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The Reckoning

Narrated by: Michael Beck
Length: 17 hrs and 36 mins
4 out of 5 stars (118 ratings)
Non-member price: $37.98
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Publisher's Summary

The electrifying new thriller from internationally best-selling author John Grisham.

John Grisham returns to Clanton, Mississippi, to tell the story of an unthinkable murder, the bizarre trial that followed it and its profound and lasting effect on the people of Ford County.

Pete Banning was Clanton's favourite son, a returning war hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbour and a faithful member of the Methodist Church. Then one cool October morning in 1946, he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed the Reverend Dexter Bell.

As if the murder wasn't shocking enough, it was even more baffling that Pete's only statement about it - to the sheriff, to his defense attorney, to the judge, to his family and friends and to the people of Clanton - was 'I have nothing to say'.

And so the murder of the esteemed Reverend Bell became the most mysterious and unforgettable crime Ford County had ever known. 

©2018 Belfry Holdings, Inc (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Scintillating storytelling." (The Sunday Times)

"A buoyant, mischievous thriller... This reliable best-selling author is feeling real pleasure, and not just obligation, in delivering his work." (New York Times)

"A wild, hard-to-put-down romp." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Kay
  • 02-11-2018

Why bother?

I expected a thriller. I got a history of the Asia pacific war. Much too long. Bit of race complexity but I gave up. Listened to last chapter. All very expected. Dull

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

The most depressing book written by John

Depressing from beginning to end. Wish I hadn’t sated my time reading this book by a normally brilliant author

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story - very well narrated

Enjoyed listening to the narrator. The most engaging section of the story was the part set in the Philippines during WWII. Brilliant writing. Overall a very entertaining read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Serious letdown

one of the worst Grisham books I have read. The plot is banal, too long, studded with mindboggling unnecessary detail and biased presentation.
Time wasted.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!

Loved this book. Some of JG books are a bit meh, but this one is highly recommended. Was kept guessing till the end. The characters were excellent and I learnt so much about American/Phillipino history that I didn’t know. Really great story. A must read. Also loved the narrator and the Deep South accent. 👍

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Great listening such detail in the war coverage

How forgiveness is so important , it makes for a life reflection. I feel blessed to have such a wonderful family around me. I did enjoy this book very much , I feel it was a little different from what John Grisham writes

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Just WOW

This is one of the best written books I have listened to/read. The narrator does an amazing job. I loved it that much I am purchasing the paperback version

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great

great story line easy listening good reading and would recommend it to friends had trouble finding further words

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Best Grisham book in years.

A good read which was perhaps let down by a somewhat predictable end. Nevertheless I enjoyed the book and found it easily held my attention.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Unfulfilling story that rambles

Was a struggle to finish. Rambled on with too many storylines unfinished. One of Grishams worst efforts.

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  • John
  • 09-03-2019

Never again

I had previously said I wouldn't buy another Grisham novel as I thought he was just going through the motions. I was right. Bear in mind I enjoyed most of his earlier books.

This would be one of the worst books I have listened to in a long long time.

The story is extremely slow moving and laboured. I wasn't a huge fan of the reader but they probably did their best.

Do not buy. I won't buy another Grisham. Ever.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-02-2019

Great narrator, terribly drawn out story

The book is three parts which could be written in three pages. Long and drawn out and with a predictable conclusion containing only a slight twist.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Seth
  • 19-02-2019

This book frustrates me right to the end.

Just get it out and say it you stupid people. Then when the truth finally come out... and I mean finally... it was so disappointing and screwed up I just wanted to stop the book. I feel sad and hurt for going through this and having that ending. I’ve read every other book John has and this I would have gladly gone without this one. I wanted to scream at these stupid stubborn people Just fkn say it god damn it.. yet no... I need a drink I’m not ok... I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jaydee
  • 09-12-2018

My first Audible book

The Reckoning was very different to what I am used to by Mr Grisham. It was original. However, I did find the book bit long winded and I got bored by it often.

