The Racketeer: What a Tub of Icecream is to Literature

I packed for the cottage: Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye, a collection of the best of Alice Munro, and the only Margaret Laurence novel I’ve never read, The Fire Dwellers. I was set with the triumvirate of excellent Canadian authors (who also happen to be white ladies). I imagined sitting on the dock taking in the changing leaves and lapping lake while absorbing some of the best of Canadian literature. Instead I got to the cottage, put out all the books on the coffee table and immediately… picked up the copy of John Grishman’s The Racketeer from the cottage bookshelf. Turns out what I really wanted was to eat a tub of mental icecream. And I did. And I felt appropriately sick after, so there you go. I seem to recall C. using a similar description in her guest post, so thanks C. for making me think of novels as tasty treats!

Yep. I remember a time when I read *all* of John Grishman’s novels: The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Other One You Read. And then I realized a) all of these novels are more or less the same and b) all of these novels are terrible But! They do work like icecream in that they go down easy.

This one (in case you’re aching for analysis) is terrible for lots of reasons: ludicriously one dimensional characters (particularly the (only) woman), unbelievable – to the point of head shaking – plot and an absolute commitment to not being about anything (other than the value of wealth). What makes it readable – and voraciously so – is the sugar of Another Unbelievable Plot Turn and Another Description of a Leather Attache Case Filled With Money. There are more pages devoted to describing the interior of houses and the quality of fabric than the personality or motivations of all the characters combined.

And I didn’t even enjoy it! I was sort of resigned to reading it once I’d started. I’ll claim that I began as a bit of a lark, a ha ha look at me slumming it with Grisham, and S. found it funny. But then I was fifty pages in and I just… couldn’t stop. So don’t make my mistake. Beware the chunky cover and the promise of a page turner. We here at Literary Vice do not condone junk reads. Just icecream.


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Filed under Bestseller, Book I'll Forget I Read, Fiction

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