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?
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My Views: If you follow my blog closely, you would know my weakness for thrillers. I love them all and John Grisham is one of my favorite authors. So no wonder I was eager to start this one even though the size of it intimidated me (500 and more pages).
It took me a few days to finish this one, which is a surprise in itself since I devour thrillers like anything. And just the length of it wasn’t the cause. This is not another of those books by John Grisham where you get to think and prod your mind as to who’s done it. It’s not a mystery and I am not sure if it’s a whole and whole thriller too. It’s just different. I believe it’s on a topic that is perhaps close to the author’s heart and he wanted to ask a question from his readers and make them think. This is what the book is all about. Should the death sentence be given or not and he does manage to put up a convincing notion. But that in turn does make the book a bit dull and extended and somewhere in between the interest is lost.
The book is divided into three parts, the first part is good, the second is alright and the last one keeps stretching on and on and it became difficult to finish it quickly as I had lost interest by then. The preach-iness of the book doesn’t help too.
There are divided opinions on this one, some have loved it, others hated. I liked it but this is certainly not on my list to re-read and is not my favorites among John Grisham’s work.
I received a review copy of the book from Random House India Publishing but the views expressed are my own, I have not been given any compensation for the same.