EXCERPT: John Grisham's 'The Confession'

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"He's suffering, Dana. And not just from the tumor. He knows something about the murder, and the body. He knows a lot, and he's genuinely disturbed by the fact that an innocent man is facing an execution." For a man who spent much of his time listening to the delicate problems of others, and offering advice and counsel that they relied on, Keith had become a wise and astute observer. And he was seldom wrong. Dana was much quicker on the draw, much more likely to criticize and judge and be wrong about it. "So what are you thinking, Pastor?" she asked.

"Let's take the next hour and do nothing but research. Let's verify a few things: Is he really on parole? If so, who is his parole officer? Is he being treated at St. Francis? Does he have a brain tumor? If so, is it terminal?"

"It will be impossible to get his medical records without his consent."

"Sure, but let's see how much we can verify. Call Dr. Herzlich -- was he in church yesterday?"

"Yes."

"I thought so. Call him and fish around. He should be making rounds this morning at St. Francis. Call the parole board and see how far you can dig."

"And what might you be doing while I'm burning up the phones?"

"I'll go online, see what I can find about the murder, the trial, the defendant, everything that happened down there."

They both stood, in a hurry now. Dana said, "And what if it's all true, Keith? What if we convince ourselves that this creep is telling the truth?"

"Then we have to do something."

"Such as?"

"I have no earthly idea."

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