Review : The Confession by John Grisham

April 29, 2013

Author: John Grisham
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Year: 2010
ISBN: 978-0440245117
Rating: ★★★★☆
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Surprise – it always has a direct impact on your heartbeat. A book can have such effects on you, especially when it comes to twists and turns by John Grisham. He likes to play with the plot, characters and storyline. The Confession by John Grisham runs on the same adrenaline of amazement. With a serious purpose, The Confession is a lawful thriller. He made the focal point on the death penalty system in Texas, telling the story of a young man on death row for a crime, which he never committed and a parolee three states away who confesses to a pastor that he committed the framed murder.

The Confession moves toward a grim read, without being predictable. It is when an innocent man goes through the trial and the guilty one outside as relieved as a clean intended man, calculating his luck drenched fate. Does he care? Will humanity shake him off? Authorities feel determined and satisfied with their job. Story should end here, ideally. The guilty man is content and so as authorities. A question arises here, that how can a guilty man convince the authoritative power holders that they're about to execute an innocent man? Matter of fact, the real killer's identity is actually given away at the beginning of The Confession. The formula to unleash the addiction is justified by that how, “An innocent man is days from execution. Only a guilty man can save him.”

Lives of Travis Boyette and Donte Drumm as connected to unparallel strings. Back in 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, Travis abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He conveniently buries her body with intention not to be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row. Drumm is arrested, declared as the prime suspect and is convicted. Nine years pass on death row, and the stays of execution for Drumm are exhausted. He is to die in four days. The wretched killer, a young pastor Travis Boyette unfolds the journey of the murder and an unforgettable horrific event. Ultimately, Travis faces a fate of his own: an inoperable brain tumour will soon deliver the end. Reflecting on his miserable life, he decides to do what's right. After years of silence he is ready to confess. But is too late to tell the truth? Here the catch is that the convicted man doesn’t get the highlight, not even the real killer. Young Pastor Kansas unfolds the journey of the murder and an unforgettable horrific event.

Grisham has also laid down a lot of emphasis from an earnest perspective, detailing on legal procedure, prison reality and social issues. Aside from its generic suspense fiction thread, focus on death penalty reflects the obsessive side of Grisham. You may think at times that he’s over playing with obvious justice system or the story may start progressing entirely on predictable lines of government imposition. But don’t take it as a warning, the master knows the hitting chord of readers, it will leave you in daze. Grisham’s attempt with execution game in his earlier work in “The Chamber” with a similar plot, description, character building and the same line of preach throughout the book reflects the similar sense of depiction. Grisham wrote an ending with a human approach in “The Chamber” that had a lasting impression on me.

The tragic story of Drumm makes The Confession a page-turner as much as his other novels. It is an exciting story that takes unexpected turns. The Confession follows the procedure of the death penalty system on justice and execution on the row. It is quite noticeable that Grisham has the tendency of following a stereotypical base line for his stories which can turn out to be predictable with same characters over and over again. The Confession turns out to be ‘dark’ as to his other works. Conclusion may not be satisfying, but that's surely Grisham's purpose.


Charu Sharma

Writer at IndiaBookStore
Books and writing take me to my Neverland. I want to drown into the creations of music-art-literature. I prefer the company of Books than people- That's cynical me!

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