It isn't often I have a chance to read John Grisham, but when I do, I really enjoy his books. This one had me sitting on the edge of my seat since the clock was ticking as a crusading lawyer, a minister, and an ex-con tried desperately to keep Texas from executing an innocent man.
Both side of the controversy are very well represented and the Texas propensity for executing criminals without too much public angst is featured prominently. Given that the prisoner on death row is black and the town he comes from, as well as state officials, are predominantly run by white men, you also have a looming race riot. The mother of the white victim has found her niche in life as she finds media attention and sympathy, until everyone tires of her turning on the waterworks constantly. Donte Drumm, the one convicted of murdering her daughter, has been on death row for nine years so most people have had enough.
Then an ex-con living in a halfway house in Kansas comes to talk to a Lutheran minister nearby and tells him that he is the actual killer. His story sounds legitimate. He also says he has a brain tumor and only a few months to live so he wants to confess and not let Texas execute the innocent man. Too bad he is cooperative one minute and anything but cooperative the next. The minister, a well-drawn character, is launched on a life-changing few days as the execution draws nearer and nearer. He will never be the same.
There are repercussions for everyone involved in this case and although there are many characters, there is never any confusion about who is who, or who is on what side of the issue. It's Grisham at his best in my opinion.
Source: gift. Recommended reading.