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The Confession

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  48,021 Ratings  ·  5,218 Reviews
John Grisham delivers his most extraordinary legal thriller yet. Filled with the intriguing twists and turns that have become Grisham’s trademark, this newest novel will prove once again that no one keeps readers in suspense like America’s favorite storyteller.
Travis Boyette is a murderer. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a
Paperback, 457 pages
Published May 26th 2011 by Arrow Books (first published October 26th 2010)
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Linda It is definitely an accurate depiction of the legal arbitrariness of the death penalty. Grisham uses several examples in the book of egregious…moreIt is definitely an accurate depiction of the legal arbitrariness of the death penalty. Grisham uses several examples in the book of egregious miscarriages of justice that come from real life. It's a shame he doesn't explain that in an afterword or appendix. Check my review and you can read about a few of the real-life examples he draws from.(less)
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Apr 06, 2011 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
***If you have not read the book, but intend to, do not read my review.***
I loved the first half of the book because of the race to correct an injustice - to do the right thing. I hated the second half of the book because they didn't make it on time. Donte Drumm, an innocent man, was put to death because of the need of the racists in his town to exact revenge. And that happens in real life, not just in books. Innocent people are put to death and the state just basically says, "oops". That is nev
Feb 02, 2011 Stacy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I feel so cynical, but seriously at times I felt like I was reading a political persuasion book, not a novel---"forget the story for a moment: let me persuade you to oppose the death penalty then we will go back to what happens next in the story"...

Ever notice that all those on the left were painted as great protaganists with kindness, honor and glory and those on the right were made out to be selfish, stupid pigs that wouldn't lift a finger for anyone but themeselves? OK, maybe that's a little
Dec 22, 2010 Molly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dunno why he even bothered having a plot to this book, the veil over the pontificating isn't even thin. This book is basically a treatise on why the Death Penalty is eviller than anything man ever ever did I swear to you really, it's bad nasty evil. It's even got the balls to try to make you actively sneer at and hate the mother of a brutally murdered rape victim. As unfair and unbalanced as FOX news. Grisham is a good writer and draws you into a story, and while his books often have a ham-hande ...more
May 12, 2011 Johnrh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read The Confession. As in 'red', past tense, or 'reed', you read this. I'm referring to John Grisham's The Confession: A Nove l, published in 2010. I devoured it over a 48 hour period, fast reading for me, but it was a page turner and page burner. Totally engrossing. Only once, briefly, did I think "Oh yeah, another Grisham novel". Multiple story lines, where will they converge? Grisham is a master at this. He can weave a taut tale, getting into a character's being and making him seem very rea ...more
Jan 04, 2013 Eric_W rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: legal-drama
The problem with reading clubs is that occasionally someone suggests a dud and one feels forced to finish the book out of courtesy to the other participants. That's what happened here.

I abhor the death penalty. I approve of Grisham's message 100%, but my goodness this book is repetitive and tedious. Not to mention I felt bruised and battered by being hit over the head constantly by the message. I listened to it and found the FF button to be incredibly useful. The irony was I could fast forward 1
Rex Hammock
Nov 26, 2010 Rex Hammock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-fiction
Something about Grisham novels make them my go-to books for reading on flights -- his expertise is pacing, I've decidied This is pure soapbox Grisham -- an anti death penalty diatrabe. However, I think anyone who's ever watched a few episodes of Law and Order could have done a better job keeping the accused off death row. [Later: Okay, I've added an extra star to this book since reading this article in the New Yorker from 2009 about Cameron Todd Willingham. Apparently the Texas criminal justice ...more
Jul 24, 2011 Pamela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
When you pick up a Grisham book it’s like taking a big gamble. I find his books to be either amazing or just plain awful. For me this one leans towards the latter.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about what the novel is about as there are plenty of reviews already written about it. I will say that this novel deals with the highly controversial issue of the Death Penalty.

I have to say that this book did not move slowly but fast. Too fast at times. Grisham goes back and forth from the pr
Duffy Pratt
Sep 23, 2011 Duffy Pratt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, law
Grisham is an astonishingly lazy writer. This from the Author's Note at the end of the book:

"Some overly observant readers may stumble across a fact or two that might appear to be in error. They may consider writing me letters to point out my shortcomings. They should conserve paper. There are mistakes in this book, as always, and as long as I continue to loathe research, while at the same time remaining perfectly content to occasionally dress up the facts, I'm afraid the mistakes will continue.
Feb 16, 2011 J rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very disappointing. Grisham has some writing power, but he uses it for evil in this book... liberal lawyer nonsense at its finest. An innocent man that the system failed is on death row, while Grisham's heros struggle to bring truth and justice to light. And it is a black man wrongfully accused of attacking a pretty white woman to boot. As offensive as it is cliche.

