Monday, January 21, 2013

The Confession (Domenic Stansberry, 2004)

Not too sure about this one to be honest. It's about this forensic psychologist asshole, ex-playboy now richly married, who gets framed for a murder of his mistress and tries to prove his innocence. No, wait a minute! Things may not be so simple and straight-forward. Maybe he wasn't framed after all, maybe his confession is just a deliberate mind fuck used to convince the jury (=readers). But can they (we) trust/believe him since he suffers from some amnesia causing mental sickness?!? I think not, especially because his previous wife had also died in suspicious circumstances and besides that there are some other similar and unsolved crimes mentioned.

And you too did see it coming, didn't you? It needs to be said that it's not very obvious at the beginning. But the whole thing just doesn't move anywhere and soon you realize that the whole point of this novel is (will be) the shocking (?) final twist. Don't get me wrong - it's interesting enough and not boring at all as there's a bunch of interesting characters ranging from shady private investigators and gamblers to not-so-straight district attorney and defense lawyer. But trouble is that they don't really contribute to the story and as a result suspense doesn't get sustained enough. It takes a bit too long to really take off the ground (part 3 - titled Murder - starts on page 80!) and then too soon loses its sharpness. Second half contains much too much psychological crap and narration could surely use more dialogue.

It does have few cool things I'll remember this by. It's written exceptional well and manages to create very sinister and unsettling atmosphere. Also succeeds to describe police and court procedures to a great detail so author sure did his homework in the research department! What I liked the most is that all characters are more or less unsympathetic assholes. Brave decision and somehow I don't think Mr. Stansberry will get many offers from Hollywood for adapting this one to the big screen. Our main protagonist cheats his wife (and - for fuck's sake - wears a pony tail!), his wife cheats him (bitch even tries to shoot him!) and his mistress cheats her fiancee. P.I. involved is willing to bend the rules and let's not even start about that blackmailing gambler snake. But the best character (unfortunately also most underused in my opinion) is his defense lawyer Jamie. Manipulating bitch is a living proof why people hate layers!

All in all it's an interesting read. Maybe too ambitious and at times a little pretentious, trying too to hard to be original.



Jake Danser, forensic psychologist

California Hills

Body count
3 + another one in unrelated (?) case

Elizabeth the wife, Sara the mistress, Jamie the lawyer. Latter not really a dame in the right sense of the word but mentioned never than less because she's the best character in the book.

Our hero suffers from Hayes Syndrome. Or Blackout Syndrome, as it is more commonly known. But although this is supposed to be one of the major plot vehicles he doesn't really blackout that often.

Can't argue about it this time as the whole book is written as a confession.

Sara is strangled with a necktie so no objects there. But illustration is a bit sloppy. Victim's face is not terrified enough and colors are way off. Especially its purple/orange background and blue hands holding a necktie.

Cool lines:  
I could guess what he was thinking. My background matched the FBI profile for certain kinds of criminals. So did that of a lot of other people though. President Clinton, for example. Martin Luther King.

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