John Grisham’s shocking new book ‘The Reckoning’ takes him far beyond thrillers

SHARE John Grisham’s shocking new book ‘The Reckoning’ takes him far beyond thrillers

John Grisham’s “The Reckoning” and Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” again hold the No. 1 spots on the Publishers Weekly bestsellers lists for hardcover fiction and hardcover nonfiction. | Provided photo

Why would a World War II hero, a prominent citizen inthe small town of Clanton, Mississippi, walk in to his church in 1946 and coldly pump three bullets into the popular Methodist minister, a family friend?

That’s the question drivingJohn Grisham’s new novel “The Reckoning” (Doubleday, $29.95).

Is murder ever justified?

I couldn’t help thinking of Harper Lee’s great American novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” while reading “The Reckoning.”

Not that Grisham was trying to write a literary classic, but “The Reckoning” is deeper, more ambitious than his usual legal thrillers. The pacing is deliberate, at times sleepy, and the writing matter-of-fact. But have no doubt: He knows how to spin a yarn.

“The Reckoning” envelopes itself in Southern tropes: madness (a la Tennessee Williams), segregation, miscegenation. Throw in the Bataan Death March,and there’s something for most fiction (and history) lovers.

A murder mystery, a courtroom drama, a family saga, a coming-of-age story, a war narrative,a period piece.“The Reckoning” is Grisham’s argumentthat he’s more than a thriller writer.

To read more from USA Today, click here.

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