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The Reckoning by John Grisham

The Reckoning

“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

About the Book

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • John Grisham's most powerful, surprising, and suspenseful thriller yet • “A murder mystery, a courtroom drama, a family saga.” —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.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

On a cold morning in early October of 1946, Pete Banning awoke before sunrise and had no thoughts of going back to sleep. For a long time he lay in the center of his bed, stared at the dark ceiling, and asked himself for the thousandth time if he had the courage. Finally, as the first trace of dawn peeked through a window, he accepted the solemn reality that it was time for the killing. The need for it had become so overwhelming that he could not continue with his daily routines. He could not remain the man he was until the deed was done. Its planning was simple, yet difficult to imagine. Its aftershocks would rattle on for decades and change the lives of those he loved and many of those he didn’t. Its notoriety would create a legend, though he certainly wanted no fame. Indeed, as was his nature, he wished to avoid the attention, but that would not be possible. He had no choice. The truth had slowly been revealed, and once he had the full grasp of it, the killing became as inevitable as the sunrise.

He dressed slowly, as always, his war‑wounded legs stiff and painful...

Excerpted from The Reckoning by John Grisham. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Praise

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

“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 bestselling 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, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

“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 bestselling author of The Soul of America

“When a master of storytelling and suspense takes on one of the most wrenching stories in history, the result is a book that will break your heart, set your blood pumping and your mind racing, and leave you gasping for breath by the final page. I’m still trying to recover from The Reckoning.” –Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author of The River of Doubt and Destiny of the Republic

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