That said it is marginally better than 3 stars but worse than 4 stars. 67% would be fair in my view.

Mr Beck did a good job narrating.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 24-10-2018

Grisham Grinds to a Halt!

John Grisham has once again struck out for something a bit different even though he has based it on familiar territory, Southern States, a legal system that becomes a character in its own right and the oft-troubled issue of race relations. It's a split story starting with the promised murder without a cause by war hero Pete Banning and the subsequent trial. Right in Grisham's back yard I think it's fair to say..

Then, we step back in time and follow Banning's experiences during the second world war where he was one of the poor unfortunates caught up in the infamous Bataan Death March, one of the great cruelties of that conflict.

Finally we're back to the main story where the aftermath of Banner's trial is dealt with as the family's ancestral home comes under threat and Banner's children try to answer the book's central mystery: Why did a father and a war hero gun down a seemingly innocent preacher and then refuse to give a reason in his defence?

What's good about this book is Grisham's usual ability to create a sense of place, build strong characters and of course make a twisted legal system into a character all of its own. Additionally the narration by Michael Beck is as good as it has been on previous novels where the two have collaborated.

The not so great is possibly the structure of the book. The opening part is genuinely compelling but rather than integrate the war story interspersed with it they are two very different and separate chunks. The reader is taken from Sycamore Row to something akin to "Band of Brothers" in a heartbeat and that wartime part feels like a different book. For a long time it's pretty grim with beheadings, torture and much disease thrown into the mix. The climax which is kept right to the very end, doesn't really amaze or surprise which having listened through 17 hours I think it is reasonable to expect.

So, has Grisham written in a more literary fashion? Is it more clever than his standard legal thrillers? That probably requires cleverer people than me to answer. What i can say is that I think it lacked the real cleverness, tension and killer twists that Grisham has so often provided in the past leaving me feeling fairly ambivalent towards it.

30 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Neen Machine
  • 19-12-2018

Love John Grisham but...

...At the risk of being hated, found the entire middle section (one third) completely irrelevant to the story and added nothing to the big reveal.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lotta
  • 29-11-2018

first Grisham book i did not like!

the story line was just not good! a book needs to have people you can connect to and like and a story line you enjoy - this book had neither!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 28-11-2018

Good story with pitiful ending

Great narration and a promising story but so so weak at the end... It's a who dunnit where you think you know done it and the attempt at a twist at the end is lacking, so dissatisfied with this!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • r
  • 28-11-2018

The twist isn’t worth the time spent listening

Took me a lot longer than normal to get through this book but stayed with it hoping for a good ending. Predictable throughout until the very end which ultimately wasn’t very shocking. Book returned

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • eric
  • 28-10-2018

Grisham at his worst

At best you could say this was a short story dragged out into a novel. There was little plot and far too much irrelevant detail put in to fill the time. BIg mistake to pick the book based on the author, who I have enjoyed previously.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Hans
  • 12-02-2019

Terrible story well narrated

This story starts promising but ends terribly. It seems the writer didn't finish the story himself or got fed up with it and started rushing it. In the beginning the story draws attention, makes you want to hear more. However, half way, things change, mostly in style. It suddenly lacks detail and it feels as if you rush to an ending. That ending comes very sudden, to my feeling the story hasn't finished yet, but there is no more. Very, very disappointing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 08-02-2019

real drag, very grim and unrewarding.

Despite being many hours into this book I couldn't face seeing it through to the end. Brought me zero joy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jolyon
  • 17-01-2019

Grisham at his bedt

a well crafted tragedy. you find yourself rooting for a number of characters desperate to find out their story and genuinely caring about the outcome. if you like John grisham style then this is thoroughly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-01-2019

Good story, well read.

A good story & an ending I didn’t expect. I feel that too much of the book dwelled on the lead characters experiences in the war. I skipped through a lot of this & got back to the real story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful