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. 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. It feels like he sees the scene in his head, and writes exactly what he sees.
That is why I'm having a problem with the characters. They feel like cardboard 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 It will be okay. I didn't see the twist coming. Nov 09, But two o Andrea wrote: But two of the big ones I managed to guess early on.
That doesn't always happen, but there is one thing I've noticed with this author's writing, that is useful when guessing. I don't want to give anything away to others so I won't be specific. But I certainly liked the suspicion created. Erna I completely agree that eh book was predictable and the motive was not a mystery, it too was predictable. Dec 14, Nov 09, Erth rated it did not like it.
Could have been based on a ten page short story by a freshman in community college. Mr Grisham, please bring back your inventive legal thrillers. Nov 01, William Fluke rated it it was ok. Far From One of Grisham's Best: I typically enjoy anything by Grisham and rate them in the 4 star range most always. The Reckoning fell well short of what I would expect from Grisham.
While there is legal challenge and courtroom storyline- this part of the story had little drama, no surprise Far From One of Grisham's Best: While there is legal challenge and courtroom storyline- this part of the story had little drama, no surprises and an ending to the legal challenge that was obvious from the beginning.
Was hoping for a plot twist somewhere to redeem the book, but it never came. This seems like a story that Grisham just put out to meet a publisher's deadline as readers like myself expect more.
A few nagging elements also including the fact that the son and daughter in the story refer throughout to their father and mother by first name- Pete and Liza- which seemed odd and out of place with the time and setting for this story. Even if you are diehard Grisham fan, believe you can pass on this one without feeling you have missed anything. Quit selling them short. Dec 02, Mara Laverentz Or is it the editor pushing something to market to keep the cash register ringing?
Dec 08, Jay Hogan I do agree with some of your critiques. Especially the informality of the children when referring to their parents. But I did enjoy the book. Dec 12, Oct 22, Kate Olson rated it really liked it Shelves: Thanks a million to doubledaybooks for this free review copy! 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 This book sucked me in, kept me guessing, and had me reading about military history with a completely new level of interest. 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!
View all 5 comments. Bobbie Hartsfield Bonnie wrote: Hollywood has a way of ruining books sometimes. Kim Faires I agree!
It was so solid up until then. I gave it 4 stars but was disappointed how he wrapped up the end. Dec 15, Nov 12, Suzanne rated it it was amazing. This novel was incredible! It was a powerful story with so much mystery right up to the end. I could not right for the secrets to be revealed, and they were not exactly what readers would predict. I seriously enjoyed this book to the point of losing sleep over it.
I would have read in one day if my schedule would have permitted. It was that good! My quick and simple overall: A really great standalone novel! View all 4 comments. Nov 18, Monnie rated it it was amazing. Without doubt, this is one of the saddest and most haunting books I've read in a while close to downright depressing, in fact. What's more, about a third of it was so unsettling that insofar as possible, I skimmed through it. It is written matter-of-factly, without emotion - but the emotion comes through loud and clear nonetheless.
Did I love it? In many ways, no; but in the overall scheme of things, it's pretty darned awesome. The depressing part came near the end, when facts n Without doubt, this is one of the saddest and most haunting books I've read in a while close to downright depressing, in fact. The depressing part came near the end, when facts not previously in evidence were revealed let's just say that O Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" came to mind.
The unsettling part came in the middle, when details of the World War II military life of Pete Banning, one of the main characters, was outlined in all-too-vivid detail. If there's anything in this world I'd rather not read about, see, or listen to, it's the horrors of war. And the entire middle section of this book, Titled "The Boneyard," lays it all out. Yes, it's a very important part of the story - but had I known it was coming I'd have left sneaker tracks on the sidewalk running the other way.
That said, what a story it is. Set in small-town Clanton, Mississippi, after World War II has ended and Pete, thought to have been killed, returns home to his extensive cotton farm as a decorated hero. His wife, Liza, is in a mental institution - at Pete's orders - and their son and daughter are grown. In , at the age of 43, Pete is about to do something virtually unthinkable, especially for a man of his stature; commit a cold-blooded murder.
