Monday, January 9, 2012

John Grisham - The Confession: A Review

I love courtroom dramas - the thrill of the witnesses being questioned and cross-questioned, evidences being produced that would help prove the defendant guilty or innocent, the word wars and wordplays that happen in the courtroom; it's all very exciting whether I'm watching them on TV or reading them. John Grisham, lawyer that he is, somehow manages to incorporate that into all of his books.

‘The Confession,’ however did not have any courtroom scenes. But it didn't need that to make me keep turning page after page of the book, because the story and the pace at which it was told managed to keep me want to read on.
‘The Confession’ is the story of an innocent man, Donté Drumm who is on death row for the last nine years and is facing execution in a few days for the abduction, rape and murder of a high school cheerleader, Nicole Yarber. The real killer, Travis Boyette, is the only man who can prove that Donté is innocent and save him.

A major portion of the book describes Robbie Flak's (Donté's lawyer's) race against time to prove his innocence by filing last minute appeals and by the stroke of a miracle finding Travis Boyette; the miracle being Keith Schroeder, a Lutheran Minister, who drove Travis all the way from Kansas to Texas without bothering about the trouble he might get into for violating Boyette's parole to save an innocent man from execution.

With each attempt that Robbie Flak made to save Donté, I found myself wishing that it would work, running in my head when the paralegals ran to file the appeals and affidavits and cursing the entire system when no one took heed. I cried when Donté's mother cried, I felt Donté's pain and frustration when he was in solitary confinement, I felt Robbie's attachment with Donté and his own frustration at being unable to save his client for nine years, Pastor Keith's turmoil in helping a convict violate his parole; every single emotion!

{Spoiler alert.. well, not totally a spoiler though} Half-way through the madness, I hoped for a miracle especially when the real murderer openly confessed to his crime. But the book was more realistic than that.

I don't know how the death penalty and the legal system really works in the US, but Grisham has done a wonderful job of familiarising me with it at the same time keeping me glued to the book till the end.

And how can I forget the new words that it helped me add to my vocabulary... moratorium, posthumous, evisceration...

All in all, apart from entertaining me for the whole of the 8-10 hours that it took for me to finish the book and enhancing my vocabulary, it made me want to sympathise and empathise with the characters, and admire Donté Drumm's courage, Robbie Flak's dedication (we need more Robbie Flaks in real life), Pastor Keith's struggle between letting an innocent man die or breaking the law; and it made me want to kill Travis Boyette with my own bare hands. And if a book can do all that and bring tears to your eyes, I say it's doing a very good job.

With that, I am already done with my first novel for 2012 eight days into the new year.And just because I liked 'The Confession' so much, I'm now reading one of his older novels - 'The Street Lawyer.' You'll hear what I think about it in a few days! :)

- Nikita.