The Confession by John Grisham

In 1998 a young cheerleader is presumably murdered after she disappears one night never to be seen again.  Donte’ Drumm, a college football star is jailed and then after much prodding by the police, confesses that he indeed killed the pretty cheerleader, Nicole.

Flash forward to 2007, mere days before Donte’ Drumm’s execution.  Kansas Minister Keith Schroeder is working in his office when a man by the name of Travis Bronte enters with a story that is shocking and frightening.  Bovette, is a multi sex offender who has been in and out of jail his entire life.  Now dieing from a brain tumor, he shares that he is Nicole’s true killer and can prove it as he knows exactly where her body is.  Boyette wants to end his life by doing something right for a chance.

Keith suddenly finds himself on a mission he never intended to be on.  With his wife telling him he was crazy to get involved, Keith drives Boyette to the scene of the crime, far away from where they are now.  With the clock ticking on Drumm’s execution, and Boyette refusing to confess tot he public until he sees Nicole’s remains one more time so he can say he is sorry… it really is a race against time and the truth.

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. ~ from the official John Grisham site – click the picture to read more.

Why did I want to listen to this book?  I have enjoyed Grisham for many years.  He was probably one of my very first go to authors (along with Dean Koontz, and Harlan Coben).  Going into this one, for some reason I was thinking this was more of a YA read… yeah, that is not true….

The Confession is a book that surprised me time and again.  This fictional book reads like non-fiction.  Several times throughout listening to this book I went on-line to check to make sure I was not reading a true story.  As far as I am aware, John Grisham’s only non fiction book is Innocent Man which was pretty amazing.  The details of police action (or lack there of) in this one felt so real, the layout of the crime, and the trek cross-country to find the body and see if Boyette was telling the truth or just messing with people’s lives felt genuine. After checking and rechecking, The Confession is just a very well written fiction read.

The book had just the right level of creep factor for me.  Never gory, but as I mentioned above, shockingly real.  All throughout this read I was wondering if they really would find Nicole’s body.  Boyette’s back and forth wanting to confess and then backtracking and wondering why should he after all this time was mind boggling.  I wanted to read through the speakers and choke him.  Meanwhile, Donte Drumm sits in jail as the clock ticks down, wondering if a miracle will come in time….  it has been 9 years of jail for Drumm…. what do you think 9 years of jail can do to a person’s state of mind?

In the end, I enjoyed The Confession much like I would if I had read a true crime book. I wanted to know the truth, I wanted justice to be served…  I questioned who was telling the truth… and when all was done… while it was not everything I had hoped for, it was most likely the way it should have been

Fans of true crime and Grisham’s knack for detail when it comes to crimes and the law will enjoy this one.  This would make a fantastic movie.

Amazon Rating

Goodreads Review (listen in to a sample here)

9 thoughts on “The Confession by John Grisham

  1. I’ve read most of Grisham’s books – a few of his later ones didn’t seem as well done as the first ones. The Confession was excellent! I read it when it first came out, and thought it was a real page turner. While the ending was not really a surprise, it still upset me. As I finished reading the book while riding in the car, I remember slamming shut the cover and saying “Noooo!”, and my husband asking me what was wrong. 🙂

  2. My husband and I have both been fans of John Grisham’s writing over the years but have not read any for a number of years. After reading this review I feel this is something we need to rectify so off to add this and others we may have missed in recent years to the wishlist.

  3. I used to gobble his books up and then for a while I just felt blah towards them. However, your review of this book has me thinking I would love it and it might bring me back to Grisham!!!

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