Book Review: The Confession by John Grisham

It’s been really long since I’ve read Grisham. I’ve always enjoyed his books, so I was looking forward to revisiting his writing.

The Confession tells the story of death row inmate Donte Drumm, who has been sentenced to death for murdering high school cheerleader Nichole Yarber. Though he always claimed he was innocent, the courts upheld his sentence based on his confession to the guilt, an admission that he was bullied into making. Four days before his execution, Travis Boyette, who has recently been released from prison and parole and is suffering from an inoperable brain tumor, reaches out to a Keith, a Lutheran minister, and admits that he had raped and killed Nichole. And so begins a last minute dash from Kansas to Slone, Texas, as Keith takes Travis to the offices of Robbie Flak, Donte’s lawyer. But will the courts listen to this last minute confession by a serial convict?

As usual, Grisham’s narrative is gripping. He builds up his story piece by piece, throwing in minor characters to paint the town of Slone as it is gripped by a race riot at the wrongful condemnation of an innocent man. Grisham always has been a master of courtroom drama, and he doesn’t disappoint.

The story is also many layered – “Texas style justice” juxtaposed with death penalty abolitionists; one mother’s love and grace under pressure contrasted with another’s desire for revenge and constant appearance in the media; and a minister’s predicament between his faith and the repercussions that his actions will have on his future in the Church. Add to the mix a flamboyant lawyer, dirty politics and a detective who is convinced that what he did was right, and you have all the ingredients for a thrilling novel.

The book kept me up late at night, turning the pages, hoping for justice for Donte Drumm. If you’re a Grisham fan, this book is a must read. If you’ve never read him before, read this and you’re likely to become a fan

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Random House India. I was not financially compensated for posting this review, nor are my reviews influenced by the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.