to his family--was: "I have nothing to say." He was not afraid of death and was willing to take his motive to the grave. In a major novel unlike anything he has written before, John Grisham takes us on an incredible journey, from the Jim Crow South to the jungles of the Philippines during World War II; from an insane asylum filled with secrets to the Clanton courtroom where Pete's defense attorney tries desperately to save him. Reminiscent of the finest tradition of Southern Gothic storytelling, The Reckoning would not be complete without Grisham's signature layers of legal suspense, and he delivers on every page.

The Reckoning Details

TitleThe Reckoning
Author
ReleaseOct 23rd, 2018
PublisherDoubleday Books
ISBN-139780385544153
Rating
GenreFiction, Mystery, Thriller

The Reckoning Review

  • Fred
    January 1, 1970
    Amazon - has release date as October 23, 2018 & description as "John Grisham returns to Clanton, Mississippi, to tell the story of an unthinkable murder, the bizarre trial that follows it, and its profound and lasting effect on the people of Ford County".Website - TheRealBookSpy.com has a description of...https://therealbookspy.com/2018/03/20...
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  • Travis Fortney
    January 1, 1970
    Somewhat of a departure for Grisham, though his recent books The Rogue Lawyer and The Rooster Bar 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 The Rogue Lawyer and The Rooster Bar 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.
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  • Shoshana G
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    Author John Grisham never fails to tell a story well, but in this instance, I question whether the story needed to be told at all. In a departure from his typical legal thriller, Grisham tells the story of Pete Banning, favorite son of Clanton Mississippi and a surviving WWII POW veteran. After being declared dead, yet somehow miraculously surviving the horrors of the Bataan death march and POW Camp O'Donnell, Pete Banning returns home for a joyous reunion with his family. But shortly thereafter Author John Grisham never fails to tell a story well, but in this instance, I question whether the story needed to be told at all. In a departure from his typical legal thriller, Grisham tells the story of Pete Banning, favorite son of Clanton Mississippi and a surviving WWII POW veteran. After being declared dead, yet somehow miraculously surviving the horrors of the Bataan death march and POW Camp O'Donnell, Pete Banning returns home for a joyous reunion with his family. But shortly thereafter, something goes horribly wrong: his wife ends up in a mental institution and Pete is charged and convicted with the cold-blooded murder of his pastor, Reverend Dexter Bell. In the drawn-out legal battle that ensues, Pete's only statement to the sheriff, to his lawyers, to the judge, to the jury, and to his family—was: "I have nothing to say." There is no happy ending here folks, my only satisfaction was to finish the book. I would not call it Southern Gothic, merely gruesome. #TheReckoning #NetGalley
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  • Jo Dervan
    January 1, 1970
    Grisham has written a new legal thriller set in Mississippi for his readers. Pete Banning was drafted into the US Army and ended up fighting with General McArthur’s troops in the Philippines during World War II. Then he disappeared after a battle with the Japanese and was assumed dead. His family, back on a cotton farm in Mississippi, was informed that they might never see him again. For 3 years he remained missing, first as a Japanese prisoner of war and then as a guerrilla fighting with the Fi Grisham has written a new legal thriller set in Mississippi for his readers. Pete Banning was drafted into the US Army and ended up fighting with General McArthur’s troops in the Philippines during World War II. Then he disappeared after a battle with the Japanese and was assumed dead. His family, back on a cotton farm in Mississippi, was informed that they might never see him again. For 3 years he remained missing, first as a Japanese prisoner of war and then as a guerrilla fighting with the Filipino rebels. After the US forces defeated the Japanese, Pete was found. He was badly wounded and transferred first to a military hospital in San Francisco and then another one closer to his home. Finally he was able to return to his wife, Liza and the farm that had been in his family for generations. Liza was happy to see him at first but eventually became clinically depressed. Pete had her committed to a mental hospital where her mind continued to deteriorate. Then he proceeded to settle all his accounts before he went to the parsonage and shot Dexter Bell, the local Methodist pastor. There was no explanation for the murder but it was common knowledge that the minister had visited Liza almost daily for the 3 years Pete was missing. Pete has was arrested and tried for murder. He did not offer any defense or tell anyone why he shot the reverend. His college aged children, Joel and Stella, returned to town for the trial but he would not tell them the reason either. Finally he was convicted and sentenced to death in the electric chair. Weeks before the murder, Pete had bequeathed the farm to his children. However the grieving widow of the minister initiated suits for wrongful death as she wanted the farm and house for herself and her children. Joel and Stella visited their Mother in the hospital after the execution but she also would not give them any reason for the murder. The mystery is not solved until the very end when both Pete and Liza are dead.Grisham gave the reader an insight into life in 1946 on a small farm in rural Mississippi where white owners and blacks lived and worked together as their ancestors had done in the days of slavery. Grisham deviated from his usual legal writing to describe in detail what soldiers went through fighting the Japanese in the Philippines. I felt that this part of the story could have been condensed in a few pages rather than spread over 100 pages.
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  • Coconut Creek Book Club ❧
    January 1, 1970
    Our February 2019 pick! Chosen by Robin (#80).
  • Irene
    January 1, 1970
    The Reckoning by John Grisham. Not taut thriller courtroom drama I was expecting from Mr Grisham. Couldn't relate to the characters and wasn't drawn into the story. I'm sure other people will enjoy it.Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the opportunity to preview the book.
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