The Reckoning

The Reckoning

Book - 2018
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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.
Publisher: New York, New York : Doubleday, ©2018.
ISBN: 9780385544153
Characteristics: 420 pages ;,25 cm.

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r
rewulff
Nov 13, 2018

I agree with some of the reviewers that the middle section was a bit long and could have been abbreviated to fit into the overall story line better. Grisham is still a fantastic writer and story teller, with an unexpected twist at the end of this book. Parts 1 and 3 of this book would have fit better if Part 2 had been shorter and less detailed. However, I appreciate the history lesson of a part of WWII that I didn't know about. I guess MacArthur wasn't as stellar a leader as portrayed; how sad.

m
maipenrai
Nov 11, 2018

I have been a Grisham fan for many years and still consider him to be an excellent writer. ( There is a "however" in that sentence. ) I think "The Reckoning" was / or should have been 2 books. The story set in Philippines of WWII was compelling. It could / should have been a book in itself. Then we have the home story in Ford County and the murder which had sufficient narrative to be its own book. When reading the two put together, I have two bones to pick. The first is that the WWII events convince us completely that Pete is an honorable man who went thru horrific events and still maintained that honor. The second is that a character in the story has the answer to the WHY of the murder all along and does not tell us or the children (or Pete) the secret until the very end. After reading all the intricacies of the war and the lives of the children, I was so sick and tired of not knowing the "why" that I almost stopped caring. When I found out the reason for the murder I was angry and disappointed. I was angry because for hour after hour I had been shown that Pete was a man to be admired. He was not. He committed an act of violence without knowing the truth. I felt betrayed by Grisham and by Pete. I was disappointed because had been tricked into believing that the murder was somehow an "honorable" act. It was not. I do not think the man who fought in the Philippines would have committed the violence at home without knowing the truth. Doesn't an honorable man nurture his children instead of his sense of vengeance???? I still think Grisham is an excellent writer because a bad writer could not provoke the sense of betrayal in me as a reader that I felt after finishing the book. All this being said, I think everyone should read the book and decide. Kristi & Abby Tabby

b
bill556
Nov 10, 2018

I normally enjoy reading Grisham's work, but this is a book that just does not hold my interest.
I found it over written and somewhat boring.

p
pishposh9
Nov 05, 2018

Far too long and very odd.

w
Wsargeant
Nov 03, 2018

This book reminds me of why John Grisham is my favorite author. It captured my interest from the first page and remained engaging through to the end.

y
yortbell
Nov 02, 2018

I have read and enjoyed all of Grisham's books up to this one. Cannot say that I liked "The Reckoning" Kept us guessing wrong up to the end. Too much gore in the Bataan Death March.

b
brianwalsh1948
Oct 29, 2018

This is a deeply moving family tragedy told in a very detailed way, and keeps you guessing until the last chapter. Not much in the way of "feel good" moments, but Grisham's character development is excellent and you can't help but feel for the main character and his children.
An excellent read!

d
darladoodles
Oct 19, 2018

This is some story! Grisham returns to his roots and we are given a glimpse of the Jim Crow South in good ole Ford County. The book begins with a mystery. Why does Pete Banning shoot the minister and refuse to defend his actions? We watch his trial on the edge of our seats wondering if he will be sentenced to die on Old Sparky. No sooner is this answer revealed and we are whisked back in time to the Philippines during WW II with grueling details about the horrors of the Bataan Death March. Finally there are classic Grisham legal maneuverings as we continue to follow the Banning family post-trial. The deepest of secrets are reserved until the very last chapter making this a riveting read and one of Grisham's best.

j
joannetomlanovich
Sep 25, 2018

Library Journal review above is from "The Rooster Bar" not "The Reckoning."

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