You find out who did it on the very first page. On the last page, you’ll find out why. Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear. Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but claims the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal? This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?
“We stayed in, picked at dinner, watched television and moved around each other like we were the wrong ends of two magnets”
The Confession is well-plotted, original and absorbing. Grabbing me with that shocking prologue ( 😮 omg!) and continuing through the back and forth of JP and Julie’s stories and DS Alice Moody’s investigation, I was hooked as the plot unfolded.
I’m a huge fan of stories that use multiple viewpoints and/or timescales to build up the narrative and it is done really well here. The book is well-structured across the three narrators and four parts, each one ending on a bit of a twist, leaving you wanting more.
“Thoughts skid around my head like marbles on a plate”
At various points I managed to feel both sympathy and revulsion for the lead characters and that is a true testament to Jo Spain’s writing! These are complex, three-dimensional characters in whom you can invest – there is nothing simply black and white about them or their actions.
I did love Alice! I found her refreshing and realistic: bright but self-deprecating, easy-going but gauche, driven and determined. I enjoyed the police banter throughout and some amusing lines were a balance to the dark story-line.
“DS Moody coming up the stairs is like the arrival of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park”
At times the book made for uncomfortable reading because of the violence, the grief and the suffering – they were always well written but vividly and harrowingly brought to life.
I did foresee some of where the story was headed, but there was a nice final twist of the knife at the end and I will be thinking about this story for some time to come.
Thank you to NetGalley and Quercus Books for the ARC of The Confession.