THE CONFESSION by John Grisham

Book Quote:

“Could it be a dream, a nightmare? Was she really there, awake in the darkness contemplating her son’s final hours? Of course she was. She had lived the nightmare for nine years now, ever since the day she’d been told that Donté had not only been arrested but also confessed. The nightmare was a book as thick as her Bible, every chapter another tragedy, every page filled with sorrow and disbelief.”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky  (JAN 09, 2011)

Keith Schroeder is a thirty-five year old Lutheran minister in Topeka, Kansas. One day, Dana, Keith’s wife, greets a stranger who walks into the church. The man identifies himself as Travis Boyette, age forty-four, a former prison inmate who is currently in a halfway house and is about to be released. Keith agrees to speak to Travis; the meeting will change their lives.

Meanwhile, in East Texas, a twenty-seven year old black man, Donté Drumm, is awaiting execution for a murder that he allegedly committed in 1999. Under duress, Donté confessed to killing seventeen-year-old Nicole Yarber and dumping her body into the Red River. The body was never found. Although he later recanted, Drumm was convicted of abduction, rape, and murder. He has steadfastly maintained his innocence for the past nine years. Donté’s lawyer, the zealous Robbie Flak, has done everything in his power to get his client’s conviction overturned, but time and appeals are running out. Drumm’s execution is scheduled to take place in a few days.

John Grisham’s The Confession is a mesmerizing story about the ways in which justice is meted out in places where the color of one’s skin and the desire of politicians to be reelected may carry more weight than the facts of a case. Grisham keeps the narrative moving briskly by moving back and forth between Keith and Travis (who become allies of sorts) and Donté, his family, and their defense team. The suspense stems from the relentlessly ticking clock.

Grisham is a savvy writer who knows how to spin an involving tale. His brisk dialogue, sardonic humor, and lively characters effortlessly hold our attention. Unfortunately, the book is a bit too long and, in addition, the author is heavy-handed in his depiction of certain cops, prosecutors, and judges as arrogant, corrupt, and self-serving, while Robbie and his colleagues are unfailingly altruistic and conscientious. The good vs. evil theme is a bit too pat. To his credit, however, Grisham effectively demonstrates that anyone may resort to violence under certain circumstances; that even “good citizens” can be misguided in their thinking; that criminals are often products of their severely dysfunctional families; that irresponsible reporters will stoop extremely low to garner headlines; and that our system of doling out punishment is far from perfect. The Confession will undoubtedly generate heated debate about the merits of the death penalty.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-3-5from 1,203 readers
PUBLISHER: Doubleday; 1St Edition edition (October 26, 2010)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
EXTRAS: Excerpt



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January 9, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Mystery/Suspense, Texas

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