2021 Reviews · crime · mystery · suspense · thriller

Book Review: The Confession by Jo Spain

Title: The Confession

Author: Jo Spain

Published: August 14th 2018

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Pages: 416

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

RRP: $19.99

Rating: 4 stars

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. It looks like Harry’s many sins – corruption, greed, betrayal – have finally caught up with him.

An hour later the intruder, JP Carney, hands himself in, confessing to the assault. The police have a victim, a suspect in custody and an eye-witness account, but Julie remains troubled.

Has Carney’s surrender really been driven by a guilty conscience or is this confession the first calculated move in a deadly game?


Harry McNamara is the victim of a violent assault. The Confession is a story that backpedals from a confession, to the events that contributed to this horrific crime. Disgrace, brutality, corruption, extortion, trust, jealousy, lies, revelations and concealment all have a part to play in this explosive thriller from Jo Spain.

The Confession opens with a shocking crime. A man has been brutally bashed to death when a stranger steps into his apartment. This terrible act is witnessed by the victim’s wife, who is paralysed in a state of shock as she watches her husband Harry being violently attacked by this intruder. But the victim leaves behind a litany of misdemeanours from corruption, petty crime, financial gains and more. After this attack takes place, a man soon confesses to the crime. This man willingly owns up to assaulting Harry. But this easy confession seems to trouble the police assigned to the case and Harry’s wife Julie. What is the meaning of this swift and easy confession?

The Confession is a novel that has received praise from two of my favourite thriller novelists, JP Delaney and B.A. Paris. I knew I was in for a great story and gripping read as I’ve enjoyed two of Jo Spain’s previous books. My only issue with this novel is that I left it on my TBR shelves for too long.

I loved the structure of Jo Spain’s 2018 release. Statements and disclosures kick start this book in backwards motion style story format. I enjoyed flipping back and forth with the author, as I tried my hardest to piece this complex puzzle together. The Confession features a different mode of storytelling and it is a story that pulls in the ultimate question of why. The process of unpacking the why element to this tale was quite a stretch for me! Flashbacks and a full investigation in the past lives of the key figures of this novel assist the overall sleuthing process. I must say I was duped a few times over by The Confession. It went one way and then another way, which I didn’t anticipate. A tense and murky setting defines The Confession, along with a fast-paced plot.

The Confession is a dark tale, no doubt about it. The characters in this novel are also not very likeable at all. This thriller is defined by a shared style of narration, which alternates between three core characters – Julie the wife, JP the confessor and Alice the cop in charge of the case. Three contrasting viewpoints help bring everything into play for the audience to revel in. The Confession was a good story and I really liked the pace of this one – I ripped through it in just two close sittings. Jo Spain’s novel was a good read, but I think I liked Spain’s most recent absorbing release, The Perfect Lie just a touch more.

The Confession by Jo Spain was published by Hachette Australia on August 14th 2018. $19.99.


To learn more about the author of The Confession, Jo Spain visit here.

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