He freely admits to his guilt; what he refuses to admit, though, is his motive. He will, he insists, go to his death - a very real possibility if he's convicted by a jury - with his secret intact. His long-time family lawyer, nor his sister Flora, who lives on the farm, nor his children will ever hear the reason behind his action - at least never from his lips. From that point on, much of the narrative focuses on Pete's family background and what and how his children are doing, all of which takes place in a deep-South setting in which "coloreds" handle menial tasks and are not allowed to sit on the front porch of any home nor anywhere in a courtroom except the balcony.
And of course, let's not forget the section that details what happened to him in the war when he was part of the historic Bataan Death March in the Philippines. Even though I didn't want to read it, I can't imagine the research it took to pull all that together. In the final section, "The Betrayal," readers, along with Pete's two children - find out what really happened. Dec 12, Krissy rated it did not like it Shelves: This did not work for me. It started out pretty interesting but died a quick death. It was just too long, dull, and depressing. The war flashbacks bored me to tears and I didn't understand why they were even included in the story.
Don't go into this expecting some big twist at the end. Or even a big eye opening moment. I didn't finish this book thinking "I totally understand why he killed that man. Marialyce Unfortunately, Grisham has lost his mojo. I have just returned this one to the library mostly unread. Dec 13, Nov 10, Scott rated it liked it. It has become one of my annual late Fall rituals. The leaves are falling.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
Hardcover , pages. Written by Sujit R. Nov 18, Monnie rated it it was amazing. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: Why do you think Grisham had to go into so much detail about the war story? My advice, read the first part to get the info on the crisis at hand
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. At least not in any foreseeable future… Aug 27, Brenda rated it it was ok.
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. 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.
But shortly thereafter, something goes horribly wrong: 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 would not call it Southern Gothic, merely gruesome. Oct 24, Stephen rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is a sweeping saga recalling the finest Southern Gothic tradition.
A tale to take pleasure from and in which to lose yourself. Part One - The Killing: On October 9, in Clanton, Ford County, Mississippi Pete Banning, a decorated war hero and prominent citizen, awakens early and calmly goes about his morning routine. He then drives into town, walks into the Methodist and This is a sweeping saga recalling the finest Southern Gothic tradition. He then drives into town, walks into the Methodist and shoots and kills Reverend Dexter Bell. All he says to anyone, including his lawyer, is, "I have nothing to say.
The county prosecutor loves it. We are shown how Pete's family, his children Joel and Stella along with his sister, Florry, struggle in the aftermath of the trial. Now with their Mom, Liza, already committed to a mental hospital for reasons they do not know, Joel and Stella are left to wonder at what's happened to their family. Part Two - The Boneyard: This section is a war story recounting Pete's harrowing experiences in the Philippine jungles.
The Battle of Bataan. We get a feel for how these experiences will shape and affect him upon his return home. It's full of danger, horror and action. Part 3 - The Betrayal: We continue to follow the Banning family's turmoil in the wake of Pete's trial. There are mounting legal troubles and some fine courtroom drama. When they discover this, it will lead them to their father's motivations for doing what he did. Pete Banning's reasons for his actions and the real story might not be the same thing.
A narrative of tragedy and scandal beautifully told. This is fiction at its best. A suspenseful tale of family to become engrossed in and to savor. This was an ARC Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Oct 29, Carolyn rated it liked it. A Southern Gothic tragedy about the decline and disgrace of a prominent and respected family who own a valuable plantation in rural Mississippi.
The time is the s and the racial divide affects the social standing and legal justice for the Blacks. There are harsher penalties for blacks than for white citizens charged with crimes. The vast number of executions in the district have been carried out on blacks and the death penalty of a wealthy white man has been unknown.
Judges and all 3. Judges and all white juries are the rule, and the wealth to afford the best defense lawyers is a deciding factor. We get a chilling description of botched hangings and electrocutions. Pete Banning was a highly respected family man, a successful farmer, and war hero. One day he enters the Methodist church which his family attended, and shoots their beloved and popular minister. The mystery and suspense lie in his motive for such a bizarre crime. He refuses to explain his reason to anyone: The first section of the book deals with legal maneuvering and the trial. I found this to be the strongest part of the book.
