Book review: The Confession by Jo Spain

Monday, January 15, 2018 Permalink

This intriguing read came soon after another ‘he said / she said’ book, Anatomy of a Scandal, and similarly (slowly) shares the history of its key players as we learn how they arrived at the point at which we meet them; although of course it’s very different in the sense that The Confession starts out with a violent act and we go about understanding why it came about. In many ways it’s a ‘whydunnit’ rather than a whodunnit. #ifthatmakessense

Book review: The Confession by Jo SpainThe Confession
by Jo Spain
Published by Hachette
on January 11th 2018
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 9781786488398
Pages: 392

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 story unfolds through the eyes of Julie McNamara, who takes us back to her first meeting with her husband and we flick back and forth as we learn more about him and their life together. And – interestingly – though Harry’s certainly got some horrendous faults, it gives us the opportunity to appreciate his love for his wife.

And then there’s our confessor, JP Carney, who we also meet as a child. He endures a lot and would probably have been far more wayward but for his beloved sister, for whom he feels responsible. And I think Spain’s exploration of JP’s devotion to her gives us a sense of where the book is going. Sort of…. as (thankfully) the plot doesn’t unfold quite as I expected, or as initially seems obvious.

And then there’s Alice – an unlikely Detective Sergeant – described as obese and ungainly but whip-smart with an excellence clearance rate and dogged in her pursuit of the truth.

We spend less time with Alice (who’s written from a third-person point of view), so don’t get a lot of backstory but it occurs to me (in writing this) that I liked her enough that I wouldn’t mind meeting her again. I’m not sure if Spain intends this to become a series – after all, we’re predominantly in the heads of Julie and JP but I’d certainly welcome more on Alice and her colleagues. I’d love to know more about her for example and was interested in her seemingly contented though disparaging self-image, the crush she has on a flirty colleague and his response to her; not to mention her boss’s relationship woes.

The Confession by Jo Spain was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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