Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Spotlight: The Racketeer by John Grisham

I'm a Hopeless Fan of Legal Thrillers But Is It Due to a Writing Style Rather Than the Genre?

I don't know how to refer to myself when it comes to being a John Grisham fan. In the early days of his writing career I, along with millions of others, couldn't wait for his next book to come out. Then, at some point, the focus of his books shifted slightly from the lawyer, court or judge to the criminal instead and in a couple of cases left the legal field completely. Don't get me wrong, I've always considered him an amazing author and writer but my focus began to wander too.

When Sycamore Row, his latest novel, hit the shelves I think I wanted to read it because it seemingly promised a return to the novelist's roots but when I visited the library I was distracted by The Racketeer which I brought home after reserving a copy of Sycamore Row.

(Yes, I love libraries; no, that's wrong. I'm enthralled by libraries but again I'm wandering.)

I eagerly started reading. The Racketeer details the story of former attorney Malcolm Bannister's arrest on racketeering charges, his conviction and incarceration and subsequent release. After Malcolm becomes Max and goes off the grid he embarks on an intricate plan to bring the murderer of a federal judge to justice.

I found myself admiring the tightly detailed style Mr. Grisham used to relate Max's plot. I was amazed how he was able to weave the subplots and background information detailing the characters' actions and reasoning for those actions so seamlessly without dropping the thread of the story.

Then I finally realized; I have enjoyed novels written by other former attorneys but they didn't necessarily write courtroom dramas. It's the writing style. Then I realized something else. I learned that style of writing when I returned to school prior to switching careers and becoming a legal assistant.

James LePore is one of those authors. A former attorney himself, James LePore writes his novels with the same tightness and attention to detail without dropping a stitch and his suspense novels have become another of my favorites. And his characters haven't entered the courtroom.

Another oversight I have to correct is checking out the young adult books John Grisham has produced. Until I made made this realization related to writing style I wasn't the least bit curious...and YA books are another of my favorites!

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