Ronald Wise's Reviews > The Confession

The Confession by John Grisham
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's review
Jul 22, 2011

it was amazing

This was an intense double thriller – an engrossing legal thriller involving all aspects of the criminal justice system, and an intertwining psychological thriller, with each intensifying the impact of the other. There are actually two confessions at issue – a false one coerced from an innocent young man whose execution date approaches, and a true confession from a psychopath who steps forward at the last minute.

I hold author John Grisham to be the ultimate master of the legal thriller. This is third of his fiction books of this genre I’ve read, and as with the other two, the final outcome – as in many actual legal cases – is in question until the final verdict is in, or ruling handed down. As with some of the characters in this book, many people seem to be comfortable with the execution of an individual who made a confession during interrogation, later recanted, but was convicted anyway despite sketchy or contradictory evidence. “Why would he confess, if he didn’t do it?” Grisham is probably the expert on how false confessions can be extracted from innocent suspects, as was shown in his 2006 non-fiction best seller, The Innocent Man.

With this book being fictional, the author was able to construct the probable thinking and conversations of the law enforcement personnel, attorneys, judges, politicians, media personalities, and the individuals personally impacted by the crime and the wrongful conviction. Grisham does that masterfully, and goes on to convincingly portray how many of these people, whose careers and reputations have been enhanced by that conviction, can adamantly refuse to consider that they might have been wrong, even when new evidence proves it. Most disturbing, however, was the eager anticipation of the media, and the emotional investment of the murder victim’s family, as the scheduled execution neared. But there may not have been much Grisham creativity involved there, as it seemed to reflect all too well some real-life dramas I’ve seen on television.

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message 1: by Cheri (new) - added it

Cheri I felt as though Grisham had returned with this book....really enjoyed it!

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