I’ve been reading John Grisham novels for most of my adult life. He “owns” the legal-thriller genre with such classics as “The Pelican Brief,” “A Time To Kill,” and “The Firm.” Occasionally Grisham has explored other themes in books like “Playing for Pizza” and “The Painted House.” While those other themes have been well-written and enjoyable reads, Grisham’s passion and expertise for the world of legal intrigue is unmatched.
As in all Grisham’s books there is a certain amount of suspense that builds through the story. That is especially true in ‘The Confession.” The story is about a man on death row has been falsely convicted of a murder. The real killer has kept the truth secret expecting the conviction to be overturned on legal grounds without his involvement. The story marches along at a steady pace toward the inevitable conclusion – the tension and suspense building on every page.
SPOILER ALERT! If you don’t want to know how the story concludes then read no further!
“The Confession” was a troubling read. It seemed that none of the main characters – at least those with the ability to delay or stay the execution – were really interested in justice. The case hinged more on political and personal gain than guilt or innocence. When all the appeals failed and the stay was not granted at the last minute – even though a confession by the real killer was obtained in the final hours – I found myself close to tears when this innocent man’s life ended. I want to believe that “The Confession” is just fiction and certainly nothing like this would happen in America today. I hope I am not simply naive.
I suspect that Grisham is not writing just for the creative exercise but is using his ability and position to influence change in society. If Grisham sought to write a compelling story that would persuade people to adopt an anti-death penalty position then I think he succeeded with “The Confession.” I highly recommend that you read “The Confession.” This may be Grisham’s best work to date.