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Publisher's Summary

Number-one best-selling 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, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed his pastor and friend, the Reverend Dexter Bell. As if the murder weren’t shocking enough, it was even more baffling that 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 every minute.

©2018 John Grisham (P)2018 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“In this saga of love and war, John Grisham has given us a sprawling and engrossing story about a Southern family, a global conflict, and the kinds of secrets that can shape all of us. From the courtrooms and jails of rural Mississippi to the war-torn Pacific, Grisham spins a tale that is at once entertaining and illuminating.” (Jon Meacham, New York Times best-selling author of The Soul of America)

“John Grisham is not only the master of suspense but also an acute observer of the human condition. And these remarkable skills converge in The Reckoning - an original, gripping, penetrating novel that may be his greatest work yet.” (David Grann, New York Times best-selling author of Killers of the Flower Moon)

“John Grisham is the master of legal fiction, and his latest starts with a literal bang - and then travels backward through the horrors of war to explore what makes a hero, what makes a villain, and how thin the line between the two might be.” (Jodi Picoult, number-one New York Times best-selling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things)

“The quest for justice is only the beginning in this Southern-family saga.... Grisham does so much more this time around.” (Associated Press)  

What listeners say about The Reckoning

Average Customer Ratings
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Boring

First part was good and I was listening intently. Then it turned into a war story. No thanks. Then when the so-called mystery was finally solved... I literally said “who really cares about that boring mystery.”

9 people found this helpful

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disappointed

I've always thought of John Grisham as a good storyteller, but for me, this one falls far short of the mark.

3 people found this helpful

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Disapointed

I've waited 17 hours for something to happen but nothing. Ending was predictable, no suspense.

2 people found this helpful

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  • K
  • 2018-11-16

Torturous

If you like reading about the horror and depravity of WWII then read this book. I waded through most of it, although I skimmed through part 2 of the book because of its endless torturous, excruciating description of the main character's experience during WWII. The ending was a big disappointment and I kept thinking, "That's it? That's why he did it?" OMG! That's 17 hours I'll never get back.

6 people found this helpful

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Where was the editor?

This is far and away the worst Grisham book I have read (listened to). The plot premise is weak, the ending is more or less known a few chapters in, the reason for the protagonist’s ‘reckoning’ actions (or which resulted in his reckoning) which is the basis for the whole book is not believable and part II in the Philippines is excruciating. It deserves one chapter at most. Where was the editor?I have enjoyed all of Grisham’s other books but this one lost me early on and was not up to his usual standards.

1 person found this helpful

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beautiful book

had me on the edge of my seat the entire book strongly recommend this listen

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Highs and slows

Part 1 Engagjng. Leaves the reader with lots of questions. Part 2 . Best part of the book. Details about the Battle of Bataan, Death march, POW camps fascinating. I had to read around the history of this battle. Part 3. Moved to slow. Anticlimactic. I was begging Joel to just investigate why his Dad did what he did.

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Boring and predictable

This is not typical of a John Grisham novel.
Very disappointing, I'm not sure I will read another by this author for a very long time, if ever. His first number of novels were absolutely fantastic, this one a very pale imitation.

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Excellent Read

The story is very good, although my wife found the part about guerilla warfare in the Philippines a little over-whelming. Personally, I found this historical section very interesting and it encouraged me to do more research on it.

I thought that Mr. Beck was an excellent reader, although I always find that men trying to do women's voices tend to lack a little in that department.

Overall, an interesting plot, if a little depressing.

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Did not enjoy

Well written and entertaining but hated the story. Not a thriller just a sad story of humans making poor choices as a result of a messed up social structure and character flaws. While I guessed most of the ending early in the story the surprising part just made the whole story more nauseating.

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  • Kelly G.
  • 2018-10-25

NOT a legal thriller in the least

I have enjoyed many John Grisham books, however, this one is not a legal thriller, it is mostly a war story that is way way way too long, I skipped sections and ended up returning it. I am so glad I had the option to return it because it was a waste of a credit. Very disappointed.

40 people found this helpful

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  • Wayne
  • 2018-11-03

Would make a 5 star four hour novella, ...

...but despite being an excellent story stretching it to 17.5 hours required adding 13 hours of boredom. I miss the younger John Grisham who wrote great novels. It's almost as if he no longer gives a damn. Micheal Beck's narration is far better than the book.

218 people found this helpful

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  • rockwell
  • 2019-03-07

Review

Terrible story. I never would have read it if I would have known what would happen in the end.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Kelly
  • 2018-10-29

different

this book was really good in the beginning and then it dragged badly. it was a struggle to finish. then at the end when what I had been waiting for entire book, was revealed, it was a disappointment. this is first Grisham book I did not fully enjoy.

128 people found this helpful

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  • Roma
  • 2018-10-24

Time I Won’t Get Back

Well, this may be my last John Grisham book. (I would say “definitely,” but hope springs eternal, so who knows?). His last few books have been lackluster, to put it mildly. I was hoping for a comeback with this one. What a disappointment. About a fourth or more of the book was about the actual horrors of WWII, which Grisham apparently threw in to give the book more....what? Beats me. I skipped that part totally. I don’t buy Grisham books to read about war. I think Grisham is cranking them out now just to make a payday, which I doubt he needs. His first books were so gripping and entertaining. I guess that’s why I’ve stuck with him through the many subsequent letdowns, hoping he’d get his groove back. Apparently that’s not going to happen. So, I think I’m done.

234 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2018-10-24

Depressing!! Wish I never read it!

Horribly depressing long drawn out you could skip the entire war segment and not miss a thing! Hoping for so much more and was so disappointed! Don’t waste a credit!

155 people found this helpful

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  • Scott
  • 2018-10-25

Not his best

The story gets lost during the WWII portion that lasts longer than the actual Bataan death march. The story was predictable and the whole book was a disappointment.

128 people found this helpful

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  • Jonas
  • 2018-11-26

Worst Grisham novel.

I was expecting a court drama but 50% of the novel is historical information about WW2 which is not bad but not what I wanted from a Grisham novel. Read the first 3 hours and the final hour and save yourself 13 hours!

75 people found this helpful

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  • MiraBella
  • 2018-10-24

Absolutely Awful

I'm literally stunned by this book. Wondering what Grisham was trying to accomplish. While trying to get through it, I often thought about his previous books, A Time to Kill, The Firm, and others. Perhaps he's out of words.

92 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-10-25

Not the usual Grisham novel

I can only say that the time it took to listen to this book would have been better spent elsewhere. This is not up to his old “The Firm” standards. Not even the same genre

91 people found this helpful

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  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2019-01-27

Plea against death penalty

John Grisham is and has Always been a master in suspense and unexpected development. The 3 parts of this book are quite 3 different books with a rather astonishing chain of event. If the first part seems somehow a little bit too long, I've been startled by the second part, well documented, a bit of history in the story. You'll become attached to the characters and will smell and taste the cotton farming in mississippi!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2020-01-08

too long

struggled far to long didn't finish it. story could have been told in half the words. not one character had and charisma.