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The Confession
Cover of The Confession
The Confession
A Novel
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An innocent man is about to be executed. Only a guilty man can save him.   In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, Travis Boyette...
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An innocent man is about to be executed. Only a guilty man can save him.   In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, Travis Boyette...
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  • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An innocent man is about to be executed. Only a guilty man can save him.
     
    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?

Excerpts-

  • Chapter 1 Chapter 1

    The custodian at St. Mark’s had just scraped three inches of snow off the sidewalks when the man with the cane appeared. The sun was up, but the winds were howling; the temperature was stuck at the freezing mark. The man wore only a pair of thin dungarees, a summer shirt, well-worn hiking boots, and a light Windbreaker that stood little chance against the chill. But he did not appear to be uncomfortable, nor was he in a hurry. He was on foot, walking with a limp and a slight tilt to his left, the side aided by the cane. He shuffled along the sidewalk near the chapel and stopped at a side door with the word “Office” painted in dark red. He did not knock and the door was not locked. He stepped inside just as another gust of wind hit him in the back.

    The room was a reception area with the cluttered, dusty look one would expect to find in an old church. In the center was a desk with a nameplate that announced the presence of Charlotte Junger, who sat not far behind her name. She said with a smile, “Good morning.”

    “Good morning,” the man said. A pause. “It’s very cold out there.”

    “It is indeed,” she said as she quickly sized him up. The obvious problem was that he had no coat and nothing on his hands or head.

    “I assume you’re Ms. Junger,” he said, staring at her name.

    “No, Ms. Junger is out today. The flu. I’m Dana Schroeder, the minister’s wife, just filling in. What can we do for you?”

    There was one empty chair and the man looked hopefully at it. “May I?”

    “Of course,” she said. He carefully sat down, as if all movements needed forethought.

    “Is the minister in?” he asked as he looked at a large, closed door off to the left.

    “Yes, but he’s in a meeting. What can we do for you?” She was petite, with a nice chest, tight sweater. He couldn’t see anything below the waist, under the desk. He had always preferred the smaller ones. Cute face, big blue eyes, high cheekbones, a wholesome pretty girl, the perfect little minister’s wife.

    It had been so long since he’d touched a woman.

    “I need to see Reverend Schroeder,” he said as he folded his hands together prayerfully. “I was in church yesterday, listened to his sermon, and, well, I need some guidance.”

    “He’s very busy today,” she said with a smile. Really nice teeth.

    “I’m in a rather urgent situation,” he said.

    Dana had been married to Keith Schroeder long enough to know that no one had ever been sent away from his office, appointment or not. Besides, it was a frigid Monday morning and Keith wasn’t really that busy. A few phone calls, one consultation with a young couple in the process of retreating from a wedding, under way at that very moment, then the usual visits to the hospitals. She fussed around the desk, found the simple questionnaire she was looking for, and said, “Okay, I’ll take some basic information and we’ll see what can be done.” Her pen was ready.

    “Thank you,” he said, bowing slightly.

    “Name?”

    “Travis Boyette.” He instinctively spelled his last name for her. “Date of birth, October 10, 1963. Place, Joplin, Missouri. Age, forty-four. Single, divorced, no children. No address. No place of employ­ment. No prospects.”

    Dana absorbed this as her pen frantically searched for the proper blanks to...

About the Author-

  • JOHN GRISHAM is the author of twenty-two novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and a novel for young readers.  He is on the Board of Directors of the Innocence Project in New York and is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi School of Law. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 1, 2010
    Grisham's recent slump continues with another subpar effort whose plot and characters, none of whom are painted in shades of gray, aren't able to support an earnest protest against the death penalty. In 2007, almost on the eve of the execution of Donté Drumm, an African-American college football star, for the 1998 murder of a white cheerleader whose body was never found, Travis Boyette, a creepy multiple sex offender, confesses that he's guilty of the crime to Kansas minister Keith Schroeder. With Drumm's legal options dwindling fast and with the threat of civil unrest in his Texas hometown if the execution proceeds, Schroeder battles to convince Boyette to go public with the truth—and to persuade the condemned man's attorney that Boyette's story needs to be taken seriously. While the action progresses with a certain grim realism, Schroeder's superficial responses to the issues raised undercut the impact. As with The Appeal, the author's passionate views on serious flaws in the justice system don't translate well into fiction.

  • Washington Post "The Confession is the kind of grab-a-reader-by-the-shoulders suspense story that demands to be inhaled as quickly as possible. But it's also a superb work of social criticism in the literary troublemaker tradition of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle....Brilliant"
  • USA Today
    "Grisham is the master of the legal thriller."
  • Time magazine "The law, by its nature, creates drama, and a new Grisham promises us an inside look at the dirty machineries of process and power, with plenty of entertainment"
  • Los Angeles Times "With every new book I appreciate John Grisham a little more, for his feisty critiques of the legal system, his compassion for the underdog, and his willingness to strike out in new directions."
  • Entertainment Weekly "John Grisham is about as good a storyteller as we've got in the United States these days."
  • The New York Times Book Review "Grisham is a marvelous storyteller who works readers the way a good trial lawyer works a jury."
  • Chicago Sun-Times "A mighty narrative talent and an unerring eye for hot-button issues."
  • USA Today "A legal literary legend."

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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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