Possession is a psychological thriller that follows a woman psychiatrist named Hannah Catton, whose husband Graham was brutally murdered ten years prior. Hanna claims she doesn’t remember a single thing about that night (some say “conveniently”), but another suspect was caught and convicted, with the case being wrapped up as a “robbery gone wrong.” Hannah and her young daughter subsequently packed up and left town, never looking back.
Now, a true-crime podcast called “Conviction,” which is known for overturning convictions and getting to the truth, has turned its attention to Hannah’s case and is now threatening her new life. The podcast maintains that the police deliberately framed an innocent man for the murder and that everyone needs to take another look at Hannah. Each of the podcast’s episodes become more and more disturbing.
There are also several dark secrets that Hannah’s been hiding that come to light as the story progresses. Her deceased husband’s family and friends all get on the podcast and pretty much trash Hannah, almost coming right out and stating that they’ve always thought she committed the murder.
And this is when Hannah’s life begins to quickly unravel, especially once the people closest to her start to doubt her innocence. As more questions are raised, Hannah becomes the center of a public outcry and begins to worry about her and her family’s safety.
It also becomes evident throughout the book that her mental state is quickly deteriorating, and in the process, she becomes quite an unreliable narrator. Given her dodgy past, I certainly began questioning her motivations as well as her sanity.
So the question is: did she really do it? Does she really not remember the events of that night? Things get even more interesting when there’s what may or may not be a paranormal element is introduced into the story.
I also found this to be kind of a cautionary tale about social media and how some influencers will do anything to garner “Likes” and “Subscribes.” It also illustrated how one’s life could even be put in danger when you’re in the raging public’s eye.
This book intrigued me right from the get-go, and my head was spinning from all the different directions the story went in, resulting in a super twisty tale. This is one of those books where you question everything and everyone and aren’t quite sure who to believe, especially once it becomes evident at some point that Hannah is lying about certain things.
I found Hannah to be complicated and utterly fascinating. What we have here is a multi-layered woman with a plethora of secrets and a troubled past. It was a bit heartbreaking, however, to see her crumbling after publicly being called a murderer — although we’re not quite sure whether she is one or not.
I enjoyed the different timelines of the book, which moves back and forth between 2008 (the year the murder occurred), a couple of years before the murder, and the present day, with each piece dropping hints as to what really happened. Though many clues were revealed, I was unsuccessful in guessing the ending. This book was like a puzzle — every time you think you can predict what the image will be, a new piece slides into place.
I enjoyed the author’s innovative use of the true-crime podcast as a plot device. This is the second such novel that I’ve read that does this, and both times, I’ve loved the result. I feel it can really create a unique spin to a story, and it certainly did in this one. I may need to start checking out true crime podcasts on my own.
This ended up being quite a dark, haunting, and emotionally intense novel, which addresses a variety of themes such as domestic abuse, mental health, murder, guilt, past mistakes, and the role of social media in our lives. With clever red herrings and misdirects, the author obscures the truth about what’s really happening to Hannah until the startling conclusion.
All in all, Possession is a fast-paced, gripping, and spooky tale of revenge and murder that I loved.
Thanks to St. Martin’s and NetGalley for a review copy.
Possession goes on sale on January 26 but you can preorder it now from retailers.
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