NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERFirst Time In PaperbackAn Innocent Man Is About To Be ExecutedOnly A Guilty Man Can Save Him In , In The Small East Texas City Of Sloan, Travis Boyette Abducted, Raped, And Strangled A Popular High School Cheerleader He Buried Her Body So That It Would Never Be Found, Then Watched In Amazement As Police And Prosecutors Arrested And Convicted Dont Drumm, A Local Football Star, And Marched Him Off To Death RowNow Nine Years Have Passed Travis Has Just Been Paroled In Kansas For A Different Crime Dont Is Four Days Away From His Execution Travis Suffers From An Inoperable Brain Tumor For The First Time In His Miserable Life, He Decides To Do What S Right And Confess But How Can A Guilty Man Convince Lawyers, Judges, And Politicians That They Re About To Execute An Innocent Man The problem with reading clubs is that occasionally someone suggests a dud and one feels forced to finish the book out of courtesy to the other participants That s what happened here.I abhor the death penalty I approve of Grisham s message 100%, but my goodness this book is repetitive and tedious Not to mention I felt bruised and battered by being hit over the head constantly by the message I listened to it and found the FF button to be incredibly useful The irony was I could fast forward 15 minutes and think I hadn t moved forward at all The characters are stereotypical cardboard cutouts Their speeches they don t talk, they proclaim, are all cookie cutter, but the dough gets stale quickly The book would have been much stronger had there been some shades of gray, some ethical tensions There just are none here.For example, did the prosecutors and cops set out to kill an innocent man Of course, not They were subject to cultural, racial, and political pressures An examination of the force of those pressures would have made a much interesting book And what if there had been no confession How about an examination of the legal hurdles that prevent uncovering police malfeasance Or an examination of the Supreme Court s reasoning that innocence is not a defense See Connick v Thomson To quote Reason Magazine Scalia has written in the past that there s nothing in the Constitution to prevent the government from executing an innocent person He also apparently believes there s no duty for the government to preserve or turn over evidence that would prove a person s innocence Finally, from Connick we learn he also believes that prosecutors and municipalities shouldn t be held liable to people who are wrongly convicted and imprisoned, either, even if prosecutors knowingly concealed the evidence that would have exonerated them Now that would have made a fascinating book.I don t like giving negative ratings and usually don t review books I didn t like, but in this case I resent the time spent listening to this it was like trying to move through quicksand Be interesting to see what the rest of the group thinks, especially since they are a particularly high minded literary group.Do you suppose the moderator got it wrong and it should have been Augustine s Confessions Dunno why he even bothered having a plot to this book, the veil over the pontificating isn t even thin This book is basically a treatise on why the Death Penalty is eviller than anything man ever ever did I swear to you really, it s bad nasty evil It s even got the balls to try to make you actively sneer at and hate the mother of a brutally murdered rape victim As unfair and unbalanced as FOX news Grisham is a good writer and draws you into a story, and while his books often have a ham handed message to impart, like help the homeless The Street Lawyer or lawyers are evil this book is a punch in the face with a book attached It s like a Kanye West tirade. Read The Confession As in red , past tense, or reed , you read this I m referring to John Grisham s The Confession A Nove l, published in 2010 I devoured it over a 48 hour period, fast reading for me, but it was a page turner and page burner Totally engrossing Only once, briefly, did I think Oh yeah, another Grisham novel Multiple story lines, where will they converge Grisham is a master at this He can weave a taut tale, getting into a character s being and making him seem very real It was nicely wrapped up too, IMO, completing all the story lines thoroughly Too many popular authors these days seem to churn out a great story, then realize they ve got to conclude before it gets too long and they rush to a quick, unsatisfying conclusion Tsk tsk.This is a work of FICTION but it will give you plenty to think about re death row and the death penalty I highly recommend this book. 3.5 Used to love reading Grisham He s a master in writing page turners The Client is one of my favorites But then the storylines are generally the same A case of injustice, good legal guys fighting for client or a worthy cause Bad guys, including high government or police officials Lots of stuff happens, the good guys win, at least morally and usually at some cost I stopped reading Grisham for some time as I lost interest