The Reckoning

The Reckoning

Book - 2018
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Pete Banning was Clanton's favorite son, a returning war hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbor, 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.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385544153
0385544154
Branch Call Number: FICTION Grisham
Characteristics: 420 pages ; 25 cm

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c
ChickadeeGirl
Sep 27, 2020

Decorated war vet and pillar of the community up and shoots a preacher in cold blood for no apparent reason.

c
ch1an2
Apr 17, 2020

Surprised at the low rating this book received. I found it an excellent read, granted a bit depressive at times. But that was the reality at that time. I'd rather read stories dealing with ethics, justice ( poetic or not), intriguing etc. and not fairy tale endings just for the feeling of "feeling good". The title fits the content. There was a balance in the ending.

Will reread it some time.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Mar 30, 2020

The Reckoning is a book by famous author John Grisham. It takes place in the 1940s and revolves around a war hero, Pete Banning. After killing the local pastor Pete says nothing and leaves everyone wondering why he did it. The book is a real nail biter and really comes down to the last few pages. The book was interesting for me as I learned more about the 1940s and the Vietnam war. At times the book was a bit slow and I feel like some parts could have been left out. Overall the ending was satisfying and it was a pretty good read. I would rate The Reckoning a 4/5.
@Nessie of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

w
workerbee
Mar 10, 2020

The first part of The Reckoning is very good, the Grisham I loved in his early novels. The second part is a detailed description of World War Two in the Philippines. It's clear that Grisham did a massive amount of research and he wanted to use every last bit of it. I wanted to get back to the Mississippi story. I hung on for the end and was disappointed in the grim futility of the final chapters. This is a book where nothing good happens to anybody. I wish I had not read it for it left me depressed.

d
deborahlgoldberg
Feb 22, 2020

This book was so promising in the beginning. The first section was wonderfully written. Unfortunately the rest of the book disappointed and the ending left me angry that I had wasted my time.

s
stellamd
Feb 21, 2020

Goes into great detail re life on the cotton plantation in Mississippi and the interactions of the family and their workers. More interesting to me was the saga of the protagonist's ordeal as a POW in the Philippines during WWII. I knew very little of the history of the Japanese invasion and the barbaric treatment of the native population and the Philippine army and their allies. The courtroom case was almost an afterthought.

s
shirleymaich
Feb 12, 2020

I have read this book and the last 12 or so comments and want to disagree. I found the book long and maybe with too many details, but it opened my mind about the Philippines and my heart, What atrocious conditions these men endured for our freedom. It's been two weeks since I finished the book and have since searched the Internet for Bataan and find horror stories. Thank you John for giving us this book. I will always remember your contribution.

b
bookie66
Jan 31, 2020

I agree with everyone who was disappointed. Grisham is such a lovely writer..... I read and read and read.....waiting for the shocking ending...….I waded thru unnecessary details of war and capture which really had nothing to do with anything. Then when the "reason" was finally revealed in the final pages......I felt like I'd been tricked.....nothing but nothing in the
previous pages could have led to this. Felt like this was a "formula" book with ideas taken from a shelf willy nilly and stuck together in order to get paid. Faithful readers should be
treated better than this.

e
Eil_1
Jan 29, 2020

A disappointing novel. I think it would be a better war story rather than mix it up with a weak murder mystery and the reason(s) that caused Pete to do so. Hopefully, his next novel will have more meat to it. I wouldn't recommend this Grisham book.

j
jc1939
Jan 09, 2020

This book is exactly why one should never - NEVER - purchase a nonfiction book but should only check them out of the library. I only read the first part and had to push myself to do that. Pete, the main character, is obviously mentally ill and suicidal. No wonder his wife is in an insane institution. All the characters in the book are flat and uninteresting. I've no idea how the book ends nor do I care to know. What a waste of time.

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jimg2000
Mar 07, 2019

From Author’s Note:
I heard the story of two prominent men living in a small town in Mississippi in the 1930s. One killed the other for no discernible reason, and he never offered a clue as to his motive. Once convicted and facing death by hanging, he turned down an offer from the governor to have his death sentence commuted if only he would divulge a motive. He refused and was hanged the next day on the courthouse lawn while the governor, who’d never witnessed a hanging, watched from the front row.

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2019

From Author’s Note:
Dozens if not hundreds of books have been written about the Bataan Death March. The ones I found and read are all fascinating. The suffering and heroism of those soldiers is difficult to imagine, then or now, some seventy-five years later.
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The Bannings were farmers and landowners, but they were workers, not gentrified planters with decadent lives made possible by the sweat of others.
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To those who knew them, the Bannings were thought to be cold and distant, devoid of warmth and rarely emotional. This was true but not intentional; they had simply been raised that way.

