Within a few pages, The Confessor takes you to a dark, sordid, terrifying place. Behind the sanitised name of IR - or Information Retrieval - is a horrifying world of brutal torture. There are two IR agents, one of whom appears to be a good guy and one a villain, but which is which, and can a man who uses such brutal methods really be a hero, even if it is all done for the greater good and sanctioned by the government?
I found it hard to work out who was who and whether or not the central character Geiger was a good guy or a bad guy for a while. Even when I realised that he is the hero (or antihero) of the book, I found it hard to warm to him, despite the numerous references to his traumatic past. After reading a few other reviews, I realised that The Confessor is the sequel to The Inquisitor, which I haven't read, and I wonder if this is why I felt a bit lost. For about the first third of the book, I had the impression that I'd sat down to watch a film after missing the first half hour and was constantly trying to get up to speed and work out what was going on.
I found the characters to be too one-dimensional and stereotypical - Geiger had the potential to be interesting but his inability to express emotion or open up, even to himself, made it hard to empathise even with him. I found the first third of the book to be quite slow and hard-going, but the pace did pick up towards the end, although there were no big surprises.
star rating : 3.5/5
RRP : £7.99
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.