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The Confession: A Novel Paperback – March 20, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“[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
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Photo credit Maki Galimberti
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of john Grishams finest works. This book illustrates the folly of the death penalty and all of the politics involved in the act.Published 14 hours ago by Jkf
My second time through. The Confession is a page turner for me. Although the narrative makes for a good read, the message regarding flawed and corrupt justice and capital murder by... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Nobarking
A blatant condemnation of capital punishment. Not a horrible story but pretty predictable and certainly has a political agenda.Published 5 days ago by Nate
While this Grisham book is emotionally grueling, it certainly deserves a high rating for the plot line and the message that hits home. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Avid Reader
This book made me realize that certain mistakes can never be undone! So sad to think that innocent people lose their lives because of the callousness of the judicial system!Published 5 days ago by starula
This might be my favorite Grisham novel yet! Great story. Even if you're a supporter of the death penalty, this will make you stop and think.Published 5 days ago by Doyle Petty