Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Kim's Review: The Confession

The latest read from the John Grisham stable.

In 1998, in Sloan - a small East Texas city - a beautiful young cheerleader is abducted, raped and strangled. Donte Drumm, an African American football star from the same high school with no connection to the crime is arrested, prosecuted and sentenced with the death penalty.

9 years later, having exhausted all his appeals when Donte is 4 days away from execution - Travis Boyette a criminal with a mile long rap sheet walks into the office of Reverend Keith Schroeder in Kansas and confesses to the crime.

The story is engrossing and is a good case against the death penalty and the way arrests, trials and sentencing is biased in smaller towns across the USA. However at times, if Grisham was within hearing distance, I would say to him "Please get off your soap box and get on with the story"

The story is emotional and Grisham tries to explore the tragedy from every angle. The despair of wrongly accused Boyette, the sadness of Nicole Yarber -the victims- family who also end up milking the tragedy for what its worth, the role of the churches, the tenacity of Robbie Flak - lawyer of Travis Boyette, the scheming of police and public officials, the internal conflict of Reverend Keith Schroeder.

Grisham has very strong views on what he sees as serious flaws in the American justice system and in his last few books he tries to bring these flaws into focus by creating fictional worst case scenarios - that make for interesting reading, but are getting heavier with technical legalese and missing the essence of what made his first few books absolutely unputdownable.

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