ARC REVIEW: The Confession – by Jo Spain @crookedlanebks

Title: The Confession
Author: Jo Spain
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: January 11th 2018
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Finished reading: August 21st 2018
Pages: 288

“But here’s the thing about fairytales. Sometimes they’re darker than you can ever imagine.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Fellow book bloggers have been saying I need to try out Jo Spain‘s work for years, but somehow other pending books always got in the way. So when I had the chance to receive an ARC of her newest title The Confession, of course I jumped at it. A lot of people will know this title with a different cover, published back in January, but I actually really like this version and how well it fits the story. Scheduled to be published early next month! I went in with an open mind and found myself really surprised by what I found. The first thing that stands out is the writing style, which is solid, engaging and draws you right in. That and the fact that you find out the identity of the suspect right in the beginning. Talk about unusual! But somehow it The Confession it really works. Because while you know the who, you are completely left in the dark about the why until the very end. Plot twists and false leads will take you on a journey through the lives of both suspect, victim and those trying to solve the case. Very cleverly done! I had my guesses about how it all fitted in, but I definitely didn’t see the final reveal coming. The characters themselves are not exactly likeable, but well developed and feel real. My only problem would be with the cops Moody and Gallagher, who I both found to be arrogant and frustratingly annoying (especially Gallagher). And despite other minor annoyances, this was still a very solid psychological thriller. Well crafted, clever and creative… Three little words will make you want to keep on reading until the very end: WHY? Not your typical psychological thriller, but oh so good.

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The life of the wealthy McNamara couple changes forever when a man walks into their home and brutally attacks Harry while his wife Julie is watching. Not an hour later, the attacker J.P. Carney hands himself in to the police and confesses… Although also claiming he didn’t know the identity of his victim nor was his attack premeditated. But disgraced banker Harry had just been found innocent in a highly sensationalized fraud trial, so can this really be true? Was this an act driven by temporary insanity, or is something more sinister going on?

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Normally, finding out the who behind an attack or murder is one of the main drives of a crime thriller. So how can The Confession work that well if we know who did it right away? It has to do with both the well crafted plot and the also important question ‘why’. We may know the who, but readers are left clueless when it comes to the reason behind this attack. What secrets are J.P., Harry and Julie hiding? What connects them? Why was Harry attacked? Oh yes, you will keep wondering why, why, why as you keep turning pages and encountering the next clever twist. A very solid read indeed!


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WWW Wednesdays #184 – August 22nd

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m still reading Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch… Mostly because I’ve started a new crochet project and I can’t crochet AND read a physical copy at the same time. I can combine it with my kindle, so that’s basically why I’ve been reading other titles instead. I’m putting crochet on hold today though so I can hopefully finish it! I’ve also started reading The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson, a title I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages and I’m really excited about.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Ink And Bone by Rachel Caine (3/5 stars) REVIEW 23/08
I had really high expectations when I started reading Ink And Bone, and this just might have been the problem here. I was really surprised it took me a long long time to get into the story… I can’t exactly put my finger on the way, because the writing itself is excellent, but it might have been the slowish pace or my lack of connection to the plot itself. There is no doubt there is a lot to love in Ink And Bone, but somehow I just didn’t feel it. I felt some of the spark was missing, and only towards the final part did that spark finally ignite.

2. The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/08
The Mysterious Affair At Styles is actually her very first book and it was interesting to discover how her long career had begun. This first introduction to the famous Hercule Poirot was an interesting one. The references to the war were interesting and gave the story a little something extra. True, the pace was a tad slow and this story is more about cleverly concealed twists and descriptions than real suspense. It was interesting to see how the case evolved over time and how Hastings tried to figure out what really happened, and his interactions with Poirot himself. I figured out the basics of the ending early on, but being able to see the techniques Agatha Christie used to reach that ending was still satisfying.

3. Truth And Lies by Caroline Mitchell (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/08
I have a weak spot for serial killer thrillers, and I really like the original angle used in Truth And Lies. It’s not the first time I’ve read a story written from the perspective of a serial killer’s daughter, but it hasn’t been done a lot either. The details about the past, the memories resurfacing, the broken family story… It definitely adds something fascinating to the story. But for me this element kind of got a bit lost in between all the other elements used in this story; there was simply too much going on, too many different elements and subplots to make for a proper coherent and believable plot. I felt some angles were left unfinished and I think the story would have benefitted by simplifying things and leaving some elements out. That said, it was still an entertaining read and a good start of a new series.

