The Confession was chosen by my book club as a our January Literary Selection. With this being my first John Grisham novel, I did not know what to expect, but now I see why his books are so popular.
The Confession centers around Travis Boyette, a career criminal who seeks out a Kansas preacher to help him stop a scheduled Texas execution. Why does he want to stop the execution? Because he is the criminal behind the act of violence that sent Donte Drumm to death row ten years ago.
Add to the scenario a strictly consistent death penalty state, corrupt lawyers and government officials, race riots, and Keith Schroeder, who has no idea why he was chosen by Boyette, but can’t ignore the issue because of his moral background, and you have a suspenseful thriller that was too hard to put down. From the first few chapters, I was on the edge of my seat, heart racing, praying for an outcome that would help me have faith in the justice system.
It is obvious from the start that Grisham is passionate about the death penalty, and this book was solely written to prove how heinous and destructive it is to our country. Those who have differing views from the author may possibly be turned off by his message. There is also the possibility that they may change their view after being privy to how an imperfect judicial system hands out punishments.
I greatly enjoyed Grisham telling the story from all sides. There were a million characters in the book: witnesses from Donte’s murder trial, the victims family, Donte’s family, Keith’s family, local high school students, church members, various lawyers, city and state government officials, sensational talk show hosts, and the like throughout, which helped paint the picture outside of just a black man on death row. I also learned a lot about the judicial system and the process behind the death penalty.
This book would make an excellent movie.
Grisham does get a bit long winded, though. I am unsure if this is a tactic to keep us on the edge of our seats, or if he is just extremely detail oriented. Whatever the case, I feel the book could have been cut by at least 50 pages.
I’d recommend this to everybody, but especially those who are interested in race relations (especially in Texas), the death penalty, and crime/suspense novels.