Book: The Confession
Author: John Grisham
No. of pages: 418
My rating: 5/5
An innocent man is about to be executed.
Only a guilty man can save him.
I had this book lying around for a long time, never knowing why I didn’t pick it up. On an impulsive day and in a reading frenzy, I picked this up and found myself racing through the pages. I finished it in 2 days and it was absolutely worth the experience. I like crime and legal thrillers but sometimes find them placing disturbing images in my mind. The Confession did have such disturbing scenarios but I would say Grisham has used it sparingly only to support the plot and explain the context.
This is a book in which John Grisham is at what he does best, a legal thriller. Keith, a lutheran minister is unwillingly pulled into a race against time to save an innocent man from death penalty. Will he succeed? And then there are men like Travis Boyette who are hardened criminals who lie, change their minds like switching shirts, and never change. However, only Travis Boyette can save the innocent Donte Drumm from death penalty for a murder that Donte did not commit. Travis chooses Keith as his solution and pulls him into a roller coaster ride.
Does Keith succeed in saving Donte? Does Travis change and feel remorse? Who helps the duo in their race to Donte? There are so many characters involved and so many questions that arise. But Grisham deals with all of them deftly. The book is gripping to the point where the plot decides what Donte’s fate is and then from there, it takes a much more legal and a social view of what happens due to a wrongful conviction. What is at stake? So many people involved in a wrongful conviction, in so many ways. Are they able to live with it? Do they regret or are they worried only about saving themselves? The book offers closure on all these aspects.
As the plot grew, I encountered one too many characters but it did not have a tiring effect. The characters were unique and held different threads of the story together. I cannot blame Grisham for going into detail about some of the characters, we need it to understand how extreme humans can get. The gripping fact that what happens will happen shook me when Grisham threw the bombshell more than halfway through the book and my first reaction was that of being let down. But in his own style Grisham took the story forward and made me realize and accept that no matter what happens, life goes on. There are also places where the book strongly portrays the injustice of life in itself and how cruel people and time can get.
The only thread left till the last page is whether death penalty should be legal. There is another thread of whether death penalty is right or wrong. But that debate will go on even beyond the pages of this book.
Until later 🙂
P.S: A version of this review is also posted on Goodreads.