Grisham writes vividly showing superb ability to describe the indescribable tortures, illnesses, and death.
“The quest for justice is only the beginning in this Southern-family saga Grisham does so much more this time around.”. “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. #1 bestselling author John Grisham's The Reckoning is his most powerful, surprising, and suspenseful thriller yet. “A murder mystery, a courtroom drama.
We follow Pete during the Bataan Death March, the deprivation and suffering in a Japanese POW camp, in one of the overcrowded, filthy ships carrying prisoners to Japan for slave labor and finally as a guerrilla fighter in the Philippine jungle. Pete was classified missing and believed dead for 3 years.
He returns home to an overjoyed wife, sister,and two children after being hospitalized for war wounds and the after effects of dysentery and malaria. He commits his wife to a mental institution and the grown children are forbidden to visit. Then he murders the minister.
As the family fortune declines, there are several more tragedies. Surely things will be turned around to provide a happier ending. Suspense which sustained the story is finally resolved when the motive for the murder is finally revealed.
I felt the book was longer than necessary. The WW2 flashbacks were the most powerful part of the story for me and which could have been a separate novel. The structure bothered me at first, starting out at the family in their present time s , then flashbacks to WW2 events, and finally a continuation of the character's story.
Overall I concluded this format worked well. Definitely not a happy, relaxing read. Oct 10, Cyndi rated it it was amazing Shelves: World War II veteran Pete Banning wakes up one day, goes about his business as usual and then proceeds to murder in cold blood the beloved preacher of the Methodist church. Pete refuses to tell anyone the reasons behind the killing and he and his family both suffer the consequences.
It is suspenseful right up to the very last page. Overall, a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable read recommended to all. All opinions are my own. Sep 08, Travis Fortney rated it liked it. 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. 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. 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. Nov 01, Kalen rated it it was ok Shelves: This started out so promising.
And then we got to the courtroom scenes and aftermath which dragged on but it is a Grisham book so fair enough. Compelling enough I suppose but completely out of place in the rest of the book. By the time he got back to the primary story, I had lost patience. This one felt like Grisham wanted to write two different books and probably should have. Dec 16, Gary rated it liked it. I hadn't read a John Grisham novel for quite awhile and very quickly after starting 'The Reckoning' I started thinking about other books of his that I also wanted to read.
Unfortunately the book was a bit hit and miss for me, I enjoyed the first part of the novel where the killing and the court case happened but my interest waned when the second part of the book spoke of the main characters war time experiences and by the end I really didn't care a lot what the outcome proved to be. A letter to Liza providing his status is ripped up by sympathetic Filipinos who are afraid of reprisal if found in possession of the letter. Pete and fellow U. In late , U.
Pete is rescued in early and returns to the U. Liza receives a call from him and, after recovering from her shock, she rushes to San Francisco for a joyous reunion. In May , he returns to Mississippi. Joel becomes the legally appointed guardian of his mother. He and Stella begin visiting her periodically.
Errol McLeish, a Georgia lawyer who has befriended Jackie Bell, hires Mississippi lawyer Burch Dunlap to represent her in a wrongful death suit against the Banning estate. As a lengthy sequence of legal issues is worked out, Joel and Stella make fitful progress on bringing stability back into their lives, with Joel in law school at Mississippi and Stella working as a teacher with an eye on New York.
Liza escapes from the State Hospital, returns home, has a long talk with Florry, goes to the cemetery, and commits suicide lying atop Pete's grave. The Jackie Bell lawsuits prevail despite appeals and other delaying tactics, resulting in all of the Pete Banning property going to Bell, who has married McLeish.
Florry is living with a friend in New Orleans and in failing health. Joel and Stella go for a last visit. On her deathbed, Florry tells the story of how Liza, thinking Pete was dead in the Philippines, had a sexual relationship with Jupe, grandson of two elderly farm employees who were descended from slaves. Liza became pregnant and was taken to Memphis by Dexter Bell for an abortion.
She was left with a persistent infection that caused her to lose interest in resuming a vigorous relationship with Pete on his return from the war. Ultimately Pete confronted her with evidence of the abortion. Liza, unable to admit to a sexual relationship with a young black man, told Pete that Dexter was the father. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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