[T]he 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.... For more than a decade, in his novels...and on editorial pages, Grisham has ruminated over the efficacy and morality of the death penalty. The Confession bangs the gavel and issues a clear verdict. As an advocacy thriller, it will rile some readers, shake up conventional pieties and, no doubt, change some minds. Whatever your politics, don't read this book if you just want to kick back in your recliner and relax.
Maureen Corrigan - Washiangton Post
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 Donte 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.
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