4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (3/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
Initially, I really enjoyed this story and I was positive it would receive a really high rating. The writing style is just wonderful, the worldbuilding is intriguing, I loved the many references to the Polish culture and Agnieszka’s character has an interesting background. I liked seeing the magic evolve and even tolerated the Dragon. But why o why does this story have to be destroyed by unnecessary and disturbing romance?!?!

5. The Shadow Cats by Rae Carson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
The Shadow Cats is actually a prequel to the first book and focuses more on Elisa’s older sister Alodia. I never really liked her, but if possible she comes over as even worse in this novella. In fact, I had a problem with a lot of the characters in general. The writing is solid though and I loved the use of many Spanish words, both in names and other descriptions. Very creative!

6. The Confession by Jo Spain (4/5 stars) REVIEW 27/08
Normally, finding out the who behind an attack or murder is one of the main drives of a crime thriller. So how can The Confession work that well if we know who did it right away? It has to do with both the well crafted plot and the also important question ‘why’. We may know the who, but readers are left clueless when it comes to the reason behind this attack. What secrets are J.P., Harry and Julie hiding? What connects them? Why was Harry attacked? Oh yes, you will keep wondering why, why, why as you keep turning pages and encountering the next clever twist. A very solid read indeed!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m starting Call To Arms by Rachel Amphlett as soon as I finish my current read on my kindle… I need another dose of Kay Hunter! I also want to read both I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh and Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, depending on how long it takes to finish the other three titles. As soon as my N.E.W.T.s readathon begins on the 31st, I won’t be having time for other reads! My newest TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris.


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Teaser Tuesdays #185 – August 21st: The Confession

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme hosted at The Purple Booker. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’ve been wanting to pick up this ARC for a while… It’s the first time I’m reading one of her thrillers, but if the rest of The Confession is as good as the part I’ve read, I’m sure it won’t be my last. I really like her writing style so far! And I like the multiple POV chapters and discovering the why and not the who this time.

My teaser (4%):

“But here’s the thing about fairytales.

Sometimes they’re darker than you can ever imagine.”

What are you reading right now?


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WWW Wednesdays #182 – August 8th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m still buddy reading The 7 Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton with Nicki @ Secret Library… We’ve been taking things slow as to fully savour this little masterpiece… WHAT A BOOK!! This is definitely going to appear on my list of 2018 favorites. I’ve also picked up The Tango War by Mary Jo McConahay, a non fiction WWII book about the role of Latin America in WWII. I’m not really far into it, but so far it’s interesting. And last but not least, I’ve started another Spanish reread of the Harry Potter series! The third book is one of my favorites and I’m looking forward to spend more time with Sirius and Lupin. Harry Potter Y El Prisionero De Azkaban it is!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. It’s Okay To Laugh by Nora McInerny Purmort (DNF 66%, 0 stars) REVIEW 16/08
I like reading memoirs every once in a while and when I saw It’s Okay To Laugh being compared to the memoirs of Jenny Lawson, I just HAD to get a copy. Fierce and hysterically funny? Sign me up for that! Sadly, I’m feeling kind of cheated now I have picked it up… Because there is no way It’s Okay To Laugh bares any similarities with the work of that author. Both the writing style and tone were just off for me, and it felt rather repetitive and almost nagging to me.

2. The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse (2/5 stars) REVIEW 13/08
If you like science fiction, are looking for something different and don’t mind repetition in the plot, you will probably enjoy The Echo Room a lot better than I did. I still really like the idea behind this story, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to enjoy actually reading it. Between the lack of crucial information, repetitive chapters and lack of connection to the story and characters I had a hard time making it to the final page, although things did improve later on. The story was just too strange and vague for me… But like I said before, the problem might just have been me.

3. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 16/08
Britt-Marie Was Here is already the fourth book I’ve picked up, and this story has only reconfirmed my love for his stories. Fredrik Backman is a true master in creating unique and flawed characters that you cannot help falling in love with. It was so great seeing more of Britt-Marie! Basically, I loved every single minute of this book, and while nothing can beat Ove, both My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry and Britt-Marie Was Here currently share a second place on my list of Backman favorites.

