The Confession

Version: Abridged (Unabridged version available here)
Author: John Grisham
Narrator: Scott Sowers
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Thriller
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published In: October 2010
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 6 hours, 30 minutes
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An innocent man is about to be executed.

Only a guilty man can save him.

For every innocent man sent to prison, there is a guilty one left on the outside. He doesn’t understand how the police and prosecutors got the wrong man, and he certainly doesn’t care. He just can’t believe his good luck. Time passes and he realizes that the mistake will not be corrected: the authorities believe in their case and are determined to get a conviction. He may even watch the trial of the person wrongly accused of his crime. He is relieved when the verdict is guilty. He laughs when the police and prosecutors congratulate themselves. He is content to allow an innocent person to go to prison, to serve hard time, even to be executed.

Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.

Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess.

But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man?

Reviews (22)

Written by April F on March 2nd, 2018

  • Book Rating: 5/5

i really enjoyed listening to this book, the narrator captivated me. i laughed and cried my way through another John Grisham book.

Written by Gary Loeffler on June 23rd, 2016

  • Book Rating: 3/5

I thoroughly enjoy all of Grisham's books and although the ending was rather predictable, it was still a good listen. Beats listening to the radio on 6 hour trips and his books make the time go much faster.


Written by Kerry M. on February 1st, 2016

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This book deeply affected me and made me question the US legal system. Great book!

Grisham Fan

Written by Roxor from Strawberry, AZ on April 9th, 2014

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I still enjoy Grisham books, although another difficult story due the crime and the reality of capital punishment; basically our legal system and (sub)human nature. The only reason this does not rate 5 stars is the quality of the CD's, several skips.


Written by Laurie from Orlando, FL on July 23rd, 2013

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I hung on every word, every syllable, this was one of the best books ever. John Grisham drives it home once again. I recommend this book as number 1 on my list.

The Confession

Written by Tom from Challis, ID on February 27th, 2013

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I endured "The Appeal" and jumped right into "The Confession" thinking that I wouldn't be let down again. I was wrong. While I have thoroughly enjoyed his earlier books and therefore considered myself a fan it's apparent to me that Mr. Grisham considers himself successful enough that he has earned the right to advance his political views via his books. To add insult to injury he evidently also thinks his past success excuses his mind numbing rambling about the details of which the reader can second guess a chapter before.

Simply Rhetoric

Written by Regina on February 18th, 2013

  • Book Rating: 2/5

Basically a lengthy apology in favor of abolishing the death penalty in murder mystery format. I felt duped into wasting my time wading through Grisham's rhetoric only to find that the ending packed absolutely no punch at all.


Written by Ken Mc on February 15th, 2013

  • Book Rating: 2/5

John Grisham has lost his touch. Just no more suspense in his novels. Lost is his trilling suspense that I loved in his earlier works such as The Runaway Jury, The Last Juror, and The Partner (my favorite). And, no narrator can compare to the late Frank Muller; but, I really didn't care for Sewell. Just too bad that this work is disappointing.

Good but long...

Written by Elvira from Phelan, CA on December 29th, 2012

  • Book Rating: 4/5

John Grisham has always been one of my favorite authors, this was a good story, but I would have to agree with others. It was repetative in some chapters, and very long. I think the abridged version would have been better for this one.

The Confession

Written by The Colonel on December 14th, 2012

  • Book Rating: 2/5

Way too long, should opt for the Abridged version. About one-third in I put in the final CD to find out what happened, don't feel like I missed a thing. Not Grisham's best by a long shot.

Author Details

Author Details

Grisham, John

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500—the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.