This is one of the first indie books for review that I was sent that was a mystery, so when Justin Stanisic contacted me asking for a review, I jumped at the chance. I've been reading mysteries since I was about 12 years old, and, other than YA, it's my favorite genre. There's something about getting lost in a case and trying to solve it before the detectives/police do that just makes me keep coming back for more. I was so glad I got the opportunity to read this.
Mary Lowry is a woman who doesn't have an easy life. She has a 21 year old daughter who is away at college, and a jerk of a boyfriend who I spent the whole book hating. She works as a waitress, and I imagined the diner she works in as one of those tiny diners with the greasy food that I absolutely love. While she's at work one day, a man comes in, orders something to drink, and shows Mary an old picture of a woman he claims is his sister. He explains how he hasn't seen her in twenty-two years, and asks if she recognizes the girl in the photo. She doesn't but tells the man, Father Robert McCullen, that she'll ask around. While doing so, she finds out some disturbing facts about Father McCullen and the man he really is.
Surprisingly, my husband actually read this book before I did, and he enjoyed it. He's not really into mysteries, more sci-fi and fantasy, so I figured it must have been good for him to say that he liked it a lot. I grabbed it off my shelf, and within the first 10 pages, was immersed. Hubby went to bed, I stayed up reading. Chewie wanted my attention, I kept on reading. 1:30AM came, I was still reading. I finally finished it, kicked myself for staying up so late, and then sat there and said "wow."
There really wasn't much about The Last Confession that I didn't like. All the characters were fleshed out and very realistic. I loved that the author, who is a man, was able to write in the tone of a 40ish year old woman, and I actually read it as a woman. It wasn't like it was forced, it was believable. In most books I read where the author is one gender but the main character is another, I can distinguish between the two, but in The Last Confession, I forgot about Justin Stanisic writing it and read as Mary. Kudos to Stanisic for doing that, because it's so rare. Robert McCullen, with all his secrets, was creepy in ways I can't describe without giving away too many spoilers.
I think the only thing I would have liked to see more of in The Last Confession is more with Father McCullen's mother. I think having more background info on what happened would be really great.
All in all, The Last Confession was a fantastic read. If Stanisic writes anything else, I'll definitely be checking it out.
More reviews can be found on my blog, Booktacular