It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve had to stop reading a book I was really into really late at night because I thought I might not be able to go to sleep: Possession by Katie Lowe.
February 9, 2021
St. Martin’s Press
Conviction @ConvictionPod · 1m
The investigating officer: “I’ve seen a lot of homicides in the years since, but…that’s the one that keeps me up at night.”
The husband’s best man: “They had everybody fooled. Or at least, she did. But I always knew something was off.”
Hannah, the wife: “I told you. I don’t remember anything. I don’t know.”
That’s all to come, this season, on Conviction. Get ready for our most twisted season yet.
Ten years ago, Hannah’s husband was brutally murdered in their home, and she (conveniently) doesn’t remember a thing about that night. But the police charged someone else—a stranger—and put him away for life. And Hannah packed up her six-year-old daughter and left London behind.
But now her hard-won countryside peace is threatened. Conviction, a viral true crime podcast known for getting cases reopened and old verdicts overturned, has turned its attention to Hannah’s husband’s murder for its new season. They say police framed the man who was found guilty, and that Hannah has more suspicious secrets than just her memory loss: a history of volatility; citations at the clinic where she worked as a psychiatrist; dependencies on alcohol and pills; and a familicidal grandmother, locked away in a Gothic insane asylum until her death. As Hannah loses the trust of everyone she loves, the only person she feels she can confide in is a former colleague, Darcy, who’s come back into her life—but who may have motives of her own. But Hannah can’t tell even Darcy her deepest secret: that she’s still tormented by the memory of her husband and the crater he carved through her life.
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Every once in a while, less frequently than I’d like, I start reading a book that I find it very difficult to put down, that I want to read as quickly as possible, because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS! Possession by Katie Lowe very much fits that description.
Possession moves through several time periods in the life of narrator Hannah. At the beginning of the novel, I wondered if I really wanted to read about a woman who killed her husband and then somehow managed to get away with it, especially since Hannah seems to doubt her own recollection of what happened. The image of blood on her hands. Telling her little girl to be quiet. Does she really not remember what happened or is she leading us, her readers, on?
The death of Hannah’s husband Graham is suddenly being revisited by True Crime podcast, Conviction. In tandem, Hannah’s life begins to unravel as the case of Graham’s accused killer unravels. Likewise, thanks to social media, Hannah’s daughter, Evie, feels the effects of having a mother who falls under suspicion.
As the novel progresses and author Lowe takes us on a labyrinth of plot, I was captive. There were twists and turns that had my readerly head spinning. And who was this old acquaintance, Darcy? Whoever, she was going to turn out to be, I didn’t trust her from the beginning.
Like many mystery/thriller novels (and movies and TV, for that matter), there is always those moments of wondering how the narrator could be so silly. In Hannah’s case, since she is a relatively smart, psychiatrist, why is everything with her a big secret? Why doesn’t she share more with the utterly lovely Dan whom she’s in love with? But, as we explore Hannah’s life through the years, we begin to appreciate her as a complex character.
In the midst of the mystery, there is a sense of Hannah being haunted, which is extremely well done and which is why I had to stop reading one night. Voices of her dead husband–whom she may or may not have killed–in a dilapidated mental hospital surrounded by woods? Yep, evocatively written. I believe that in one respect this is the possession referred to in the title. Although, with all of the different discoveries in Possession, I believe the title can refer to several aspects besides ghostly possession.
The novel was well-paced, until the ending which seemed to roar by. So many revelations. So many duplicitous people.
Possession mostly worked for me and kept me engaged. There were scenes I thought could have been done in a different manner or perhaps with a little less heavy hand. I would think that many readers of mystery thrillers would find that Possession works well for them.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4 out of 5 butterflies
My review of Katie Lowe’s The Furies here.