Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Confession: A Book Review

John Grisham has written another best seller in The Confession. It is exactly the kind of taut, suspense-filled legal thriller we expect from him.

The Confession begins when Kansas Lutheran minister Keith Schroeder counsels newly released prisoner, Travis Boyette, in his church office and learns that Boyette is very likely the killer of a young cheerleader who vanished some 15 years ago. Worse, Donte Drumm, a young black man, is due to be excuted by the state of Texas within a couple of days for the crime.

Boyette has a brain tumor which he says will kill him within a year, and he sort of, maybe, might like to clear his conscience and confess to the crime. Moreover, he can prove what he says because he knows where the body is buried, and he is wearing the dead girl’s high school ring on a chain around his neck.

In the meantime, we meet all the various players in the drama: The driven defense lawyer who is fighting a losing battle to get a stay of execution for Donte Drumm, Donte’s strong mother and siblings, the former friend of Donte’s who lied on the witness stand, the drama-queen mother of the dead girl who is milking the media circus for all it’s worth, and assorted other people representing the state of Texas who are convinced Donte is guilty and don’t want another stay of execution.

Reverend Shroeder decides his duty in the matter is to break the law by driving Travis Boyette out of state to Slone, Texas, to confess to the crime and hopefully stop the execution of an innocent man. But Boyette disappears, the clock is ticking down for Donte Drumm, and the State of Texas manifests a deep dislike of being proven wrong in the conviction of Donte Drumm, especially when the town of Slone explodes with racial violence.

The novel is tense and suspenseful, with several nice twists, and Grisham does an excellent job of pointing out the dilemma inherent in the death penalty. What is really frightening is the possibility that a scenario similar to the one depicted by Grisham could happen, or may have already happened.

Assessment: John Grisham’s The Confession is an excellent way to spend a couple of evenings.


Molly Noble Bull said...

You hooked me, Katy. This book sounds like a must read. Thanks for telling us about this book.

Latayne C Scott said...

This review and others on your site are well written and helpful. Thank you so much!

Latayne C Scott

Teresa Slack said...

Grisham has gotten some grief in recent years for not writing the stories he was known for. This one sounds like vintage Grisham. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Yes, this does sound like vintage John Grisham. I haven't read a Grisham book in, maybe, 12 or 13 years? This does sound like a plot that reminds me of his earlier work. Thanks for sharing.