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The Confession [Kindle Edition]

John Grisham
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (339 customer reviews)

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Book Description

An innocent man is days from execution. Only a guilty man can save him. From the bestselling master thriller writer.

Travis Boyette is a murderer. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high-school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched and waited as police and prosecutors arrested Donte Drumm, a local football star with no connection to the crime. Tried, convicted and sentenced, Drumm was sent to death row: his fate had been decided.

Nine years later, Donte Drumm is four days from execution. Over 400 miles away in Kansas, Travis faces a fate of his own: an inoperable brain tumour will soon deliver the end. Reflecting on his miserable life, he decides to do what's right. After years of silence he is ready to confess.

But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges and politicians that they're about to execute an innocent man?

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"Grisham has come up with yet another near-flawless plot... ****" Mirror "John Grisham is of course celebrated for his brilliant legal thrillers and in that field he has few equals" -- Barry Forshaw Daily Express "The Confession is an airing for the beliefs of the author, but it is also a page-turner. Grisham is careful never to preach ... he never forgets his primary purpose which is to entertain ... Grishamites will find all their buttons pressed." -- Barry Forshaw Independent "The Confession is a campaigning novel, attacking the death penalty and a way of doing justice (with a malign nexus of thuggish cops, supine judges and officials elected on promises of being hard on crime) that Texas epitomises ... another engrossing, teeming portrait of the Deep South." -- John Dugdale Sunday Times "Grisham's storytelling genius reminds us that when it comes to legal drama, the master is in a league of his own." -- Shari Low Daily Record

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More About the Author

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 being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career--and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, and The Associate) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 250 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500--the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
John Grisham is back to his former self. Limited time to avert the execution of an innocent man, but it's dense detail and well-drawn characters are evenly paced. Yes, he has his usual acerbic view of the American Judiciary and the anti-death penalty stance is writ large, but this is a good winter read.
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123 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grisham is back on top form! 8 Nov. 2010
By Tried and Tested VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's not that long ago that I was writing reviews and complaining how a number of the established authors seemed to be churning out a lot of sub standard work; amongst these were Jeffrey Deaver, James Patterson and John Grisham, although the books they were producing were very good, they definitely weren't up to the same standard readers had become accustomed to. With this new novel I am happy to say that I can retract that statement, Grisham seems to have found his mojo!

The majority of the book focuses on the 4 days prior to when Donte Drum is due to be executed for a murder he didn't commit. I liked the way that the book didn't just follow one aspect of the storyline but moved between al of the central characters so one minute you'd be following the storyline of the Lawyer, then you'd be following the actual murdered and then you'd move on to the family of the victim, although not every chapter finished with a cliff hanger, each one left you wanting to know more and eager for that thread of the story to be picked up again.

The novel is very slanted against the death penalty, you would think that when someone's life was at stake everything would be done by the book to ensure no mistakes were made, although this is a work of fiction it does make you wonder how many decisions like this are made for the people involved to simply progress their careers (police, lawyers, DA's, judges, senators etc).

The book is worded in a very factual way, Grisham states what is happening throughout and isn't overly heavy on the emotion, I found that this added to the story rather than detracted from it, it definitely never stopped me from getting emotional when reading it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Grisham 19 Jan. 2011
By Alexander Bryce TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Another page turner from the master of crime fiction . I found that I was reading faster and faster as I got caught up in the race against the clock to save an innocent man following the confession by the perpetrator of the abduction , rape and murder of a beautiful young cheer leader .
It is no coincidence that Grisham has set this one in Texas where the death penalty is common and fair justice is often not . He uses this his latest as a platform to rant against the death penalty and the whole business of appeal after appeal while on death row with the average time spent awaiting execution in Texas being 10 years . He has very strong feelings on this subject , but this does not detract from a fine story and in fact it adds value as it makes one give serious thought to the debate on capital punishment which I was in favour of , but after reading The Confession I am now not so sure .
It's too good to wait for the paperback .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grisham on Top Form 1 Sept. 2011
This is not John Grisham's first novel on the subject of the death penalty as he covered the subject before in The Chamber. However, apart from the race against time to save a condemned man from being put to death, the story here is quite different.

It concerns a young black man who was condemned to death a decade earlier in Texas. The author finds an obvious target in the State of Texas. Since the Supreme Court decided that the death penalty was constitutional Texas has carried out an execution, on average, every two weeks and have put to death more than four times as many people as the state with the next highest body count.

This case has all the aspects of the worst of Texan justice, much of which has been documented in real cases - no physical evidence, just a confession extracted from a teenager after a gruelling 15 hour session, a lying witness with an axe to grind, tainted evidence from a prison snitch who testified in return for a reduced sentence, an all white jury, biased judge etc. It takes a long time to carry out an execution with the various layers of appeal, but at each stage the obvious has been ignored and an innocent man is still facing death. Solitary confinement for nine years on death row has had severe physical and mental effects on him - this is by no means an unusual period as 10 years is the norm.

This tale is absorbing, constantly a page turner with the countdown to the scheduled execution proceeding and Grisham writes about it with some passion. It does clearly come across that this is a subject that the author feels strongly about. This book ranks right up there with the best of John Grisham's writing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to his usual standard 18 Jun. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
With John Grisham's books at least you know what you're in for - well usually.

This was like two books. Book A, a lawyer out to help a hopeless client beat a hopeless case. Book B, as other reviewers have commented, an out and out rant at the judicial system of Texas. But conveniently slotted together as one story.

I found Book A great, a John Grisham classic. Fast, exciting, a real page turner so I could discover what happens next. But Book B boring, monotonous, hectoring. Still a page turner, but only so I could get back to Book A! Saying that, I enjoyed the book, but would have enjoyed it more (and given a better review and more stars) without Book B. I got the point without being lectured to. It just wasn't necessary.
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