Book Review: The Confession by John Grisham

A courtroom drama with a serious purpose can best describe John Grisham’s, The Confession. It is a legal thriller that concentrates on the system of death penalty in Texas.

A young man, Donte Drumm, faces the death penalty for the rape and murder of a young woman that he didn’t commit. Three states away, a man on parole confesses about the same murder that he committed to a pastor. As the countdown to the young man’s execution begins, the characters involved try to seek justice.

The Confession is an engrossing narrative that has unexpected twists. It is an unpredictable story that is constructed in a mechanical way, but sounds very original. The way everything unfolds creates a tense and heavy atmosphere. The entire set-up is a race against time and the book is spread out on a small cast

What is so unexpected about this novel is that it is not narrated focussing on Donte or the strange man who is the murderer. The story is told from the view of the young pastor, to whom the strange man confesses about committing the murder. The pastor is unwillingly drawn into this entire drama. He struggles with this huge piece of information that is implicated on him.

It is quite a serious and moving matter that Grisham focuses on in this novel. The story is described in an earnest manner and there is a lot of detailing with the legal technicalities used in the story. The social issues and the reality of prison life are described in an elaborate manner.

Grisham’s usual signature elements such as the sharp character sketches and brisk pace in the story are not so evident in The Confession. John Grisham intentionally concludes the novel in a not so satisfactory manner. But just as his other novels this one is also a page-turner.

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