A stroll in the park. Grisham makes light work of this story about a heavy subject. It centres around a black youth called Donte Drumm who is convicted, wrongly, of murder in the Texas town of Slone and the confession of the real killer, Travis Boyette who wanders into a church just days before Drumm's execution to unload his story unto the unsuspecting minister. This is just a vehicle for a long and entertaining diatribe against capital punishment in the States, and especially in Texas, where apparently there is no need to have a body in order to convict someone. Grisham wears his liberal ideals on his sleeve in most of his stories but this was more pointed than most. He paints a terrible portrait of injustice in the Texas legal system which leads to the execution of an innocent man. He liberally over-eggs this particular pudding to the extent that you start to feel sorry for the policemen and lawyers who were responsible for the miscarriage of justice. This was not classic Grisham. It was all too easy for him to ride this particular hobby-horse. His sense of style is however undiminished; he is a great writer who rarely resorts to simile but uses graphically descriptive text to paint his pictures. I like to read authors' notes when these are included and in his Grisham admits to hating doing research, for which he pays someone else. Yet he took the time to visit a Texas prison for realism. That's true professionalism. Not in the same league as The Firm, The Pelican Brief and the Client, but still an interesting if occasionally disturbing read.
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