My editorial: Lawyers aren't the good guys - especially defense lawyers (i.e. Jeffrey Figer) - they are educated criminals in suits
If you're in the mood to read 400+ pages of liberal preaching, then go ahead and pick this book up.

I usually love John Grisham's brand of legal thrillers. I heard this was going to be his best work since "The Firm" and was very excited to read it. However, the preaching ruined it for me.

Every character that was on the "right" was painted to be an absolute idiot, a bad person, a naive moron, etc. Every character on the "left" was painted to be the most intelligent individual anyone has ever come
Reading The Confession I learned, if Mr. Grisham has his facts right, and of course he does, that in Texas they will convict for murder even if there's no dead body, AND, they can and will sentence you to death even if no dead body or DNA or evidence of any kind to speak of!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe I need a few more exclamation points!

In Grisham's (I think) second book dedicated to slamming the death penalty, the action is all last minute. A guy is just days away from execution in Texas when someone e
Sep 15, 2012 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. As a criminal defense attorney, I appreciated Grisham's expression of certain insights into how criminal justice actually works. It's far from perfect. Innocent people do get arrested, convicted, even executed. Innocent people do make false confessions. When defense attorneys lose, they often do suffer the burden of second-guessing their strategies and tactics. I myself have not tried a capital (death penalty) case, but I have assisted at a murder trial which resulted in a sentence of ...more
Jul 21, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable and exciting thriller. I actually gasped out loud twice during this book, and I never got bored reading it. I haven't read a Grisham novel in years - - - I really liked this and found it to be an engrossing and quick read.

Dec 14, 2010 Matthew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
John Grisham took an unfortunate approach in his effort to use fiction to turn his readers against the death penalty. I have nothing against didactism in fiction if it's well done, and I'm not resistant to the political position Grisham clearly hopes his readers will take, but this novel ultimately fails in its obvious mission to persuade readers to oppose capital punishment. It may have the opposite effect.

The problem is that his cast of characters -- a black Texas high school football star co
James Thane
In The Appeal, John Grisham took on the important issue of electing state judges and allowing them to collect huge campaign contributions from people and institutions who might have business before the courts to which they are elected. Now, in The Confession, he takes on an even more important issue in the death penalty.

Keith Schroeder, a Lutheran minister in Kansas, is working in his study one morning when Travis Boyette, a career criminal currently out on parole and residing in a local half-wa
Dec 07, 2011 Asha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not sure whom!
Recommended to Asha by: The Title
An innocent man is about to be executed. Only a guilty man can save him.

When? Who? What?

But this never happened ! The innocent guy gets mercilessly executed while the criminal is still on the loose, hiding away. It is only when he realizes that he's got terminal brain tumor and will die soon anyway, that he thinks of THE CONFESSION, a change of his heart a little too late!! Painfully with tear-brimming eyes, I braced and watched(I could feel it) Donte getting executed, for nothing, spending eve
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘It’s very simple. You have the car, the gas, the driver’s licence. I have nothing but the truth.’

Less than a week before the scheduled execution of Donté Drumm, convicted ten years ago for a murder he did not commit, the real killer steps forward. Travis Boyette, a convicted serial rapist on parole, approaches Keith Schroeder (a Christian minister) in Topeka and confesses to the murder. Boyette has an inoperable brain tumour, and feels bad about sending an innocent man to his death.

Jul 29, 2011 Chase rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another well-written Grisham novel. This one covers the suspenseful hours potentially leading up a man's execution in East Texas during which time we see if the true murderer, the pastor escorting him and the convicted man's defense attorney can convince the authorities they have the wrong man. Although it is darker in subject matter than most of his work (including a brutal murder, wrongful conviction and looming execution), the book is full of the typical Grisham characters including powerful ...more
Feb 27, 2016 SumitRK rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just like the 'The Chamber' by the same author, 'The Confession' too deals with the highly controversial issue of the Death Penalty. But while the former had a plot, storyline, strong characters, this book reads a more like a political statement where the story, the characters,all have been relegated to the background.
The book feels long, the characters feel one-dimensional,the plot is convoluted and the preaching gets repetitive till the point of boredom. Grisham uses the problem of wrongful
Dec 29, 2010 Paula rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 23, 2012 Pamela rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one at all
There was so much wrong with this book, and so little right with it that it's difficult to find a place to start the review. Although I am anti-death penalty and liberal and should have been Grisham's chosen choir to preach to, I couldn't finish the thing. It was beyond ridiculous.

