Book Review: The Judge’s List


Photo Credit: John Grisham

What would bring me out of retirement? John Grisham‘s sequel to The Whistler: The Judge’s List.

Judge Ross Bannick was a patient stalker with a fondness for double clove hitch knots ~ his calling card ~ which he used to murder people who crossed or humiliated him: A scout master. A law professor. A couple of women. A painting contractor. A reporter. A law firm managing partner.

Bryan Burke, a retired law professor, was one of Judge Bannick’s early victims. His daughter Jeri Crosby was obsessed with holding the judge accountable. To this end, she contacted Lacy Stoltz at the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct with evidence of cold murder cases she had collected over the decades. Lacy was beyond skeptical and wary. She had zero desire to end up on the judge’s list. But, Jeri’s extensive research linking the victims to the judge was hard to ignore.

John Grisham

His killing had gone as perfectly as planned.  There was not one shred of remorse, not even a twinge of pity as he stepped back and looked at the body of Thad Leawood [a scoutmaster, his first victim].  It was euphoric, actually, and filled him with an indescribable sense or power, control, and ~ the best ~ revenge.  From that moment on, he knew he would never stop.

The judge was an early adapter of spyware and hacker toys. He enjoyed drinking martinis with his fellow judges. He was single with a long string of women in his life. A profiler described him:

Narcissistic, split personality, able to live in one world as a respected, productive member of society while spending his off-hours plotting the next kill.  It’ll be hard to nail this guy.

I couldn’t put the book down because Grisham had so precisely captured the stalking judge in my own life except that he didn’t murder people on his list with a double clove hitch knot.  His modus operandi is to murder their careers and spirits ~ to deprive them of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  And, he’s done it with impunity for decades.

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