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2019

He was forty-three, and, at least in her opinion, looked older. His thick dark hair was graying above his ears, and long wrinkles were forming across his forehead. The dashing young soldier who’d gone off to war was aging too fast.
===
He opened the door to his new 1946 Ford pickup, and Mack jumped onto the passenger’s side of the bench seat. Mack rarely missed a ride to town and today would be no different, at least for the dog.
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“I’ve killed a lot of men, Preacher, all brave soldiers on the field. You’re the first coward.”
===
Normally, in the Methodist denomination, a minister lasted only two years in one church, sometimes three, before being reassigned. Reverend Bell had been in Clanton for five years and knew it was only a matter of time before he was called to move on.

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2019

A popular preacher murdered in cold blood by the town’s favorite son, a legendary war hero. There had to be a damned good reason for it, and it was only a matter of time before the truth spilled out.
===

In 1936, a couple of sharecroppers went to war over a strip of worthless farmland. The one with the better aim prevailed, claimed self - defense at trial, and walked home. Two years later, a black boy was lynched near the settlement of Box Hill, where he allegedly said something fresh to a white woman. In 1938, though, lynching was not considered murder or a crime of any sort anywhere in the South, especially Mississippi. However, a wrong word to a white woman could be punishable by death.

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2019

Joel knew at a young age that his father’s suits and his mother’s dresses were a bit nicer than the average Methodist’s, and their cars and trucks were always newer, and they talked of finishing college and not just high school. He realized a lot as a child, but because he was a Banning he was also taught humility and the virtue of saying as little as possible.
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Jackie was not in the mood to do much explaining, but she made it clear to her parents that she was struggling with her faith and needed time to reexamine her beliefs. Privately, she was asking the obvious question: Her husband, a devout servant and follower of Christ, was reading his Bible and preparing his sermon, at church, when he was murdered. Why couldn’t God protect him, of all people? Upon deeper reflection, this often led to the more troubling question, one she never asked aloud: Is there really a God?

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2019

Joel, at the age of twenty, could not remember a single instance when he had disobeyed his father. With age, he had learned to respectfully disagree with him, but he would never disobey him.
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…Dexter Bell was a popular preacher with a large congregation, and there are eight other Methodist churches in this county. In numbers, it’s the second-largest denomination behind the Baptists, which present another problem. Baptists and Methodists are first cousins, Pete, and they often stick together on tough issues. Politics, whiskey, school boards. You can always count on those two clans to march to the same drum.”
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Twelve white men. Four Baptists; two Methodists; two Pentecostals; one Presbyterian; one Church of Christ. And two who claimed no church membership and were likely headed straight to hell.

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2019

Between 1818 and 1940, the state hanged eight hundred people, 80 percent of whom were black. Those, of course, were the judicial hangings for rapists and murderers who had been processed through the courts. During that same period of time, approximately six hundred black men were lynched by mobs operating outside the legal system and thoroughly immune from any of its repercussions.
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He smiled and seemed warm and thoroughly honored to be there doing what he was doing, defending a fine man who had defended our country. He lobbed a few questions at the panel as a whole, then he zeroed in on a couple of Methodists, but for the most part his comments were designed not to uncover some hidden bias, but rather to convey warmth, trust, and likability.

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2019

Social life was dictated by the church. In the case of the Bannings, of course, it was the Methodist church, the second largest in Clanton. Pete insisted that they attend faithfully, and Liza fell into the routine. She had been raised as a lukewarm Episcopalian, of which there were none—devout or otherwise—to be found in Clanton. At first, she was a bit turned off by the narrowness of Methodist teachings, but soon understood that things could be worse. The county was full of other, more strident strains of Christianity—Baptists, Pentecostals, and Churches of Christ—hard-core believers even more fundamental than the Methodists. Only the Presbyterians seemed slightly less dogged. If there was a solitary Catholic in town he kept it quiet. The nearest Jew was in Memphis.

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2019

But there was always another upcoming revival. The Methodists had two each year, the Baptists three, and the Pentecostals seemed to be in a constant state of frenzied renewal. At least twice a year some itinerant street preacher threw up a big top beside the feed store near the square and raged every night through his loudspeakers. It was not at all uncommon for one church to “visit” another church when a hotshot preacher was in town. Every denomination worshipped for at least two hours on Sunday morning. Others came back for more on Sunday evening. (These were the white churches; the black ones kept it going all day and into the night.) Wednesday night prayer meetings were common. Add in all the revivals, religious holiday services, vacation Bible schools in the summer, funerals, weddings, anniversaries, and baptisms, and at times Liza felt exhausted from her church work.

j
jimg2000
Mar 07, 2019

Rusconi testified that at least ten thousand U.S. and Philippine soldiers died during the march. They died from starvation, dehydration, exhaustion, sunstroke, and executions by bullets, beatings, bayonetings, and beheadings. Those who survived were packed into wretched death camps where survival was even more challenging than it had been on the death march. The officers attempted to organize various ways to record the names of the dead, and during the late spring and early summer of 1942 lists of casualties began to filter into Rusconi’s office in Manila. On May 19 the family of Pete Banning was officially notified that he had been captured, was missing, and was presumed dead.

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sa124960
Dec 01, 2018

sa124960 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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