The Confession by Jo Spain

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 JP claims that 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?

The Confession is told from three perspectives – Julie (the wife), JP (the attacker), and DS Alice Moody, who investigates the attack, although Alice’s chapters are few and far between.  I thought that all three were great characters – complex and multifaceted, with both Julie and JP eliciting sympathy, albeit for different reasons, and with neither of them being wholly likeable.  Alice takes a minor role, and yet the scenes between her and her colleagues add some lighthearted relief, and I liked that she was a little different to most fictional detectives.

The reader only sees Harry through the eyes of others, although this is enough to get a sense of the man.  He reminded me a little of The Wolf of Wall Street – someone who made a lot of money through some not entirely above-board dealings, particularly in the lead up to the financial crash, although that was one bullet he managed to dodge, coming out of it disgraced, but without his lifestyle taking a hit.  Even though he is largely detestable, there are a couple of moments I warmed to him a little, although I can’t tell you why without spoiling it for you.  Again, these are incredibly complex and realistic characters, who aren’t entirely good or bad.

Through the Julie and JP chapters, the reader gradually learns about their backgrounds, and that of Harry, and what a story it is!  I was absolutely gripped as events unfolded and the build up to the big reveal.  The Confession has a brilliant plot, and even when I knew what happened, there was an extra little twist at the end that I didn’t see coming.  The Confession is a fantastic novel, and one that brings something a little different to the psychological thriller genre.

The Confession will be published by Quercus on 11 January as an eBook, and on 25 January in hardback.  Many thanks to the publisher, Hannah Robinson, and Bookbridgr for the proof.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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