The Confession – John Grisham

A prisoner’s mantra is always – “I didn’t do it.”   In the case of Donté Drumm, a young black man on death row, convicted of  killing a fellow high school classmate, it’s true – he didn’t do it.  In The Confession, John Grisham had me from the beginning, and I read straight through to the end.

It’s days before the execution and the real killer, Travis Boyette, a psychopathic killer, dying of a brain tumor, but reluctant to reveal the truth, seeks out a Lutheran minister to confess.

As Grisham neatly stereotypes the players – both villains and heroes – it was like watching episodes on a really good made-for-TV murder mystery.  I cringed when the bad guys were ahead, and cheered when Kevin, the Pastor, and Robbie Flak, Drumm’s attorney, scored.

Throughout the narrative, Grisham’s opinion on the death penalty is clear.  The bumbling authorities, the greed for death-by-injection at any cost, the blatant ignorance, and criminal denial of due process – all to insure that someone pays for a crime – no matter who.  DNA enters as a new tool for identification, but it’s people seeking the truth, not forensic science that Grisham uses in the process to exonerate an innocent man.  In reality, thirty-five states now have the death penalty; Illinois legislature just voted to abolish it, sending the bill to the governor.

Will Donté’s defense attorney who has been appealing the forced confession and sham trial for nine years in the Texas courts be able to use the information to save Donté?

You’ll need to read the book to find out – it won’t take long.   The Confession is Grisham at his best.

6 thoughts on “The Confession – John Grisham

  1. One of his best – sure made me rethink the death penalty. Have you heard about the case in Texas where an inmate claimed if they would just check the DNA evidence, they’d know he was innocent. Texas courts denied him this right because his lawyer didn’t ask for it at trial. Some students at Northwestern U. got involved and a professor at a Texas college applied to the U.S. Supreme Court. With only hours to go last May, the execution had to be stayed until the Court could rule on it. The Court has granted him permission to have the DNA tested. Haven’t seen any more about it as to whether the DNA was tested or the findings. Just thought it was an interesting article to read right after reading The Confession.

    • Wow! No, I had not read about that case, but have read about prisoners being exonerated through DNA, after spending years in prison. Grisham made his point well in the novel.

  2. As an avid reader I am ashamed to say I have only read one John Grisham book, which I might add, I really enjoyed. I normally prefer medieval thriller stuff but you have inspired me to step into Grisham again. M

  3. I really enjoyed this one. It made me see a different perspective to Death Penalty. I enjoyed it a lot.

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