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Friday, November 16, 2018

THE RECKONING: A NOVEL (audiobook) by John Grisham



Could Have Been Something Special. Instead, This Book Is a Hot Mess.

Published by Random House Audio in October of 2018.
Read by Michael Beck.

Duration: 17 hours, 36 minutes.
Unabridged.


American soldiers during the Bataan Death March in 1942.
Pete Banning was a decorated World War II veteran and had been home less than a year in 1946 when he took his pistol to town and shot and killed his church's minister. The question everyone had was why this Mississippi-born-and-bred hero would do such a thing.

This book features romance, betrayal, racial injustice, an execution by electric chair, hit-and-run guerrilla warfare against Imperial Japan, the Bataan Death March, two court cases, a family member committed to an insane asylum, a murder, a suicide, explosions, war crimes, a submarine sinking a ship and marital infidelity. The amazing thing is that, after all of that, this book is a tedious mess - something to be endured more than enjoyed.

The problem with this book is that Grisham spends hour after hour after hour giving excruciatingly detailed backstories all about the Banning's whirlwind romance of his wife, how his farm worked, his sister's pink house, a hotel in Memphis and the in-laws lackluster lives.

The World War II section of the book is actually quite good. But, it just doesn't fit in with the rest of the book and is actually not needed to make the rest of the book work. It's almost like Grisham had two books written - one a Southern Gothic mystery and the other a World War II action-adventure and he just stuck them together. Too bad - he writes a pretty good war story.

This book is a hot mess. As I am writing this review, this book is the #2 on Amazon's best-seller list and #3 on the New York Times list. The only reason that it is there is because of the author's name - not the quality of this book.

I listened to the audiobook, read by Michael Beck. Beck has a pleasing voice, but this book would work against any narrator. It desperately needed hours of text edited out of the book.


I rate this audiobook 2 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: The Reckoning by John Grisham.  My advice, pick another Grisham book to read - any other book.

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