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POSSESSION
by Katie Lowe
St Martin's, February 2021
352 pages
$27.99
ISBN: 1250200288


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

POSSESSION by Katie Lowe is a thrilling tangle of memories, true, false, and both. Ten years after her husband's murder, Hannah has found a peaceful life with her daughter, and boyfriend. That life is shattered when a podcast known for revisiting old crimes (and a penchant for getting previous convictions overturned) brings its focus on her family's tragedy. With each episode, the memory of what happened that night threatens to reveal itself, and if it does, she could lose everything she's worked for.

Hannah is the triumph of an unreliable narrator for the simple fact that she herself does not remember the events of that night. As the novel goes on, she is forced back into moments and fractions of memory that seem impossible to be hers. Each slowly reveals her truth and provides a perspective on those who are working against her.

With the Convictions podcast sparking a new light on the ten-year-old murder, it serves as the perfect device to twist our own perceptions on whodunit. While we only hear the podcast through Hannah's ears, every thought and reaction she has to it involves us a little deeper. But as more comes to the light, the more a target is placed on Hannah's back. Not only is the listening audience uncertain about what Hannah might have done, but Hannah herself is unsure. And as threats start to come in, knowing who is telling the truth becomes near impossible.

Lowe's writing style is fantastically sinister. The setting of the small town Hannah lives in comes alive on every page, thanks to wonderful visual images. Some repeated imagery adds an almost sensory recall, making a chill run down the spine with every tap, or drip, or creak. Shadows and voices are almost alive in your ear or eye as Hannah herself sees them, and if you read this novel on a quiet night alone, you might find yourself drifting into the same feelings of losing it that Hannah experiences throughout.

Each word rings with a growing sense of falseness, steady leading to a climax where the truth at last spills out. There is a delicate balance between what should be believed and who we want to root for, and I imagine even more delicate to write for the unsuspecting audience. Lowe manages that balance beautifully with careful hints that all add up exactly when needed and crafts a thrilling tale that leaves you guessing even to the end.

POSSESSION is a chilling thriller made all the more chilling because it raises the fear of how our memory may used against us. You will find yourself questioning everything, including yourself, as you attempt to piece together what Hannah knows and what she chooses not to.

Keshena Hanson recently earned a degree in English from University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, and was published in the University's Sheepshead Review. Her love for mystery started with Blue's Clues, and now she reads any mystery she can get her hands on.

Reviewed by Keshena Hanson, January 2021

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