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The Confession: A Novel | [John Grisham]

The Confession: A Novel

An innocent man is about to be executed. Only a guilty man can save him. Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high-school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never 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.
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Publisher's Summary

An innocent man is about to be executed.

Only a guilty man can save him.

For every innocent man sent to prison, there is a guilty one left on the outside. He doesn’t understand how the police and prosecutors got the wrong man, and he certainly doesn’t care. He just can’t believe his good luck. Time passes and he realizes that the mistake will not be corrected: the authorities believe in their case and are determined to get a conviction. He may even watch the trial of the person wrongly accused of his crime. He is relieved when the verdict is guilty. He laughs when the police and prosecutors congratulate themselves. He is content to allow an innocent person to go to prison, to serve hard time, even to be executed.

Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high-school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never 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.

Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess.

But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man?

"John Grisham is about as good a storyteller as we’ve got in the United States these days." (The New York Times Book Review)

©2010 John Grisham (P)2010 Random House Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (3566 )
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  •  
    Dreux Houston, TX, United States 11-20-10
    Dreux Houston, TX, United States 11-20-10 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't waste your money"

    I'm a huge Grisham fan, but this was easily Grisham's worst effort. I get that Grisham hates the Texas criminal justice system and that he hates most Texans. But to base a novel on such a one-sided, one dimensional perspective just doesn't work. This novel was as uninspiring and predictable as a used bus transfer.
    Since Grisham appears to be working from an ethical soap box, I'm eagerly awaiting his expose of the Mississippi trial lawyer's cabal and his caricature of his ol' buddy Dicky Scruggs. However I'm not holding my breath.
    I gave this one star because at least the narrator was good, even though the material wasn't worth his effort.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 11-09-10
    Ron LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 11-09-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "He has done it better!"

    Long, boring and repetitive. Although I, like Grisham, oppose the death penalty this tome is painfully slow and adds nothing of interest to the debate. If I was reading rather than listening, I could not have finished. Grisham has tackled his opposition to the death penalty in his much more interesting The Chamber.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer southaven, MS, United States 05-18-12
    Amazon Customer southaven, MS, United States 05-18-12 Member Since 2011

    Books and music make my world go round, and I have 9 nieces and nephews and one chihuahua who rule my heart.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    Performance
    Story
    "Get ready for an emotional ride"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes. I am against the death penalty so it only affirmed what I believe. Against it or not, read this book. It might make you think.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    In true Grisham fashion he takes the story all the way to the end. It is not expected for sure.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    It involves Mrs. Drum and a suit. No book has ever evoked that kind of emotion from me before.


    Do you think The Confession needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No he pretty much said all that needs to say about the death penalty.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a HEAVY book for Grisham. Not for the faint of heart!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Rockville, CT, United States 12-17-11
    Charles Rockville, CT, United States 12-17-11 Member Since 2008

    I am a semi-retired psychologist who likes to listen to books, especially mysteries, as I drive in the car.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Things Happen"

    I listened to The Litigators before I listened to The Confession. I would describe the Litigators as a "Book of the Light" and The Confession as a "Book of Darkness". Maybe it was because I have to manage people who are as difficult as some of the people in this book or maybe I have worked in a system that was inexorably wrong, but I could identify with this book on so many levels. The suspense kept me listening and I listened as often as I could. I have read Grisham from his early work and I think he just seems to get better, often in different ways, as if his story-telling is still evolving.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lillian 11-18-11
    Lillian 11-18-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Uneven"

    (Possible spoiler alert) Grisham has always been uneven, and usually better in audio than text. In this story, he clearly started out with a political opinion and wrote a story around it. Then I think he got too attached to his characters and couldn't see them hurt. There were many opportunities to boost the suspense then... nothing happened. The death penalty part, however, was unfortunately very plausible and was of course the main point. That part was so awful, and the rest was so... safe... it's conceivable he did that on purpose but it bothered me and made the story less compelling.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deidra Saline, MI, United States 06-23-11
    Deidra Saline, MI, United States 06-23-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent"

    It's been a while since I've read / listened to a John Grisham book. I've always enjoyed his stories, and while this was different than the last I recall, it was a 'good' kind of different. The unique plot pulls you in, and the narration was well done.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Edmonton, AB, Canada 03-28-11
    David Edmonton, AB, Canada 03-28-11 Member Since 2007

    I am an entertainer...so I spend a lot of time on the road. I take my audio seriously. I appreciate great writing and outstanding narration.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I Confess It Left Me Cold"

    I settled in when the book started, looking forward to an other solid Grisham story. I was still into it about one third of the way through when I started to yawn a little. Half way through I was wondering if I should just turn it off and move on.

    Heavy on the "capital punishment is bad because sometimes bad things happen to good people" theme -- this one lacks the life so much of Grisham's other work has. It becomes more of a detail laden essay on the justice system in Texas, statistics that are irrelevant to anything that makes for an interesting book and endless editorializing.

    The good guys and too good and the bad guys leave me...well...yawning.

    Not the best use I ever made of a credit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William New York, NY, United States 12-24-10
    William New York, NY, United States 12-24-10 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I confess - I liked it"

    Whether you are for or against the death penalty, this is a well written NOVEL. Plenty of tension, good character development, interesting characters and kept my interest from beginning to end. Well worth the read. Also, it might make one think!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meryl H. Ruth CUMBERLAND CENTER, MAINE, US 12-05-10
    Meryl H. Ruth CUMBERLAND CENTER, MAINE, US 12-05-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ending came too soon"

    I was captivated till half way through when I felt the book had an ending. (Which I didn't like) The author's true ending seemed anti-climatic. None the less a worthwhile read (or listen)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John VandenBrook 11-20-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    56
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    "Expecting too much?"

    I can recommend this book and believe you will be touched by Grisham's accounting of death row. Very different from The Chamber, there is suspense leading up to this event, and is Grisham at his best.

    He does a terrible job, again, with the main characters. The Clergyman is weak, the law enforcement personal complete fools, government reps. mental and unbelievably arrogant, and the lawyers a mix of all these traits. Even the victims, the parents in particular, come across as so inauthentic that it makes what could have easily have been a five star book, IMHO, a mediocre story.

    This book is meant to stir your emotions, and I think it will. The moral of this story is supposed to be that there is no justification for a highly cultivated civilization as ours to administer justice by putting someone to death, or killing someone, as the text reads. What you'll find, however, is that what Grisham is really saying is that it is wrong to put an innocent person to death. The "real" perpetrator - well, kill the S.O.B.

    The inconsistencies and outright contradictions, the outrageous suit which puts a man on death row, the cast of numbskulls, and an ending which fizzles out is why I cannot give this book more than two stars. I think that us Grisham fans are longing for a spellbinding legal thriller with the unanticipated twists, and characters we learn to love or love to hate. What I believe we are not looking for is for Grisham to use his gift of writing as a means for him to convey his polical, social, or moral convictions - which is how this work and others in recent past have come across.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
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