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The Confession: A Novel Paperback – March 20, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (March 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345534557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345534552
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,440 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Grisham's recent slump continues with another subpar effort whose plot and characters, none of whom are painted in shades of gray, aren't able to support an earnest protest against the death penalty. In 2007, almost on the eve of the execution of Donté Drumm, an African-American college football star, for the 1998 murder of a white cheerleader whose body was never found, Travis Boyette, a creepy multiple sex offender, confesses that he's guilty of the crime to Kansas minister Keith Schroeder. With Drumm's legal options dwindling fast and with the threat of civil unrest in his Texas hometown if the execution proceeds, Schroeder battles to convince Boyette to go public with the truth--and to persuade the condemned man's attorney that Boyette's story needs to be taken seriously. While the action progresses with a certain grim realism, Schroeder's superficial responses to the issues raised undercut the impact. As with The Appeal, the author's passionate views on serious flaws in the justice system don't translate well into fiction. (Oct.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“[A] grab-a-reader-by-the-shoulders suspense story.”—The Washington Post
 
“[John Grisham] is a master at pacing. . . . The book starts fast and finishes faster.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Packed with tension, legal roadblocks and shocking revelations.”—USA Today
 
“There’s no doubt that Grisham has his finger on the pulse of America.”—Orlando Sentinel


More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel. Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.That might have put an end to Grishams hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller. Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, and The Appeal) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.

Photo credit Maki Galimberti

Customer Reviews

A bit too predictable of an ending.
Linda Poulsom
If you are interested in Criminal Law, this is the book you ought to read....hooks you from the first few pages and cannot put the book down!
F. Lackey
It's a sad story of the inadequacies of justice and really makes you think about out legal system, especially the death penalty.
Faraz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

620 of 692 people found the following review helpful By G. Haneke on October 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am an avid reader and have read countless legal thrillers over the years. As a retired Federal Judge with 24 years of experience, I can tell you that you will never find a more realistic portrait of how the legal system works and, more importantly, how often it does not. Run do not walk to your bookstore and grab this one. You won't be sorry.
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182 of 207 people found the following review helpful By Frank Jacquindo on October 28, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you've read John Grisham in the past, then it's fairly obvious where he stands on the subject of capital punishment. Perhaps you agree with his position, and perhaps you do not. I, for one, will not dismiss and actor or musician or an author because of politics. In my opinion, a good movie is a good movie , a good song is a good song, and good book is a good book. This is a good book. Fast-paced, and with some very entertaining characters, I found myself unable to put it down.
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660 of 766 people found the following review helpful By BrianB VINE VOICE on October 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Reviewers should keep their own political views on the back burner when they review books. Bashing a book when you disagree, or lavishing it when you agree misses the point. I read these reviews mostly to find out one thing: is this a good book, or not?

The Confession is a legal thriller by an accomplished writer, one who became famous by writing legal thrillers. I loved Grisham's early books, reading each one eagerly, glued to the pages, and disappointed when I finished, realizing that I had to wait a long time for the next one. Somewhere along the way Grisham lost his mojo, and, unfortunately, he hasn't fully regained it. Maybe I am not the same reader that I was when I read The Firm in 1991. Try as I might, I couldn't get excited about this one.

This story was written as a political statement. Fiction that serves to prove a point requires a skillful narrator, or it risks becoming tedious. There are some great writers who wrote great novels as a form of political expression, like Dickens, Warren and Ellison. Grisham is not in their league. Grisham's talents as a writer are good enough to bring this readable novel to fruition, but it has some problems: The plot is not believable enough for my liking, and characters on one side of the issue are created as likeable, basically good people, while those on the opposite side are completely bad. The story lacks realism.

Donte , who is at the center of the novel, is a sympathetic figure, but he remains a figure, not a person whom the reader really knows. Keith , the well intentioned pastor who brings the killer to Texas, may be the best described personality, but he is bland and boring. The story builds suspense in the second half, and I willingly read to the end, although I was pretty sure where it was going. This was just a fair novel, with the story in the back seat, and the message driving. I prefer the opposite.
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Format: Hardcover
Less than a week before the scheduled execution of Donté Drumm, convicted ten years ago for a murder he did not commit, the real killer steps forward. Travis Boyette, a convicted serial rapist on parole, approaches Keith Schroeder (a Christian minister) in Topeka and confesses to the murder. Boyette has an inoperable brain tumour, and feels bad about sending an innocent man to his death.

Reluctantly, Keith Schroeder agrees to drive Boyette to the town where the murder occurred in the hope that a confession will stop the scheduled execution of Drumm. Keith Schroeder joins forces with Donté Drumm's defence lawyer, Robbie Flak in the hope that they can at least halt the scheduled execution until Boyette's story is checked.

I enjoyed the first two thirds of this novel. While character development was sketchy, the urgency of the situation kept me turning pages. The facts about the case, the flimsy `evidence' upon which Donté Drumm was convicted all heightened the tension, especially when one of the witnesses admitted that he had falsely testified and as Boyette's claims are tested.

But then the narrative changed. The fiction became a vehicle against the death penalty and thriller became propaganda. This diminished the impact of the story, reduced my enjoyment of it and is reflected in my rating.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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146 of 168 people found the following review helpful By J Mike on December 27, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified 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.
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