Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book Review: The Confession by John Grisham

I have not read all of John Grisham's books, but I have read all the ones that are about law and lawyers. I didn't want to read the ones that had football in them, and I started A Painted House, but couldn't finish. The other two that I have read are Skipping Christmas (FUNNY!), and The Innocent Man (non-fiction). So I consider myself a fan of Grisham even though I have bypassed a few. I was excited to hear about a new one, especially when I read the synopsis:

The Confession: A Novel"An innocent man is about to be executed.

Only a guilty man can save him.

For every innocent man sent to prison, there is a guilty one left on the outside. He doesn’t understand how the police and prosecutors got the wrong man, and he certainly doesn’t care. He just can’t believe his good luck. Time passes and he realizes that the mistake will not be corrected: the authorities believe in their case and are determined to get a conviction. He may even watch the trial of the person wrongly accused of his crime. He is relieved when the verdict is guilty. He laughs when the police and prosecutors congratulate themselves. He is content to allow an innocent person to go to prison, to serve hard time, even to be executed.

Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.

Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess.

But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man?"

And, yes, it was as good of a plot as it sounds. The only thing I have against the book is the arguments against the death penaly found throughout the book and almost spoiling an interesting and entertaining plot. I say "almost", because in spite of himself, Mr. Grisham delivers yet another intriguing novel about our not-so-perfect legal system and predjudicial society. But, I felt like I was reading The Innocent Man all over again.

I used to live just "down the road" from the area used as the book's setting and I can say he hit the nail on the head when describing that area and its people. I was reminded several times when reading this book about my years spent in good ol' East Texas.

I would recommend this book to all Grisham fans (and non-Grisham fans who might like a good legal novel) providing you can read around the sermonettes and enjoy the story.

I give The Confession 4 out of 5 stars.

Here is the TV spot for The Confession:

And if you want to see Mr. Grisham talk about his book, go here to see an interview by Borders.

(I checked this one out of the library, so no need to bother the FTC this time!)


Cindy Swanson said...

Judylynn, it's been a while since I've read a Grisham book (I do believe Innocent Man was the last one I read), and I've been wanting to read this book...I saw it at the airport and would have bought it had it been in paperback.

Your review whets my appetite to read it even more!

Hope you'll check out my review of Dean Koontz' "Lightning." My little book blog is really struggling for readers!


the Ink Slinger said...

Excellent review!

I've never read anything by Gresham, but I heard that The Confession was a pretty good read. I'll have to check it out.

Seth said...

I, too, was somewhat turned off by the unbalanced death penalty arguments, but still can't help recommending the book, because it's a great read.

BTW, I reviewed it a bit last week if you're interested.