Monday, December 17

The Confession by John Grisham

I have heard a lot about John Grisham and got to know about “The Confession” so I decided my next read would be this legal thriller novel.

This novel is about an innocent man who has been on a death row for over 9 years for a crime he has not committed. The real killer is out in open, Travis boyette who is a serial rapist and has been in prison half his life. Travis is suffering from a brain tumor and when he learns that an innocent man Donte will be executed for a crime that he is responsible for, he wants to confess now and try to save Donte.
Nicole yerbar, a teenage girl and a high school student was abducted by Travis in 1998. He raped her and buried her in Joplin, Missouri. But then in this case, a young black man Donte Drumm who is a football player and studies in same high school as Nicole “Nikki” gets convicted. Police gets a tip from an unknown caller that Donte is the murderer. Joey Gamble who was jealous of Donte and wanted the death of Nicole who he fancied to be blamed on Donte gives a false testimony against Donte. Later it is revealed that Joey was the unknown caller.

Despite the body was not found during the trial, detective Drew Kerber through false accusations and mental pressure convinces Donte that he is the real murderer. Donte gives in momentarily so to avoid further mental torture and confesses for a crime he has not committed.  The confession and a false testimony from Joey, results in conviction of Donte for an execution.

Meanwhile lawyer Robert “Robbie” Flak and his crew are trying hard and leave no stone unturned to save Donte. They have been trying ever since and know that Donte is innocent. But without any proof, no one from texas law listens to them.

Boyette had fled to Kansas and had lived there ever since. He had been suffering with brain tumor for the past nine years and his health had deteriorated. In 2007, with Drumm's execution only a week away, reflecting on his miserable life, he decides to do what is right; confess.

He meets a priest Reverend Keith Schroeder and confesses to him and providing the details. At first after several efforts, Robbie thinks that Keith is lying and that Travis wants some public attention, but then looking up all the details of Travis’s whereabouts during Nicole’s missing, confirms that Travis is not lying. 

With just few hours remaining for the execution, Joey decides to rectify his false testimony, Travis goes public with his confession, and Robbie is still trying to get Donte another chance and stop the execution, but the corrupt officials and governor of sloan deny all the plea and the Donte gets executed.

What I was expecting

I was hoping a thriller but to tell the fact, it was kind of a drama. Something that could happen in real life. Grisham has taken many real life incidents and executions and put into this novel.  My initial guess was Travis would try hard and be a hero in saving the innocent. Though he tried but at a very last moment, he could actually take some initiative and come a little earlier. Showing up in the last minute definitely did not help.
No doubt the character of Keith is very prominent and stands out of all and at some point he goes out of way from his duties and law to accompany Travis and then Robbie to the state of Sloan to stop the execution of Donte.  
Robbie is aggressive and a true lawyer trying to help innocent. His character is strong in this novel.

The story was kind of realistic. Even when Donte was declared dead, I was hoping in the later chapters  there would be some miracle and it would be revealed that his execution was stopped. But that does not happen.

John’s way of writing is very impressive but the story could have been shortened by a few pages  and it would not matter much. However I would love to read other novels by John Grisham.