|POSTSCRIPTS – The Confession|
|Wednesday, February 23, 2011|
By MARGARET PARTEE
What do you do? This is the dilemma faced by 35- year-old Reverend Keith Schroeder following a visit by a man named Travis Boyette. Boyette had shuffled into St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Topeka, Kan., one day, leaning heavily on a cane, and asked to speak with Rev. Shroeder.
John Grisham is back with The Confession! I really enjoyed Grisham’s early books and avidly read each of them. Then I sort of lost interest and was not as intrigued with some of his later work and almost didn’t read this one. I kept seeing good reviews of it, however, and succumbed. I had emptied my “book basket” and ordered up a cache of books including this one. And am I glad I did! I enjoyed it immensely, finding it difficult to put down at times as tension mounts in different parts of this book.
Most of the book takes place during a period of time between one Monday morning and the following Thursday evening. There are several sets of characters and the action moves among the sets but is primarily concerned with Shroeder and Boyette. A young white Texas cheerleader disappeared 10 years ago and was never found, dead or alive. Through investigative procedures a young black football phenom, Donté Drumm, was identified and arrested. He never had a chance – body or no body. He was tried and convicted of her murder.
I do not want to tell too much of this story because it is a continuum of suspenseful moments where the reader is wondering which direction the action will take. I don’t want to spoil it for you but I was really spellbound. In Texas the death penalty is an option and apparently is used rather freely. Drumm was sentenced to be executed at 6 on a Thursday evening. His defense team is led by Robbie Flak, a flamboyant and highly dedicated attorney. He has fought valiantly for Drumm who maintained his innocence throughout his ordeal, although initially he had confessed.
Last minute appeals and motions of every kind available to the judicial process are used by Flak to no avail. No one in a position to intervene is interested. As Rev. Shroeder ponders the decisions he must make we see the final days of Drumm’s life from the viewpoint of his family, of the family of the young girl who vanished, from his own perspective and from that of his defense team who continue their fight for him. A lot of memorable characters evolve.
Boyette has been in prison for a number of years and is on parole living in a halfway house. He has a tumor on his brain and tells Shroeder that he does not have long to live. He wants to confess to raping and killing the cheerleader to save Drumm’s life and get it off his conscience – or so he tells Shroeder.
He wants Shroeder to take him to Slone, Texas for this purpose. The problem being that if he does, then Shroeder is guilty of transporting a parolee out of the jurisdiction of the State of Kansas which he discovers from an attorney friend is a felony. Not to mention his disclosure of a confidence. What should he do? This is the only option to which Boyette is open and a man is about to die.
I am not continuing the story because you should read it for yourself. Lots of soul searching goes on here by more than one person. The death penalty is studied and discussed. Community problems arise. Families are devastated. Just as soon as I think something has been resolved, the issue arises in another form. This continues until the end of the book.
This book does have some mixed reviews – they range from great praise to a waste of time. I for one endorse it heartily. It kept me interested and intrigued. What more could I ask?