The Confession

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I've read a couple of John Grisham's - The Testament, maybe The Firm. Seen the movie and parts of The Pelican Brief. All entertaining, all involved lawyers. Occasionally he strays from his traditional canvas and tries a different medium like Skipping Christmas (read and saw) and Playing for Pizza (an early bookclub read I selected) - also enjoyable. As enjoyable as they are I don't feel compelled to read every single John Grisham novel that comes out (as I do with Diana Gabaldon). But he's definitely not on my never read again list (only Stephen King is there). So somewhere along the way I must have read a review of The Confession and it sparked my interest. I put it on my books to Read list which I keep in the Cloud so I can always reference it when i'm at a book sale or, as in this case, using a coupon at a Friends of the Library book store. It only sat on my bookshelf for a year and a half which is telling of how interested I was since I have my shelf organized according to my level of interest in each book and I read the next one in line when I'm ahead on my book club reading.

Even though I owned the book I also borrowed the CDs and eBook from the library so I could move through it quickly and still stay on track with the book club. The CDs were enjoyable because the reader had a very pleasant accent that seemed native to the Texas, Kansas, and Missouri areas where the book took place. The reader said Missour-uh which is not consistent with all Texans - even within Texas we have variety in our accents based on which part of the state you're from - but some say it that way. Also - with an omniscient narrator we don't know anything about who is telling the story or where they are from. Regardless it's a great story!

Donte Drumm is a young, black man on death row in Texas. When he was 17 he was falsely accused of the crime and co-erced into a confession after hours of brutal police tactics. The crime was the abduction, rape and murder of a white cheerleader - Dante's classmate and friend.

Many miles away in Kansas Travis Boyette confesses to a pastor, a few days before the execution is to occur, that he was the one who committed the crime.

What does a pastor do with this info? Travis asked for confidentiality. Keith, the pastor, must weigh his obligation of confidence to Travis, who is on parole and claims to be dying of a brain tumor vs. saving the life of an innocent man. he tries to do both but nobody is receptive to his message. He doesn't give up, despite advice from friends and loved ones, and even breaks some laws along the way, but he knows he would not be able to forgive himself if he didn't give it his all.

I started the book assuming the truth would win out but as the pages turned and the execution drew closer I began to question my presumptions. As with most John Grisham books, there is a lawyer, and like Tom Cruise racing around making copies in The Firm, there is a race to the finish. That finish is more surprising than a five year old hearing The Tortoise and the Hare for the first time.


Do you agree with Travis that prisons are "hate factories" that create problems and then release them back into society? (Ch. 16, p. 208)

Judge Henry threatens Paul Koffee into resigning by saying he won't consider any motions, indictments or trials from Paul or his office. Do you think these tactics really happen? (p. 382e)

Why do you think Travis lied about the severity of his brain tumor?

Theme Ideas

Serve - quesadillas and margaritas like Joey Gamble had when he talked to Pryor the first time.

Serve - sweet potato biscuits like Reeva served Sean Fordyce.

Serve - beef stew like Matthew and Keith had when they met for lunch.

Serve - pecan waffles like Keith and Dana ate on their return trip to Texas.

Serve - sirloins smothered in mushroom gravy like Robbie served his guests.