This is my first adult Grisham in some time read a junior Grisham, Theodore Boone, earlier this year , picked this one up at the airport, and I liked it, although the storyline is still the same as described above No doubt, Grisham is a skilled storyteller The story topic is tragic, it s about an innocent guy on death row Creepy killer who did the crime is out there, wanting to confess as he is terminally ill Legal guy fighting fiercefully for Donte, the innocent guy and a minister unwillingly gets involved Bad government guys oppose And the story goes A heartbreaking story at points Grisham is can t put down the book , but also, skipping sentences to move on for me Yes, I did enjoyed it after a long time returning to Grisham. Something about Grisham novels make them my go to books for reading on flights his expertise is pacing, I ve decidied This is pure soapbox Grisham an anti death penalty diatrabe However, I think anyone who s ever watched a few episodes of Law and Order could have done a better job keeping the accused off death row Later Okay, I ve added an extra star to this book since reading this article in the New Yorker from 2009 about Cameron Todd Willingham Apparently the Texas criminal justice system can be as bad as Grisham describes. Grisham is an astonishingly lazy writer This from the Author s Note at the end of the book Some overly observant readers may stumble across a fact or two that might appear to be in error They may consider writing me letters to point out my shortcomings They should conserve paper There are mistakes in this book, as always, and as long as I continue to loathe research, while at the same time remaining perfectly content to occasionally dress up the facts, I m afraid the mistakes will continue Here s one small example of the sorts of mistakes he makes At one point he says that the Supreme Court denied two petitions for writ of certiorari, both by a vote of 5 4 What are the problems here First, the Supreme Court does not say what the vote is when there is a denial of cert The only time that there is an indication of a split in the vote is when one of the Justices files a dissent from the denial of cert, and that happens very rarely If it happened here, it would be worth noting as part of the novel.That s not the bad part, though The court will grant a cert petition if there are four votes to consider the case Thus, if there had been a 5 4 vote in th court, the petitions would have been granted, and not denied Again this seems like a very small detail and one that Grisham could pass over without hurting his book.But it s worse It only takes four votes to grant cert However, it takes a full five votes to grant a motion for a stay of execution Thus, its perfectly possible for the Court to grant a petition for cert, but fail to stay the execution Only about 1% of cert petitions get granted, so when one does, it s pretty extraordinary But in death cases, the Court can decide that the case is extraordinary enough to merit a hearing, but not enough to delay the execution And, of course, once the execution gets carried out, the case becomes moot, and is thus dropped.Grisham wrote an anti death penalty polemic thinly disguised as a novel He went to law school But he cannot be bothered enough to gather tidbits that would help him make his case, like the Court agreeing to hear the case because its so important, but at the same time letting the prisoner and the case die That s part of what comes from his loathing of research This would be a bit less troublesome to me except that Grisham was trained as a lawyer and really should know this stuff without doing research.The laziness, however, goes further than just research This book has two kinds of characters paper thin stereotypes and cyphers The stereotypes tend to be either loathsome or saintly The cyphers are almost totally empty Not only is he lazy about finding out the details of the system he critiques, he is lazy about inventing the people who inhabit his work.Further, he s lazy in his plotting Another example The real killer jumps parole and leaves Kansas to go to Texas to confess his crime and try to stop the execution He s dying of a brain tumor The attempt to stop the execution fails, but if he can lead authorities to the body he could prove that his story is true At this point, the prosecutor and the police detective know that they might be in deep crap So does the governor What do they do Nothing I don t know what would happen in real life, but the villains in the book should at least have tried to get Kansas to issue an arrest warrant for the guy for jumping parole They could then try to arrest him, and get him shut away so that he can t lead anyone to the body Without the body, he would still plausibly be just another crackpot With these guys trying to prevent the discovery of the body, while the good guys are trying to find the body, there could be some interesting storytelling going on, with people acting out of real motives Is this plausible There are cases where prosecutors have made legal efforts to destroy backlogged