Recommended Book – The Reckoning

The Reckoning

My featured book for this month is John Grisham’s The Reckoning. It is historical fiction of 432 pages published by Doubleday. If you liked A Time to Kill and Sycamore Row, you will like The Reckoning as well, though they have nothing to do with each other besides that they are both set, at least in part, in Clanton in Ford County.

Take my author’s quiz, here.

In another trip back to Clanton in Ford County, Mr. Grisham introduces us to Pete Banning, a southern cotton farmer who murders his Methodist preacher shortly after he returns from WWII.

He then works his way backward to Major (battlefield commission) Banning’s participation in the Bataan Death March and his exploits in the Philippines during WWII. The story is quite gripping and graphic.

Featured Book: The Reckoning

It is a saga of war and love; it’s a courtroom drama, a gripping portrayal of the conditions in the south during the WWII period. The dreadfully barbaric treatment of prisoners by the Japanese soldiers. Mr. Grisham shows us what secrets can do to a family. He also gives us a glimpse into the making of a war hero and his unraveling as well.

He will take you on a painful path, a brutal march you can’t or won’t escape from because the only escape is to put the book down, and that is impossible. For it is both illuminating and entertaining.

Although throughout this featured book, you believe you know what’s going on and you have all the answers, you really know nothing. What causes a man, a war hero to kill in cold blood? To dispatch a life as if swatting a fly. What was it that drove him so far away from what was expected of a man so many respected and idolized?

“When a master of storytelling and suspense takes on one of the most wrenching stories in history, the result is a book that will break your heart, set your blood pumping and your mind racing, and leave you gasping for breath by the final page. I’m still trying to recover from The Reckoning.” –Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author of The River of Doubt and Destiny of the Republic

Buy December’s Featured Book, The Reckoning to Find the Answers!

The Reckoning: Kindle

The Reckoning: Hard Cover


Read some of my book reviews and other recommendations.

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Crime Action Drama: The Rooster Bar Book Review

As a John Grisham fan, I was eager to read his newest crime action drama, The Rooster Bar. Grisham’s readers often expect a fast-paced story with vivid characters and a plot filled with thrilling twists and turns, and this book does not disappoint. The Rooster Bar is a sharp criticism of today’s educational, financial, and immigration systems. Grisham savages the shady colleges and universities which are far more interested in creating large profits than in enriching the lives of their students. The book also exposes corruption in the student loan industry and the excesses of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
This crime action drama follows three students at the fictional Foggy Bottom Law School: Mark, Todd, and Zola. They all borrowed heavily (each nearly $200,000) to attend school, and they are struggling in their personal and professional lives. All of them were betting heavily on their earnings as lawyers to pay back their high-interest loans. The schools recruiting videos and TV ads sold them on how easy it was to borrow the money and get a high-paying job in a law firm.
As they progress through law school, they become aware that their school has a low percentage of graduates that pass the bar exam and only a few of those that do get well-paying jobs. They find out that even that was an elaborate hoax, as the mega-millionaire also controlled eight law firms where they would hire a few of the graduates and start them at a high salary, use them in their recruiting ads, and then lower their salaries at annual reviews.

Gordy, a friend of the three main characters and romantically linked to Zola, traces a conspiracy linking Foggy Bottom to a lender in the student loan industry. His suicide leads the three friends to investigate further. The three decide that exposing the corruption is more important than receiving tainted law school degrees. They drop out of law school, assume new identities, and set up a fake and unlicensed law firm of their own with the goal of taking down Foggy Bottom and its financial partners.
The plot builds in excitement until this crime action drama provides a thrilling climax. Grisham’s reuse of a plot device from The Firm was one of my few real problems with this book, though some avid Grisham fans could rationalize it as an update to an ongoing problem, which in a way it is.
Grisham manages to make us sympathetic to these underdogs even though their methods are almost as shady as those of the law school they are trying to expose. I especially enjoyed the development of Zola’s character. Born to undocumented parents from Senegal, she becomes heavily involved in the politics of immigration after the deportation of her family members. Zola’s family’s experiences with the immigration system lend urgency to her character.
Other reviewers have criticized Grisham’s last few books for having lost the spark and thrill of his earlier works, but I found that The Rooster Bar was a return to his usual form. The characters came to life for me and were the best part of this crime action drama. Despite the slightly predictable plot twist, this courtroom drama was as engaging as any Grisham novel.
Grisham’s new book The Rooster Bar will not disappoint fans of crime action drama. Although those who have read The Firm might be turned off by the reuse of an older plot device, it’s a small point and after you get into the story, it won’t matter that much. The characters of Mark, Todd, and Zola carry the book and cause the readers to root for them even though they operate outside the law. If you’re looking for an entertaining legal read, pick up The Rooster Bar and decide for yourself.
Buy it Now!