John Grisham spins out another irrestible page-turner

In John Grisham's The Racketeer, a lawyer jailed for a crime he didn't commit offers to help with a murder investigation in return for his freedom.

The Racketeer
John Grisham
Double Day

Disgraced lawyer Malcolm Bannister is in jail for a crime he didn't commit.

His chance for salvation - and revenge - arrives with the murder of a federal judge and his mistress in a remote mountain cabin.

The police are stumped and Bannister offers to help in return for his freedom.

The above description may be yawn inducing, but John Grisham has made a career of teasing out fresh thrills from rusty plot lines.

The Racketeer works as another ripping read (and probably another blockbuster film) due to Grisham's tight plotting.

It only takes a few chapters to realise the narrating Bannister is not as meek and forlorn as he seems.

Instead, he cleverly balances the demands of the FBI agents with his deep-seated desire to exact revenge for his lost time.

Grisham gleefully admits in the book's afterword that the story wasn't based on fact "and accuracy was not deemed crucial".

This explains why it is such a page-turner - the pace is not slowed down by legal history and case files. Grisham really enjoys spinning a good yarn - and it shows.

* Saeed Saeed