evidence so that it could not be DNA tested, years after everything is made moot I don t know if it s entirely plausible, but it could make for some good storytelling, something that does not appear to interest Grisham.Why does this bother me so much For one thing, it makes for a bad novel although somewhat engaging and very easy to read But my main objection is that it seems obviously to have a polarizing effect Reading the reviews, it seems pretty obvious that people who dislike the death penalty like the book, and people strongly in favor of the death penalty hate it I haven t seen any review where someone claimed that the book made him think, or convinced him to change his mind It s just preaching, and preaching to the choir For what it s worth, I agree with Grisham about the death penalty I spent some time working in death penalty defense But I don t think this kind of sloppy book does the cause any good Instead, it delivers exactly what people expect and are comfortable with, no and no less Thus, its easy for those in favor of the death penalty to shrug it off. Loved it As a criminal defense attorney, I appreciated Grisham s expression of certain insights into how criminal justice actually works It s far from perfect Innocent people do get arrested, convicted, even executed Innocent people do make false confessions When defense attorneys lose, they often do suffer the burden of second guessing their strategies and tactics I myself have not tried a capital death penalty case, but I have assisted at a murder trial which resulted in a sentence of life without parole For a defendant age 19 Grisham does a fine job bringing in a many dimensions of a criminal case how it touches upon a great many people And he well understands how,the urgency of our need to have answers very easily leads to incomplete and erroneous investigations, where once a theory of the case is hatched, police and detectives often lose their self discipline, their critical edge Instead, they launch headlong, uncritically, into the selective amassing of evidence to fit their presumptive theory An excellent story one that really could, alas DOES happen I feel so cynical, but seriously at times I felt like I was reading a political persuasion book, not a novel forget the story for a moment let me persuade you to oppose the death penalty then we will go back to what happens next in the story Ever notice that all those on the left were painted as great protaganists with kindness, honor and glory and those on the right were made out to be selfish, stupid pigs that wouldn t lift a finger for anyone but themeselves OK, maybe that s a little much Let s just say he disappointed me And has disappointed me for quite some time.I am a big fan of Grisham I used to wait for every February for his latest book to come out My favorites are The Firm GREAT SUSPENSE , The Client Awesome and The Pelican Brief Yeah all 3 of these are in my opinion his greatest works and each one made me hold my breath This one made me expel my breath in frustration Can I persuade you to agree that his greatest works have already surfaced, and now he s just depositing regular checks in the bank If you re in the mood to read 400 pages of liberal preaching, then go ahead and pick this book up I usually love John Grisham s brand of legal thrillers I heard this was going to be his best work since The Firm and was very excited to read it However, the preaching ruined it for me.Every character that was on the right was painted to be an absolute idiot, a bad person, a naive moron, etc Every character on the left was painted to be the most intelligent individual anyone has ever come across It was so obviously slanted it made me not want to read it Of course, by the time the heavy preaching comes, you re than halfway through the book and want to know what happens to the characters.Speaking of the characters, they were poorly developed all of them , and really of a channel through which Grisham preached his political point of views I found it extremely insulting to readers that Grisham thought that anyone would want to read several straight pages about various anti death penalty groups under the guise that the character was reasearching them online It was so transparent, and like I said, it was insulting.Unfortunately, it is hard to find authors that don t use their supposedly fictional works as a platform for their own political views This is something that does not impress me, and I don t enjoy reading it If you want to write a book about politics, then go ahead Don t tell me this is a fictional legal thriller and then use it to get on your soapbox If I wanted to research the death penalty to come up with a stance to take on it, I would I don t need John Grisham to paint a slanted picture for me I ll continue to be interested in any new works that Grisham puts out, but I ll tread carefully and look for reviews to find out if it s another liberal rant first.
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
- 418 pages
- The Confession
- John Grisham
- 09 September 2018 John Grisham