THE CONFESSION by Jo Spain

The ConfessionHarry and Julie McNamara are a seemingly perfect couple. Married for almost twenty years, he is the owner of one of the most important banks in Ireland and they are very rich. Lately the couple has been on the pages of newspapers and magazines while Harry’s bank was facing trial for fraud but he’s been acquitted and they are leading a quiet life. One night, Harry and Julie are watching TV in their home when a man enters their house and beats Harry to death. A little later, the man, JP Carney, consigns himself to the police and confesses to having killed someone. He claims to not know the person he attacked or why he did it. JP is a middle-class worker with a few problems of drugs but doesn’t seem to have any connection to the McNamaras. So why did he attack Harry? As the police investigates, the reader is taken back to the events that led to this terrible night.

This novel is completely gripping. I love books that start with a shocking event and then go back in time to explain the reason behind it. That’s how THE CONFESSION starts. Harry and his wife Julie are comfortably watching TV, a thriller movie, Julie tells the reader, when a man they’ve never seen in their life comes in, attacks Harry, and leaves Julie unharmed before running away. Because he confessed to the crime, because there is no reason behind it, and for his history of depression, seems like JP is going to spend a few years in a mental hospital before walking out as a free man. While the police seems happy to let it go as the work of a madman, there is a policewoman, Alice, who believes that there is a deeper and more troubled truth behind the attack. Like Alice, I wanted to find out the truth and as the author explores the characters’ past, the truth is slowly unraveled, a bit at the time, until the final shocking truth is revealed.

I have to admit that I didn’t like any of the main characters, they are deeply flawed – Harry is selfish and self-centered, Julie wallows too much is self-pity and she is too focused on loving her husband, and JP was too obsessed (although, I felt sorry for him) – but they are also complex and very well-drawn.

This is an addictive thriller, full of twists and turns that kept me glued to the page.

THE CONFESSION is out in the UK on January 25th.

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