4. The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman (3/5 stars) REVIEW 19/08
I admit I wasn’t completely convinced by the first book when I read it last year, mostly because the whole just felt a bit too chaotic and too many different elements trying to be squeezed into one story. I picked up the sequel anyway, both because I was curious to see how things would continue and because it fitted the Magical Readathon challenge… While things did improve and the story seemed to be more coherent, I still wish more focus would have been on the Library. There is a lot going on, we have werewolves, dragons, fae and magic, the story is partly set in Venice… But somehow the spark is missing? The whole thing actually felt a bit dull and rather slow-paced for a story about magical creatures and a plot to start a war that might destroy an alternate world or two.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

As I’m still reading Evelyn Hardcastle, I’ve been posponing other thriller read as to not confuse the two plots. I’m hoping to pick up the NG ARCs The Confession by Jo Spain and Truth And Lies by Caroline Mitchell some time soon though, because the publish dates are coming closer… I also need to read the ARC The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang soon. My newest TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris.


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WWW Wednesdays #181 – August 1st

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently buddy reading The 7 Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton with Nicki @ Secret Library and I definitely understand the love for this book now… WOW. This is definitely promising to be another full 5 star read to add to my short list of absolute favorites this year… Fingers crossed! I also picked up It’s Okay To Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort, a memoir that is being compared to Jenny Lawson’s memoirs, but I’m just not feeling the humor yet.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Run And Hide by Alan McDermott (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/08
Run And Hide is fast, ruthless and lethal. I’m positive the right target group will absolutely love this action-packed spy thriller that reads like a blockbuster action movie. I myself had problems with both the credibility, male-focused comments and writing style in general, but like I said before that might just be me not being the right target group for this one. If you are able to connect to the writing style, you won’t find a boring minute in this story.

2. Misery by Stephen King (4/5 stars) REVIEW 04/08
I definitely had a great time reading Misery, although it doesn’t feel the right word for a story this creepy. I liked the Misery chapters in between the actual plot, as it added another level and more dept to the plot itself. And I wouldn’t wish Annie upon my worst enemy! Boy, she is a true nutter… Writers, beware. She is stuff nightmares are made of. If you enjoy reading his work, Misery should definitely be on your reading list as well.

3. Kids Of Appetite by David Arnold (2/5 stars) REVIEW 04/08
Unfortunately Kids Of Appetite just wasn’t for me. I have seen this story has pretty extreme reactions, people either loving or strongly disliking it, so definitely don’t give up on it yet if you enjoy stories with unique characters and writing style. Because that’s the main struggle here: the writing. While unique and original, it is something that either works for you and makes you want to sing out loud, OR makes you want to throw things at the wall in frustration. Not that my singing would actually make anyone happy in the first place, but sadly my walls might have taken a hit or two here.

4. Murder Map (now called Never Say Goodbye) by Richard Parker (4/5 stars) REVIEW 14/08
If you enjoy detective thrillers and solving whodunits, Murder Map is a very entertaining addition to your reading list. While for me it lacked the little something extra to really make it stand out from other detective series, there is no doubt that the writing is strong, the plot twists are there and the killer is well disguised. The idea behind the plot is an interesting one as well! And the ending is a killer. All in all not a bad start of a new detective series!

5. Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops by Jen Campbell (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/08
This is the perfect book to use as a gift for anyone working in a bookshop or library, or any booklover in general for that matter! Fun, entertaining and full of weird situations that will make both your eyebrows raise and wonder what those customers were thinking when they opened the door to the bookshop that day… But at least it has given us this book to brighten up our day.

6. Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone (3/5 stars) REVIEW 10/08
Click’d wasn’t a bad read and I really liked the idea behind this story, but overall I found the story to be rather bland. The plot has that geeky feel with two of the main characters creating an app/game and the whole progress of coding and dealing with bugs in the code plays a big role throughout the story. The other main theme is friendship, which could work really well, but there were just too many cliches for me involved. I don’t mind a cliche or two, but if there are just too many piling up it starts to get annoying and less interesting.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to make a dent into my NG ARCs, so I need to pick up both The Confession by Jo Spain and The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse some time soon. And since I seem to be in the mood for lighter reads, I’ve put Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman on the top of my TBR pile. He is easily one of my absolute favorite authors and I can’t wait to read more about Britt-Marie. My newest TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris.


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