“Confessions” by Kanae Minato (2014)
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Page Length: 240 pages (paperback edition)
Her pupils killed her daughter. Now, she will have her revenge.
After an engagement that ended in tragedy, all Yuko Moriguchi had to live for was her four-year-old child, Manami. Now, after a heartbreaking accident on the grounds of the middle school where she teaches, Yuko has given up and tendered her resignation.
But first, she has one last lecture to deliver. She tells a story that will upend everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers, and sets in motion a maniacal plot for revenge.
Narrated in alternating voices, with twists you’ll never see coming,Confessions probes the limits of punishment, despair, and tragic love, culminating in a harrowing confrontation between teacher and student that will place the occupants of an entire school in harm’s way. You’ll never look at a classroom the same way again. (description from Goodreads)
I came into this book knowing it would be a dark & gritty murder mystery, but was still surprised at the story’s intensity. Instead of a slow build-up like many mystery novels, from the very first page the reader is thrown into the midst of chaos. And all the action is catapulted by the most diabolical revenge plan I’ve ever read in any book.
Each chapter is the point of view of someone who has a direct link to the crime or is one of the students in A&B’s (the code names Moriguchi gives the killers) classroom. Through these perspectives we get to hear everyone’s view of what happened rather than the story end up being one-sided. The reader gets a deeper looks at the character’s emotions that cause their actions, so the novel is more of a psychological thriller than the standard “bump in the night” kind of story.
I was amazed at Kanae for spinning together a tale mystery and murder. She took a lot of time to put detail in each aspect of the story and constantly keeps her readers engaged. The book definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and I love the complexity and detail put into to each character.
The characters are twisted and eerily calm about committing their acts which is mainly harbored resentment that has built up over the years. There is a steady progression throughout the plot which leads to an unexpected shocking ending. The only negative thing I could say about the book is that the English at times read awkwardly due to it being a translated work. I also understand from my own personal translation experience that this happens sometimes.
A dark thriller definitely not for the faint of heart!