The Racketeer is a legal thriller novel written by John Grisham that was released on October 23, 2012 by Doubleday with an initial printing of 1.5 million copies. It was one of the best selling books of 2012 and spent several weeks atop various best seller lists. Malcolm Bannister is an African American attorney in a small-town Virginia law firm. A real estate transaction which he undertook in good faith turns out to have involved the purchase of a secluded hunting lodge where a crooked Capitol Hill lobbyist invited corrupt Congressmen for debaucherous orgies with underage girls. After being caught up in a large FBI sweep, Bannister is tried and convicted of racketeering despite his protestations of innocence. The story begins with Bannister halfway through his ten-year prison term; he has since been disbarred, divorced by his wife, lost contact with his son and is nursing a bitter grudge against the federal government and the FBI.
After hearing of the brutal murders of federal judge Raymond Fawcett and his mistress, Bannister makes a deal with the FBI to give them the name of the killer, in exchange for his release and being put into the Witness Protection Program, supposedly to protect him from the killer's associates. He informs them that Quinn Rucker, a drug dealer he met in prison, had vowed to escape and murder Fawcett as revenge for a failed bribery attempt in which the judge took $500,000 but didn't follow through on his end of the deal. Acting on information from Bannister, the FBI arrest Quinn and, despite having no evidence against him, manipulate him into confessing to the murder using legal interrogation tactics. Following the indictment, Quinn claims to have been unlawfully coerced into the confession.