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Literature / The Confession

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The Confession is a 2010 legal thriller written by John Grisham and was the first of his novels to be simultaneously released in digital and hardcopy format.

In 1998, Travis Boyette kidnapped and raped Nicole Yarber, a teenage girl and highschooler from Slone, Texas. He eventually killed her and buried the body in a location that only he knows. In his stead, a young black man named Donte Drumm has been arrested and convicted of Nicole's murder. And he has been on Death Row ever since.

With his own health in decline because of a brain tumor, Travis has been fighting with himself. Knowing the truth and that Donte's execution is imminent, Travis wants to make things right: confess to the crime he committed all those years ago and get Donte acquitted.

Has nothing to do with the same-named TV series.


Contains Examples Of

  • Acquitted Too Late: Donte does not get exonerated of Nicole's murder until days after his execution.
  • Author Tract: The Confession reads like a death penalty abolitionist's wish fulfillment fanfic (not that it ends in the favor of death penalty abolitionists).
  • Cassandra Truth: Travis going on TV and openly admitting that he is Nicole's real murderer is shrugged off as just being 'another nutcase' that tends to pop up shortly before executions.
  • Clear My Name: What Robby Flak has been trying for the past decade for Donte, and Travis' goal is, too.
  • Downer Ending: One way to view the end. Travis has been arrested and charged with Nicole's murder and further crimes, now awaiting his execution on Death Row and Donte has been exonerated, though post-mortem, and the death penalty system has been shook up. However, it turns out to be for nought, as the death penalty occurs again and nothing changes.
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  • In-Series Nickname: Nicole was called 'Nikki'.
  • Jerkass: Quite a few characters, from the police to the entire justice system that convicted Donte, to Robby, Reeva and Travis himself. The only ones who aren't are Donte, his family, and Keith.
  • Karma Houdini: Travis considers himself one, because he was never convicted of Nicole's murder, but tries to rectify things. Subverted in that he's finally arrested and sent to death row for his crimes.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Travis Boyette turns out to be one.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: The entire reason why Donte was even arrested for Nicole's murder. He was pulled in for questioning, bullied, threatened, bribed and coaxed into confessing to having killed her; was convicted based on no proper evidence except the aforementioned, forced into confession by a judge who was sleeping with the prosecutor (as well as a snitch who was jealous) and consequently put on Death Row.
  • Oh, Crap!: When the district attorney and cop who bullied Donte into confessing a crime that he never committed realize that the real murderer was telling the truth and they killed an innocent man.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Travis wants to save Donte Drumm's life and reveal his innocence to the world (a good thing) but it's because he wants attention and the chance to escape (bad things).
  • Scales of Justice: Present on the book's cover.
  • Sleep Deprivation Punishment: Artur London testifies to have been deprived of sleep in order to be broken up by his interrogators for his show trial.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: For every inmate on Death Row.
    • Also Travis, whose brain tumor is said to kill him within a year. Subverted, since it turns out the tumor is benign and not in danger of killing him. Played straight when he ends up on Death Row himself in the end.


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