Customer Reviews

1,907
3.8 out of 5 stars
The Confession: A Novel
Format: HardcoverChange
Price:$18.98 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Showing 1-10 of 185 reviews (2 star)show all reviews
158 of 180 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I am a big fan of John Grisham's writing style, and The Confession was the first e-book I purchased for my new Kindle. Like his previous novels, The Confession is a smooth read; I finished it in just over a day. Grisham has a knack for interspersing engaging dialogue and narrative, and he knows how to end a chapter leaving you with a desire to read the next.

But with all due respect to Grisham's writing ability, reading The Confession is a lot like riding a carousel. It has all the expected ups and downs and turns, which sometimes make for a pleasurable experience. But it doesn't take you anyplace new, and you know how it's going to end. And all the characters are plastic.

For a subject as complex and multi-faceted as the death penalty, you would expect a little nuance from an author as intelligent as Grisham. Alas, there is none to found in The Confession. I would describe the theme of the book as: "If you support the death penalty, then you are ignorant, racist, and un-Christian. If you oppose the death penalty, you are a saint and a hero. Period." Nearly all the villains in this book work for the government: from the unscrupulous detective to the conviction-hungry prosecutor to the corrupt judge to the uncaring appeals courts to the cocky demagogue of a governor. Heck, even the front-line police officers and the National Guard are portrayed as Jim Crow-era goons who stand ready to trample the civil rights of the poor townfolk. I say that "nearly" all the villains work for the government because Grisham saves some castigation for the FAMILY OF THE MURDER VICTIM. The mother of the victim is portrayed as a fame whore who cares nothing about finding justice but only wants a painful death for the man she's convinced killed her daughter.

On the other hand, everyone who supports the wrongly-convicted Donte Drumm is a martyr and a visionary. Grisham gives them a pass for their dirty deeds. Even when they burn the home church of the murder victim and torch the business owned by the victim's step-father. Even when they throw Molotov cocktails into a widow's Buick. Even when they pelt police and National Guardsmen with cinder blocks, knocking unconscious an innocent reporter in the process. An effort to quell the violence with tear gas is viewed as a journey back to Selma in the 1960s. And a local church leader is portrayed as having quiet courage when he refuses to step in and ask for peace because the cops dared to use tear gas on the community "children."

The caricatures on both sides are drawn so ludicrously that it takes away from the sympathy the reader naturally feels for the innocent Donte Drumm. Grisham's take on the death penalty is so shrill and heavy-handed that he is likely to drive away far more readers than he is likely to win converts to his position. This book will probably only serve to alienate most police officers, prosecutors, judges, and Texans (and their families) who read it. Grisham's indulgent tale of government corruption, rife with race-baiting and demonizing of every possible public figure, is an affront to the many men and women in law enforcement and the courts who conscientiously grapple with the hard questions surrounding capital punishment.

Make no mistake about it: The Confession is a polemic dressed up as a novel. Those parts of the novel that deal with pastor Keith Schroeder's decision about what to do with the convicted sex offender who's shown up at his church claiming to be the real killer are interesting. There are enough twists and turns to keep the reader wondering if there is going to be more to this story than an overwrought morality play. And all this is done with the classic Grisham flair for the dramatic. But in the end, nothing unexpected materializes -- which is a huge disappointment.
1616 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I was hooked on the book to the climax at approx 60% then what was the last 40% about? Without giving out spoilers I feel that I should have stopped reading or the book should have ended after the climax and I would have been happy and awarded the book 4 stars. But for every chapter thereafter the excitement passed over to boredom and finally frustration.
I am not living in the US so that may explain some of the frustrations I had with the end, but not all.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book has too much who cares filler and not enought story plot. It drags and I would not recommend buying. Grisham has written books that were excellent reading matter - full of plots and story to keep one reading.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
the characters are not well developed. they are just stereo types. grisham has gotten lazy. i was disappointed.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you strongly oppose the death penalty. If you hate Texas and all Texans. If your thinking concerning race is more 1960 than 2011. If you look forward to reading a story in which the only sympathetic characters are those connected in some way to the defendant. If you enjoy reading a cruel portrayal of both a mother's grief and her wish for vengeance following the murder of her child. If you enjoy reading books that are totally one sided ... Then, this book is for you.

I have read, and enjoyed, many of Mr. Grisham's books. And, I wanted to like this one. I thought the premise of an innocent man being sentenced to death was a good one. Add in corrupt politicians, inept policemen, and the news cycle on steroids, and you have great fodder for an author. I hoped that Mr. Grisham would be able to tell a compelling story. It appears that for many of the reviewers here, he succeeded. For me, however, this book was more about his [Grisham's] verbose personal political beliefs than in telling a good story.

