Monday, June 20, 2011

The Confession by John Grisham *****

In a three-part saga, John Grisham, undoubtedly one of the best authors of the legal-thriller genre ever, unfolds a story of an innocent black high school student who is convicted of the murder-rape of a white cheer leader and ultimately put to death by lethal injection in Texas. The Confession part one is The Crime - largely imagined since the body is never found. Part two is The Punishment - recounting the ordeal of life on death row in Texas - the reigning leader in death penalty executions of all democratic jurisdictions internationally. (spoiler alert) Part Three is The Exoneration where almost everyone connected with this miscarriage of justice gets their just desserts and comeuppance.

This third section reads like a cautionary tale for Texas, its law enforcement, judiciary, and political organizations and staffs. Alternately, the book might be considered anti-death penalty porn, where all their pleasurable and vengeful fantasies come true. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Innocence Project, the author has a clear point of view, but the swift old testament justice meted out to all guilty parties and the saintly new testament forgiveness by all the innocents gives this novel a distinct gloss of fantasy fulfillment.

Regardless, John Grisham tells a wonderful story and all but the most pro-death penalty will find it a wonderful read.

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