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Characters / The Confession

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Characters Of The Book

Characters found in the John Grisham book The Confession.

Travis Boyette

A career criminal that meets with Keith one day to confess his biggest crime. Travis kidnapped, raped and killed Nicole Yarber almost a decade ago and buried her body in his hometown.

Learning of a brain tumor that will kill him soon, he wants to rectify things by confessing to Nicole's murder in Texas and get the innocent Donté off the hook. He heads with Keith from Kansas to Texas to do so.


Travis ends up on Death Row in the ending, awaiting his execution.

  • Classy Cane: Uses one to help with his walking, weakened by the brain-tumor-induced attacks. Turns out Travis doesn't need it for that. He used is as a weapon against the other ex-cons in the houses.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: His stepfather's brother, Uncle Chett, began to sexually abuse him at the age of 8 and threatened him with death, if he ever told anyone. His mother was also an alcoholic that was too wrapped up in her own problems to do anything about it. Given how Travis is a manipulative bastard, it's unclear how true this story is...
  • Faux Affably Evil: Seems to consider Keith a friend but an awful human being.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He has killed Nicole, and it's implied that she may not have been the only one, is a career criminal and overall a rather unpleasant person to be around, but he is trying his best to make up for his crime and wants to get an innocent man off.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Travis never felt any real guilt for having murdered Nicole, but practically seems to relish in what he did to her. He also never cared about Donté, he just wanted the world to acknowledge what he had done. And then he runs off and tries to repeat his Nicole crime on another girl. He does admit to being surprised that Donte was arrested, saying that he genuinely thought that the police would realize something was up and is genuinely surprised when Donte is executed.
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  • Manipulative Bastard: Travis played himself up as a poor, soon-to-be-dead man that is wrecked with guilt and wants to make amends. In reality, Travis is simply manipulating Keith into helping him get over the state line, try to get some airtime on TV and get noticed, before revealing that his poor brain tumor story was nothing but fabrication.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Lusted for Nicole for weeks before he kidnapped her, following her around and staring holes into her during football games.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: He doesn't know the exact time, but the brain tumor is likely to kill him in months or a year. Subverted, the brain tumor is benign. Played straight, when he ends up on Death Row.


Keith Schroeder

A Kansas Reverend that becomes obsessed with the Donté case after hearing Travis' shocking revelation. Wanting to help Travis with his desire to right the wrongs he caused, he tries to convince the rather reluctant Travis to drive to Texas with him.

Keith moves away from Kansas and becomes the senior minister at the Unity Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas.

  • Happily Married: Still happily married to his wife, Dana, and is the father of two boys.
  • Unwitting Pawn: His actions give Travis a nice little journey he wanted, great coverage for one of his committed crimes and the chance to run off and get undercover, again, to potentially commit more crimes.

Nicole Yarber

The highschooler that was killed by Travis. She was ambushed near her car at the mall parking lot, forced to comply at gunpoint and was repeatedly raped, before being strangled to death.

Her body was never found, though Travis claims it's buried in Jouplin, Missouri.

  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She was blonde and described as having been a sweet, kind girl.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Her death is what caused Donté to be arrested and convicted, with the resulting stall on his execution being what caused Travis to be given enough time to think about confessing.
  • Post Humous Character: She's been dead for 9 years by the time the plot begins.

Donté Drumm

A young black boy who played on the football team of Slone High. He was arrested under suspicion of having killed Nicole and was eventually sentenced to death for it. He has been on Death Row for the past nine years, waiting either for his exoneration or execution.

  • Acquitted Too Late: He is ultimately cleared when Travis leads the defense to the body....after he's put to death.
  • Broken Man: Nine years on Death Row will do that. He used to be much more active and optimistic, but he has become lethargic and quiet since his imprisonment. He also lost his religious belief.
  • Creepy Monotone: The text says that Donté's confession has him speak like this.
  • False Confession: After being bullied by the cops for 15 hours, Donté broke and recorded a confession of having killed Nicole. He's completely innocent of the crime.
  • Jerk Jock: Averted, Donté was a great athlete on the football team but never mistreated anyone.


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