Saturday, 21 September 2019

The Reckoning by John Grisham

The Reckoning is the first John Grisham book I have read in a while.  It was unusually structured but compulsively readable.

It is set in small town Mississippi just after the war.  The main character Pete Banning is a man of few words, a war hero and a farmer. 

The book takes place in three parts, The Killing, The Boneyard and The Reckoning.  The first and third part are taut and very interesting.

The second part was a bit gut wrenching.  It dealt with the guerrilla war in the Philippines after the Americans had surrendered.  From the way it was written I would say that Grisham doesn't have much time for General McArthur – or for the then Japanese military who are depicted as savage and cruel.

While the state of race relations at that time was horrific to modern eyes, Grisham does a good job of nuancing it.  His characters are not all bad or good  and the book is better for it.

I did find Pete Banning's daughter a bit anachronistic – she was very independent minded, went to college and was set on a career – all quite unusual for the times.

It is not your run of the mill John Grisham.  I could have wished for less war but then maybe it is good to remind ourselves of what the soldiers really faced – and that atrocities can be committed by otherwise ordinary people.


  1. I haven't read those. I didn't even realize he had written them. I used to read everything by him. Guess I have been slack. I was reading so many books then I went up agianst a few that were not good for me. Too much evil and blood and gore. Without a point. I have returned to Rosamund Pilcher in Coming Home. It's a beautiful book set in Scotland - which is the writer's home. Winter Solstice was her last book. She is up in years now and no longer writes.....but I have read every word she has written and loved them all.

  2. I havent read a Grisham in quite a while. This one sounds good too.

  3. This does sound sort of different for Grisham. It's been ages since I read one of this novels, though. Maybe it's time...


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