#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • John Grisham's most powerful, surprising, and suspenseful thriller yet • “A murder mystery, a courtroom drama, a family saga.” —USA Today
October 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, and committed a shocking crime. 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.
Don’t miss John Grisham’s new book, THE EXCHANGE: AFTER THE FIRM!
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We love John Grisham’s masterful legal thrillers, but we’re not sure anyone expected him to deliver this unusual kind of lean, hardboiled murder mystery. Pete Banning, a stoic cotton farmer and wartime vet, is a pillar of his ‘40s Mississippi community—until the day he commits a shocking crime and refuses to reveal his motive. Grisham’s storytelling jumps back and forth across Banning’s life, unraveling a complicated family history, the horrors of the World War II Pacific theater, and the flammable racial dynamics of the small-town South. The Reckoning reminded us of Jim Thompson’s southern-fried noir mysteries…and there’s no higher compliment.
Why would a respected war hero cold-bloodedly gun down the local pastor? That's the central mystery in this subpar outing from bestseller Grisham (The Rooster Bar). One morning in 1946, Pete Banning, a WWII vet and Ford County, Miss., cotton farmer who recently committed his wife, Liza, to a hospital, accepts "the solemn reality that it was time for the killing." After having breakfast with his sister, Florry, Banning drives to the Clanton Methodist Church, where he shoots the Rev. Dexter Bell three times at point-blank range. He then aims his weapon at the black man who cleans the church, Hop Purdue, before sparing Hop's life and instructing him to fetch the sheriff. Banning offers no resistance to his arrest and no explanation for his actions to the sheriff, his defense attorney, or Florry. He refuses to allow his attorney to plead insanity, or even to ask for a change of venue. It seems that the shooting may have something to do with Liza, but Banning's motive is only clarified late in the book, and that revelation doesn't make it easy for readers to empathize with him. Grisham fans will hope for a return to form next time.)
Ok book. Sure wish the original John Grisham would return. But this is not his worst but not a favorite..... still a good read.
Honestly a let down
The story was so incredible until the last 25 pages. The build up is amazing and as I read with the inability to put it down I get to the end to be completely disappointed. Not John’s best work.
Very slow moving novel. I put it down many times but would force myself to read to the end. I expected much more from John Grisham. I’ve read all his books and enjoyed the story lines. This was sad from beginning to end. The demise of a family. Would never recommend this to any one.