Some authors have the ability to take on hugely controversial subjects in a way that allows the reader to see both sides of the issue, and compels them to think ... to weigh both sides. Perhaps Mr. Grisham has that ability, but it certainly was not on display in this book. I suspect that those who oppose the death penalty will love the book. While those who support the death penalty will not have their minds changed or even swayed. As for me, who does not feel strongly one way or the other, I, too remain unchanged in my position. I find I am more ticked at the author's unremitting bias than anything. I also suspect that a lot of folks in Texas will not be rolling out the red carpet any time soon for Mr. Grisham. Based on his portrayals in the book, I can only surmise that is OK with him, as well.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book is by far the most boring Grisham novel I have ever read. There is no suspense. The story BARELY held my attention. There was no tension, no creshendo that you expect in his writings.

The story line was so predictable and cliqued that I was continually surprised he even wrote this book!

Sorry, hate to give a bad review but the characters are bland too just like the others said.

Overworn subject of capital punishement debate. If you are interested in the ins and outs of this issue, you can find far better reads.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I get so excited for new John Grisham books, but I am slightly disappointed with The Confession. The fictional story is about a young black man who is given the death penalty for the murder of a white girl which he did not commit. Set in Sloane Arkansas Grisham dives into the racial motives for the conviction, the need for a prosecutor to get a conviction in a high profile murder case, and the motives of the police when they need to get their man. These are familiar themes in Grisham stories and usually they work together to create great page turning novels that stop and make you think at the same time.

I think in The Confession the author got so caught up with his need to convince the world that the death penalty is wrong that he ends up lecturing to his reader, and parts of the novel read like a law text book. I found myself plodding along at times rather than engaging with each new page. I'm also still wondering why the real killer confesses, other than Grisham needs that to happen to prove the wrong guy received the death penalty. There is actually no clear motive other than he says he doesn't want to see the wrong guy killed for his crime. A career rapist and murderer has a guilty conscience? Grisham is trying too hard to make a story fit into moral view that he wants to propel.

So in The Confession I found myself in love for the first twenty pages, back in school and reading a textbook for much of the middle, engaged with the family of the black man who is wrongly put to death, disturbed by the back story of the real killer and then kind of annoyed at the end when Grisham wraps things up. Is it worth reading, yes, but just don't expect The Pelican Brief or The Firm from it. This book feels more contrived than other Grisham novels and in the end he might have been better off writing editorials for the newspapers than trying to make a novel around his position.

It is interesting that I just finished this book and in real life the news is filled with the story of the death penalty sentence handed down in Connecticut. I think if our legal system actually worked most people would feel a life sentence is a just punishment, even more so than the death penalty. However, as long as parole is granted and we see felons let out, and going back and committing more crimes then people won't psychologically feel safe, and therefore will support a death penalty that is a guarantee that person won't harm anyone ever again.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Grisham was always one of my favorite authors so I can understand that every book isnt goinjg to be a hit. Well, this one wasnt in my opinion. Grisham usually creates great suspense? In this book, he just didnt seem to carry it off.! Has Grisham lost his passion for writing? This book is so poorly written that one has to have doubts. I think maybe his personal point of view on politics and the death penalty might have tarnished his writing in this case.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Grisham is one of my favorite authors. Most of his novels will keep you up late at night. This one didn't; actually, it had the opposite effect. It read like a documentary and could have been condensed into about half its length. Not wanting to spoil a major plot line, I'll simply say it was ultimately depressing. I hope he writes more novels like "The Firm" in the future. I read fiction for enjoyment and a little escapism. This wasn't either to me.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2011
Format: Perfect Paperback
I fear that John Grisham has "jumped the shark" like Fonzie in the final Happy Days show. It sure ain't THE FIRM!

This book is full of contrived characters that are either all bad or all good. Plus, I grew up in the area of Texas covered in the book.....Tyler, Texas. I never met any of these people in East Texas. The plot structure of putting some poor guy on death row, killing him and then railing again the death penalty does not work. It is more complex than that. Frankly the preacher was a bore and Travis was a joke. Donte's attorney was.......a cartoon.

I started this book in December on Kindle...got about 1/3 through, grew bored and read two other books. I finally returned to it last week to complete it as I had run out of books. I made it through but will no longer be looking forward to future Grisham books. There is too much well written stuff out there to mess with the next Grisham rant on........sex slaves! Illegal immigrants! Poor health care (he already did that), insurance companies! (think he did that too).....gotta be something more out there. .......crooked politicians! (I think he did this too).......a wealthy author that runs out of story lines and steals a plot from another guy............did he do this or someone else?
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
The Racketeer: A Novel
The Racketeer: A Novel by John Grisham (Mass Market Paperback - August 27, 2013)
$8.96

The Litigators: A Novel
The Litigators: A Novel by John Grisham (Mass Market Paperback - June 26, 2012)
$9.74

The Testament: A Novel
The Testament: A Novel by John Grisham (Mass Market Paperback - December 27, 2011)
$7.63
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.