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The Confession

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  59,575 ratings  ·  5,900 reviews
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
First time in paperback

An innocent man is about to be executed.
Only a guilty man can save him.

 
In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, Travis Boyette 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 convic
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Hardcover, First Edition, 418 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Doubleday
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Charles Slavens Based upon my observations over the last 10 months, the attitudes as expressed by the government bureaucrats and law enforcement in Grisham's tale, pr…moreBased upon my observations over the last 10 months, the attitudes as expressed by the government bureaucrats and law enforcement in Grisham's tale, pretty much sum up Red-State attitudes about race and justice. (less)
Zoë Quilter I don’t know if you ever finished it or not and I’m only just seeing this but I just completed reading this book and had the exact same feelings. I wa…moreI don’t know if you ever finished it or not and I’m only just seeing this but I just completed reading this book and had the exact same feelings. I wasn’t sure if I should carry on as it isn’t my usual genre nor was I finding it compelling. However, I stuck with it and ended up really enjoying it, totally gripped and talking out loud to the characters, questioning their motives! If you gave up, maybe reconsider and get back into it! (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.85  · 
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Beth
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
***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
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Stacy
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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Molly
Dec 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Johnrh
May 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 r ...more
Eric_W
Jan 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
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Rex Hammock
Nov 26, 2010 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
Annet
3.5. Used to love reading Grisham. He's a master in writing page turners. The Client is one of my favorites. But then the storylines are generally the same. A case of injustice, good legal guys fighting for client or a worthy cause. Bad guys, including high government or police officials. Lots of stuff happens, the good guys win, at least morally and usually at some cost. I stopped reading Grisham for some time as I lost interest. This is my first adult Grisham in some time ( read a junior Grish ...more
Duffy Pratt
Sep 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
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.
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Andrew
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Angela
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
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Karl Marberger
A very strong and evocative book. Thought-provoking.
Pamela
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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J
Feb 16, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
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Beth
Jul 21, 2011 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.

James Thane
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Bren
“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.”
― John Grisham, The Confession


This remains the ONLY Grisham book I skimmed.

I could not help it. I just couldn't get into it. Or maybe it was that I just got impatient and wanted to know how it would all end.

I do not know what it was but I think it is the only Grisham book that was not a page turner for me. It is still very well writte
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Matthew
Dec 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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☮Karen
Oct 09, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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Corey
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For the longest time as much as I enjoyed the story and the setting, there were many times I just wanted to get up and throw something when I got to the point of corruption and talk of putting an innocent man wrongly convicted to death.

In the late 90's, in Texas, convict Travis Boyette abducted, raped, murdered High School cheerleader Nicole Yarber, and hid her body in a place that would never be found. Then Boyette sat by and watched as the Police arrested African-American High School Football
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Pamela
Apr 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
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Chase
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sumit RK
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
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Natalie Vellacott
Mar 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: john-grisham, fiction
"Death is death and in the end nothing else matters except your relationship with God."

A truer statement would be tough to find anywhere in the world. It's sad that this isn't the focus of this book as Grisham once again uses his popularity as a platform for his anti-capital punishment views. Oh, and to highlight racist attitudes within the judicial system.

This time, we have a convicted murderer on death row awaiting his fate. The victim's body has never been found, but that isn't a problem
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Lydia
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
I couldn’t finish it - the characterization in some parts was trite, stock, stereotypical even in the full detail we are given. It especially irked me how the tensions in the town were portrayed and I had to put the book down for good in Chapter 29. I don’t care enough about how the novel ends at this point - there are some plot twists that can’t be untwisted.
Asha Seth
Dec 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Not sure whom!
Recommended to Asha by: The Title
Shelves: 2013, thrillers
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 e
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J
***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
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Appleblossom45
Oct 29, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.

Reluctantly
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Evyn Charles
Jan 10, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
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Dick
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Goodreads Librari...: Correct format 3 15 Jan 07, 2019 12:11PM  
Who else felt deflated after Donte died? 60 433 Dec 11, 2018 12:33AM  
Bailey Barnard 1 5 Apr 20, 2017 08:16AM  
Goodreads Librari...: please combine 5 101 Aug 27, 2016 08:28AM  
Compañeros de lec...: La Confesión de John Grisham 29 47 May 27, 2016 09:50AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: The Confession by John Grisham 1 12 Mar 04, 2015 01:39PM  
Authors who treat you like you are stupid. 1 32 Jan 17, 2015 04:48PM  

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40,968 followers
"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
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