The Racketeer by John Grisham

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Another flight, another Grisham. Apparently he sells well in airports. I can see that. His thrillers are distraction from the person passive-aggressively stealing your armrest.

The first half is great. Malcolm Bannister is a wrongfully imprisoned lawyer, desperate to get out early. A judge and his girlfriend are tortured, robbed and killed. Bannister knows who did it, so negotiates his release using a law that allows prisoners to commute their sentences in exchange for solving a crime.

Bannister meets the FBI and goes under the witness protection scheme. Then without giving too much away, there is a twist (obviously). We end up following the characters around as they double cross each other and launder money.

In theory, interesting but it’s actually more accoutring than action. I don’t get the nuance or significance of transferring funds offshore in a certain way. If I wanted to know about tax havens I’d have read the Panama Papers instead.

Because none of the characters seem to have any motivation other than money, it’s hard to care about their crimes or schemes. It’s ironic that Grisham manages to make law exciting, but falls a little flat when it comes to racketeering.

Read: for a step by step guide on how to move money offshore.

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