Every character on the defendant's side was good. All the others--even the victim's mother--were horribly, horribly bad. Example: Mother of the victim blubbers when she cries. When mother of defendant cries, her "tear
Oct 29, 2010 Appleblossom45 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenny Maloney
After you've finished rage-watching Making a Murder you should totally rage-read The Confession. And, strangely enough, I think Grisham may have captured what injustice looks like in America even better than that ten-part documentary -- namely, showing that race is a factor in the American system.

I hesitated to pick this up because the last few Grishams I'd read (The Testament and The Street Lawyer) felt preachy to me. Perhaps, as readers, we're not supposed to assume the author's opinion based
Apr 12, 2012 Dick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
I have read or listened to almost every one of John Grisham's books. This is the first book that he's written that has literally scared the crap out of me.
If the book is based on reality, then our legal system is seriously flawed and Texas should be removed from being one of the 50 states of the USA.
Unlike many other men who will talk at the radio or TV, I am a fairly calm and level headed person who generally keeps his opinions to himself. This book had me yelling at the reader to stop with w
Evyn Charles
Jan 10, 2011 Evyn Charles rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
IMHO skip this book.
It nothing but cheap cliches about anti death penalty arguments. No nuances here: Death penalty=bad and inexcusable in all cases.
Granted, many death row inmates have been later exonerated with DNA evidence, etc.
There was the potential for a thoughtful anti death penalty argument here; however, this book is not it.
It is painted with way too broad a brush, none of the characters are sympathetic. Research time seems to have been zero.
The story--if you can call it that--describes
***Please note: this review contains spoilers***

The subject matter of this disturbing book is the death penalty – more specifically, wrongful prosecution and the miscarriage of justice.

It is a story about a serial sex offender whose life is allegedly coming to an end because of an inoperable brain tumor. His confession, which could exonerate a young black man - erroneously accused, convicted and doomed to die in Huntsville, Texas - comes too late.

Here is what the book made me think about:

When we
Apr 17, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once in awhile, one reads a book that manages to capture American culture and thinking and explore political conflict in a powerful manner. This is indeed one of those novels that explores the use of the Death Penalty--

What causes the novel to fall short of a five star rating (for me, anyway) is the bias that Grisham obviously harbors against the Death Penalty, probably based on some of the things he learned while writing the non-fiction "An Innocent Man" which shares some of the themes in this
Alain Burrese
Sep 30, 2012 Alain Burrese rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is one thing for certain, John Grisham knows how to tell a story. I've enjoyed Grisham's novels for years, and "The Confession" was no exception. I really enjoyed reading this story. It was well paced, had interesting characters, and flowed very well. It was just a well told story, and one that kept you interested from the beginning to the very end. Like most of his books, it is an easy read, but one that also makes you want to read the next chapter to see what's coming next and what's goi ...more
Nov 17, 2010 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Just as he did with his non-fiction work, "An Innocent Man," John Grisham clearly has an agenda with "The Confession."

Whereas "Man" was about an innocent finding justice and freedom after years of incarceration, "The Confession" asks the question of just what might happen if an innocent man were sent to death row.

Four days before Donté Drumm is set to die for the murder of popular cheerleader, Travis Boyette walks into the office of a Lutheran minister in Topeka, Kansas and says he knows the re
Jan 17, 2011 Debby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books
WOW! This is one fast paced, intensely suspenseful, hot button pushing book! I was hooked from the first page to the last.
The Confession is about a 18-year- old black man falsely accused and convicted of the rape and murder of a young white female high school classmate in the small town of Sloan Texas. Dante was sentenced to death row in Texas. Texas in #1 in the country for inmates spending the least amount of time between being sent to death row and their day of execution and many in the stat
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"Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of
More about John Grisham...

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“He's a two-faced, cutthroat, dirt-dumb, chicken shit, slimy, little bastard with a bright future in politics.” 41 likes
“Death row is a nightmare to serial killers and ax murderers. For an innocent man, it's a life of mental torture that the human spirit is not equipped to survive.” 36 likes
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