Book review: ‘The Reckoning’ by John Grisham

By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton

“The Reckoning” starts in the middle of the story, goes to the beginning, and then moves to the conclusion. The actual plot is established in the middle of the story so that organization is effective.

Pete Banning is a local war hero, a prisoner of war who escaped and stayed to fight with guerrillas in Manila against the Japanese invaders. A reservist officer, he left a wife, two children, a farm, and a number of Negroes behind when he was called up for the Second World War.

After being reported missing in action and not being heard from for two years, Pete returned home gravely wounded. Though his legs continue in considerable pain, he resumes his role as a large cotton farmer and husband. The teen children note that all is not the same, however, as the parents bicker often, something that never used to happen. This culminates in their mother suddenly having a nervous breakdown and being sent to a nursing home for the mentally ill. For reasons they don’t understand, the children are not allowed to see her.

When the children, Joel and Stella, are away at college, Pete Manning decides he must take action regardless of the consequences. He knows that the consequences are more than likely death. And even if it isn’t, it will be hard for the family, not only on his children, but also on his sister, who has adjoining property, and very possibly his wife. He believes that Joel and Stella are intelligent enough to handle it and he feels the family property will see them through financially.

Pete Manning drives his pickup to town, goes in to see the Methodist minister, Dexter Bell, his minister, and without explanation, shoots him. Making no effort to hide, he calmly walks out, goes home, and waits. The sheriff comes and he is arrested. The community is dumbfounded, Pete is a leading citizen whom everyone liked and respected. Dexter Bell was a quality minister who everyone liked. Why? That question was only to grow on everyone’s mind as Pete offered no explanation, not even to his friend and defense lawyer.

With nothing to work with, the defense fought a series of delaying efforts, but to no avail. Pete’s sister, Florry, did her best to ease Pete’s incarceration while he was awaiting the end. His children, Joel and Stella, did their best to make sense of something that didn’t make sense, and they worried. The situation was made all the worse by the largely unexplained absence of their mother. And in the end, Pete was hanged.

John Wilbanks had long been the Bannon lawyer. He had tried his best to save Pete. Without any help from Pete, the effort proved futile. Now he warned Joel and Stella that they had better be prepared to be sued. There would surely be an effort to acquire the valuable Bannon land. There would be at least a wrongful death suit for sure.

“The Reckoning’ may not end the way you think it should, but maybe ….

Addendum: Barack Obama has written a memoir talking about himself and his political career through his first term as president. Titled “A Promised Land,” it details many decisions made and discusses the challenges of the presidency. It’s a good read for a political junkie.

Comments are closed.

  • Wilton Wood Turtle Days suspended

    8 hours ago
    by

    The annual celebration sponsored by Wilton Wood Turtle Days, Inc., has been suspended for 2021.


    ‘Rustic Romance’ is theme of Royall prom

    8 hours ago
    by

    Royall High School will host a prom Saturday, April 24, with “Rustic Romance” as its theme.


    Book review: ‘News of the World’ by Paulette Jiles

    8 hours ago
    by

    Seventy-one-year-old Captain Jeffrey Kyle Kidd read the news. Not as you might do or even as Walter Cronkite did.


    Vernon County National Night Out set for Aug. 3

    April 9th, 2021
    by

    The Emergency Responders of Vernon County would like to announce the second annual Vernon County National Night Out event. The date is set for Tuesday, Aug. 3, from 4–8 p.m. at the Vernon County Fairgrounds


    Monroe County’s highway weight restrictions end April 12

    April 9th, 2021
    by

    Seasonal weight restrictions placed upon Monroe County highways will be removed effective Monday, April 12.


  • Book review: ‘Sycamore Row’ by John Grisham

    April 8th, 2021
    by

    Few people in Ford County, Miss., had ever heard of Seth Hubbard, at least by name, when attorney Jake Brigance received the letter and handwritten will in the mail on a Monday morning.


    Brookwood students named to honor roll

    April 8th, 2021
    by

    The following Brookwood Junior/Senior High School students were named to the third-quarter honor roll.


    Election results for April 6

    April 6th, 2021
    by

    The following are the results of the local contested races.


    Correction: Town of Ridgeville sample ballot

    April 1st, 2021
    by

    An incorrect sample ballot for the Town of Ridgeville April 6 election appeared in the April 1 issue of the County Line.


    Meet the candidates: Local races will be on the ballot at April 6 election

    March 31st, 2021
    by

    In early March, the County Line sent questionnaires to candidates for the Norwalk, Kendall, Ontario and Wilton village boards and the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District and the Royall School District boards.


    Book review: ‘Of Human Bondage’ by W. Somerset Maugham

    March 31st, 2021
    by

    Philip Carey was born with a club foot. That fact — that handicap — colored his every perception.


  • Archives