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, a family saga…The Reckoning is Grisham's argument that he's not just a boilerplate thriller writer. Most jurors will think the counselor has made his case.”
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.

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The Reckoning - John Grisham Book Reviews (3,292)


Mailed this one in2 star

If the three elements of a novel are plot, character development, and context, this one is 90% context. If you’ve read any of Grisham’s other Southern gothic novels or, for example, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” you can skip the first (after the obligatory premise/plot chapter) 300 or so pages about life in the old rural South. Then, if you’ve read much of anything about WWII in the Pacific and the Japanese treatment of POW, you can skip the next 500 or so pages about that. It could have been taken verbatim from any number of sources with a little cut and paste about Grisham’s protagonist. The “climax,” if one can call it that, was a predictable disappointment. Not sure how I got through one, save that I’ve read most of his other books and loved his early work. Oh well, time to move on. Goodbye old friend. 25


Pointless1 star

Entertaining enough leading up to the dastardly deed, then, aside from some historical backfill having little place save for absence of plot, we slog several hundred pages further on the same unflinchingly predictable trajectory hoping against hope for a meager plot twist to put us off the already crumb less trail but finding instead only the muster of collective wheezing offered the limpest of Hail Mary plot chucks attempting to achieve in its final ten pages what it could not in its previous 644..finding legs to run this shaggiest of dogs. 15


Kind of a slog2 star

I enjoyed the first section, tolerated the second and only finished the book because I’d invested time and wanted to see what the big reveal was going to be. Ended up being underwhelming and a disappointment. I say this as a lover of John Grisham. This was not my favorite. 25

Tim Williford

This is a fantastic read!5 star

I love John Grisham and I love love LOVE “The Reckoning.” 55


Boring1 star

A long slog. I skipped many chapters due to lack of interest and found the ending to be boring. Waste of time. 15


The reckoning1 star

Lack if grip very slow , not the intriguing fast pace story that identifies John Grisham 15


Can’t Believe Grisham Is the author1 star

I guess even Tom Brady has awful days. Kept waiting for the book to pickup speed. Waiting for some legal brilliance- none. Some history of Bataan Death March, Philippine guerrilla action and the death penalty in Mississippi. Almost like descriptive prose was the equivalent of batting practice- when would the game start. Huge disappointment 15


Not his usual work- better5 star

I do not read courtroom dramas so I have not read much of Gresham. I have enjoyed his writing in the few I have read however. I chose this book because I knew he was a good writer and it was not a courtroom drama. I loved every page of it. The book’s story is tragic but easily imagined. He describes the war with such detail and the main character is wonderfully detailed. If he continues to write non legal books, I will be the first to purchase after reading this. 55

AB Constant Reader

Too Much Fluff2 star

He wasted about 300 pages.....details that didn’t matter to make a short story into novel. The war segment was the most compelling part. I have read every book he has written and I love his visits to Ford County. This one was just too long winded. 25


The Reckoning1 star

Worst Grisham book ever. Waste of money. Do not read. 15

The Pilot's Daughter

A Story Divided3 star

JG himself claims to have stolen the idea for the story from folkloric beginnings. I just kept thinking that because the main character gave so little of himself in the story, the war filled us in on what made this man tick. It also filled pages of what was a rather simple, tragic error that could have been told in far less volume. The story is tragic, one man’s erroneous act wipes out his entire family’s inheritance. Worse it leaves the children confused and unable to connect with their father OR mother over this event. Basically he destroyed his family and at the end my question was still WHY??? 35


Waste of time and money1 star

This book moans and groans on and on without ever saying anything. There is no mystery, it’s clear what will happen in the first 15 minutes of the book. There is no reason to care about any of the characters. There is a lot of history and on some level it’s interesting. Next time, just write the history book. I’m not even going to finish this one (which is very rare for me). I wish I could get my money back. You will too! 15


Lots of filler1 star

Not one of my favorite novels. There was no surprise ending. Lots of extra, unnecessary chapters. 15


The Reckoning1 star

Boring. Tedious. Repetitious. Depressing! Usually love John Grisham books but not this one! 15


Utterly depressing1 star

I’ve always enjoyed most of John Grisham’s books, but this book is totally depressing and a total downer!!! I’m sure that everything Grisham said about the battle in the Phillipines is true, but totally unnecessary. It only made the story more depressing. I told my husband, that if this is how Grisham is going to write, he needs to retire! 15


The Reckoning3 star

As I began reading this book, the deeper into it I got, the more I felt it was going to be one of the author’s best. The characters are richly developed, the scenes are painted so well with that you can visualize everything as though you are watching a movie. It could easily have been a five star book in my mind. The problem for me came at the end. It ended too abruptly. It was as though Grisham decided he’d had enough and wanted to move on. Definitely worth reading but disappointing at the end. One more chapter would have offered the chance to shape and end the story better. What direction were the siblings going to take with their lives? Even an epilogue would have been welcomed. SPOILER WARNING: After receiving the truth behind the tragedies in their family you were left with nothing. Their aunt’s will regarding her land? Land adjacent to their father’s, legally stolen by an overly ambitious attorney. So many more questions with no hint of answers. 35

bubba S.M.

The Reckoning1 star

Weak story, slow read, extraordinary amount of words for little drama. Big waste of time 15


History and Great Story5 star

This is the story of a small family in Canton, Mississippi, and their cotton farm during the 1940’s-1950. It contains deception and lies that play out around the Philippines, World War II, and the Bataan death march. If you don’t know the history of this, you’re in for shock and admiration. The rest of the story before and after is captivating for the family of 4, their eccentric aunt, and the other characters, in early 20th century Mississippi. 55


The Reckoning2 star

Tedious and disjointed. A disappointing read. 25


The Reckoning2 star

Was so disappointed. Just not what I expected from John Grisham. Was not worth the price! 25

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