The Confession Mass Market Paperback – 2004
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Language:Chinese.Paperback. Pub Date :2004-10-1 Pages: 218 Publisher: Oversea Publishing House In Edgar-nominee Stansberrys compelling and incredibly dark modern noir shocker. forensic psychologist Jake Danser alternates between his day job-interviewing murder suspects then testifying to their culpability- and bedding as many women as possible without letting his beautiful wife catch on. When one of his mistresses ends up dead. the focus turns on Danser. and a weighty knot of a psychological puzzle begins to slowly unravel. Danser is a fascinating narrator because hes a shifty one. telling his story in small. measured bits (it is true. there are a few things I havent mentioned here about Angela and myself. he says nearly halfway into the story); the things going on in the world outside him are almost of secondary interest to what is going on inside his head. While the Hard C...
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Author Domenic Stansberry successfully utilizes the "confessional" style made most famous by Edgar Allan Poe is such tales as "The Black Cat" and "The Tell-Tale Heart." Luckily, Danser does not deluge us with the same multiple protestations regarding his samity as Poe's protagonists did. Stansberry's skillful prose style also lends a level of credence to The Confession, which is essentially a "didhedoit" where the lead character seems often as clueless as the readers.
Danser tells his own story, ten years after, so at the very least, we know he's not dead, but we don't know where he's telling it from (I had assumed it was prison). The confessional style works well for this tale of a man who doesn't seem entirely sure of his own innocence, keeping the all-important doubt in the reader's mind all the way through this highly suspenseful novel. It's easy to see how Stansberry was nominated for two previous Edgar Allan Poe awards: he really knows his way around the psychological crime genre.
The cover, by artist Richard B. Farrell (using his own hands and his wife as models), again represents the inside contents well. The title of the book would seem to give away the ending, but any mention of the ending at all is bound to be a giveaway of some sort. I'll just say, in the sensationalistic style of publishing blurbs everywhere (it doesn't seem entirely inappropriate for this line): "I confess! I was astounded by The Confession."
The narrator is very obviously unreliable. Due to his obvious lack of honesty the book ends up twisting in the wind looking for a way to be interesting and fails. It seems like psychology is supposed to be what draws the reader in. To that end, there is an attempt at deep psychological self-analysis. All of the analysis ends up feeling superficial. The analysis feels like it came from a single afternoon of research. It doesn't feel like several years of education or expert knowledge. The psychological hypothesizing actually works against the story in a very real way.
Also, as many others have said, the ending is horrid. The epilogue really seems to serve very little purpose. It reinforces what we already know and does very little to add anything to the story. The ending may have been intended to make the reader uneasy and strike a note of fear. In my opinion it felt a lot like filler used to stretch the word count.
I must admit that Stansberry did a good job of fulfilling the character. The dialogue and word choice is highly fitting. Stansberry's description of events and locations stay firmly in character. Also the character's actions seem to be logical for his personality. Stansberry allowed the protagonist to tell his story and kept his own voice nearly muted. Such self-censoring is something not seen often enough in modern literature. For that reason alone I give the story a two star rating.
It's hard to review this book without giving away the twist that really makes it fantastic. If you have read some of the other reviews or are familiar with noir themes, you may have figured it out already, but boy, is it done well! This is a very psychological book, and I will just say that the twist comes into play a bit before the halfway point (or maybe earlier, if you are more perceptive than me) when the reader realizes that all is not as it seems. Then, what starts out as a pretty formulaic (but still very well-written!) detective novel becomes increasingly unique and interesting.
This novel, like a lot of good noir films (and books for that matter), starts out a little slow and builds to a fantastic, dramatic crescendo. Yes, it's dark, but it's also great. Intelligent, psychological, twisted, and a perfect ending. Extremely well-written and satisfying. My favorite Hard Case Crime book yet by far, The Confession is unique and not to be missed.
This is one of those stories told entirely from the perspective of one character, a character whose narration may not be entirely trustworthy. Actually, to be more accurate, the author's story is more subtle and skillful than that: the narrator is actually entirely trustworthy, but one has to read very closely and, more importantly, in between the lines to get the whole story the narrator is telling us.
Still, you have to be able to get into a good, grim crime story involving dark obsessions or you probably won't enjoy this novel very much. I can take stories like this occasionally, but after reading "The Confession", I'm ready for a regular run-of-the-mill mystery featuring a wise-cracking detective trying to solve a routine murder case.
But, make no mistake, if you're in the mood for this sort of thing, Mr. Stansberry is the real deal. I'll definitely read something of his again... after I take a bit of a break after reading this story.
The book starts slowly but it's a sneaky slowness. Domenic Stansberry carefully lays out the mess that is Jake's life. Bit by tantalizing bit the reader gets the feeling that a lot of people are waiting for Jake to slip up. Jake has been asking for trouble for a long time and yet, it's a shock to see how hard fate smacks him down.
This is a tough litte book and it reads like it was published back in the orginal hard core pulp era. The tension builds slowly and remains feverishly high right up to the end. It's very, very good.