Malcolm Bannister finds himself working with the FBI to clear his name after being wrongfully accused of racketeering when a prominent judge is murdered. Malcolm Bannister never thought his life would become a Lifetime movie. Once a successful African American attorney at a prominent law firm in Virginia, he had a great record of being an honest man who would fight until the end for justice for his clients. With his background as a United State's Marine, Malcolm lived by a code of honor. However, even those with the utmost character can make a fatal error in judgment. Thanks to a bad deal where Malcolm took part in a real estate transaction for a hunting lodge which was being used for political officials to have sex with underage girls, he was accused of assisting during an FBI raid and charged with racketeering. Malcolm plead innocent, explaining the situation, however; his not guilty pleas fell on deaf ears. He was convicted of racketeering and sentenced to ten years in prison.
Now, five years into his sentence, Malcolm has grown into a bitter man. He hates the government for not listening to his side of the story and feels he is wasting away his life in a prison cell. Feeling he was unjustly convicted due to the color his skin, Malcolm is saddened with the fact he must continue to fight for himself beyond the conviction. The worst part of the entire situation was losing his family and his wife filing for divorce. The fact that she would believe the lies and turn on him is almost too much for Malcolm to bear as he truly feels more alone now than ever. While in the common room, Malcolm watches a news story revealing the murder of federal judge, Judge Fawcett and the woman he was having an affair with. Malcolm sees this as a way to get out of the prison as he knows exactly who murdered the judge and his mistresses. However, he knows convincing the FBI and those involved in his case will be easier said than done.
Hoping to negotiate an early release, Malcolm makes contact with the FBI. At first they are apprehensive, unsure if the information he can provide is worth the risk, however Malcolm is able to convince them to get him approved for early release as well as put in the Witness Protection Program. Malcolm explains that the murderer is a man named Quinn Rucker, a well-known drug dealer he had met while in prison. He knows that if Quinn knows he provided the information leading to his indictment he would have him killed. Malcolm continues to explain that Quinn murdered the judge due to a failed bribery where the judge received over $500,000 but screwed over Quinn on his part of the agreement.
The next week, the FBI hunt down Quinn and are able to arrest him. After a grueling interrogation, Quinn finally confesses to the murder and his formally charged with Judge Fawcett's murder. Meanwhile, Malcolm is released into the Witness Protection Program and given the name Max Baldwin. He flees to the outskirts of town in an effort to put some distance between him and Quinn because it is revealed he lied about Quinn being the murderer in an effort to gain a new identity and escape.
When Quinn is released from jail, he gathers the boys of his gang as he is hellbent on revenge and plans to take kill Malcolm for getting him involved with the cops. The FBI want Malcolm as well for providing false information and plan to re-arrest him and send him back to prison with an even heftier sentence. Thankfully, with his new identity, Malcolm flees and decides to hide off the grid for awhile. It is revealed that Malcolm is in fact not a law-abiding citizen at all, and has known all along that Nathan Cooley, a fellow inmate was the one who killed the judge and stole over $7.5 million in gold . The money had come in a bribe deal with a mining company who gave the money to the judge in order to be given permission to mine uranium.
Setting up a fake film company under the name Skelter Films after moving to Jamaica, Malcolm uses his new identity to reach out to Nathan as someone looking to to create a documentary about the drug corruption within the United State's FBI. Nathan is very interested in being featured and thinking Malcolm is Max agrees to meet him for an interview. When Nathan arrives he invites Malcolm onto his private jet for a discussion. During this time Malcolm is able to gain access to where the money he stole is kept. When he is not looking, Malcolm slips Nathan drugs in his cocktail which take effect and knock him out cold. While passed out, Malcolm hides a gun and bags of cocaine in his baggage. After landing he takes off to get the money.
Back in the states, Quinn is relieved to have the charges dropped against him and phones Malcolm explaining their planned worked all along. The big reveal being they had been working together since the very beginning with plans to steal the money from Nathan. With the money in hand, Malcolm negotiates for immunity and reveals Nathan to be the real killer who is now stuck in a Jamaican prison. The FBI grant the immunity, not knowing of the corrupt plan Malcolm has put in place.
Malcolm tells Quinn to pack up his family and to meet him in Antigua. Together, Quinn and Malcolm are now millionaires, leaving Malcolm with the satisfaction of finally getting back at the system that destroyed his life to begin with yet in the end left him much better off.
Best part of story, including ending:
I don't like mysteries where you already know who the murderer is and have to watch the police run around like chickens with their heads cut off while you know the truth. However, this novel had some great twists and turns that made it all worthwhile in the end, specifically the reveal that Malcolm has been playing them the entire time in an effort to gain his freedom and stick it to the government.
Best scene in story:
I loved the scene where Malcolm drugs Nathan and sets him up so he can steal the gold. It really reveals that Malcolm is out for revenge and willing to do whatever it takes to make up for the past five years of his life being destroyed.
Opinion about the main character:
I loved that Malcolm is an anti-hero. He wants justice for being racially profiled and sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. In the end he ends up a millionaire after playing the FBI like a fiddle.
Ron Clement on 12/11/2016 7:03:53 PM says: It was never clear to me how Bannister discovered that Cooley had killed the judge and stolen the gold. Did Bannister mention this discussion between him and Cooley somewhere in the book?