Audiobook Review: The Confession

18 May

In 1998, 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 Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.

Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté 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?


John Grisham is an American bestselling writer, attorney, politician, and activist best known for his popular legal thrillers. His books have been translated into 42 languages and published worldwide.

John Grisham graduated from Mississippi State University before attending the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1981. He practiced criminal law for about a decade and served in the House of Representatives in Mississippi from January 1984 to September 1990.

His first novel, A Time to Kill, was published in June 1989, four years after he began writing it. As of 2012, his books have sold over 275 million copies worldwide. A Galaxy British Book Awards winner, Grisham is one of only three authors to sell 2 million copies on a first printing.

Grisham’s first bestseller, The Firm, sold more than seven million copies. The book was adapted into a 1993 feature film of the same name, starring Tom Cruise, and a 2012 TV series which “continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere and his family 10 years after the events of the film and novel”. Eight of his other novels have also been adapted into films: The Chamber, The Client, A Painted House, The Pelican Brief, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, Skipping Christmas, and A Time to Kill.


My Impressions:

Anticipating a very long plane trip, I looked for an audiobook that would keep me engaged and interested and would last long enough to get me through the return flight. My thoughts immediately went to a John Grisham novel. I like Grisham for a number of reasons, one being that his books never fail to entertain. I chose The Confession, a title that already resided on my shelf (my husband read it years ago). It was a great choice. Not only did it make the miles literally fly by, but it challenged and expanded my beliefs on capital punishment. A controversial topic to be sure, The Confession examines what it means if an innocent man is sentenced to death. All aspects are included: the media circus, the political climate, the heartbreak of the families on both sides, and the spiritual implications of the ultimate punishment. The story is full of twists and turns, the characters are intriguing, and the subject matter handled in a mostly even-handed manner. I think it is safe to say that Grisham writes from an anti-death penalty standpoint, a view that I also hold, though for probably different reasons. Grisham didn’t change my mind about anything, but he did cause me to see the whole process surrounding death penalty cases in a new light. An engrossing read, I recommend The Confession.

The story opens with a confession from career criminal Travis Boyette to a Lutheran pastor. Keith Schroeder doesn’t really know what to do with Travis or his statement that an innocent man is about to be executed in Texas. What follows is a race to bring the confession to light, something that is met with resistance and dismissal from all parties concerned. Travis and Keith are interesting main characters. They cannot be more different — one who has lived a life taking and manipulating, another who earnestly desires to do the right thing. Their unlikely partnership makes for good drama. Grisham’s portrayal of the circus that surrounds the upcoming execution rings true. Media, groupies, politicians, all make the situation bizarre and disturbing. While The Confession is not Christian fiction, three pastors make an appearance and an impact on the story. Keith’s views are, of course, front and center, but Grisham also shares the feelings and thoughts of the pastors of the victim’s family and the accused’s family. The three struggle in varying ways — also very realistic. The Confession is dark, so don’t expect a feel good ending. This book is one to make you think, whichever side of the debate you find yourself on.

The narrator did an admirable job of bringing all the voices in the novel to light, while being easy to listen to.


Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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