Title: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: 377 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
The next blockbuster thriller for those who loved The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl... “a finely crafted novel with a killer twist.” (Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train)
On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .
I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.
At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them. Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner, says, “I read I Let You Go in two sittings; it made me cry (at least twice), made me gasp out loud (once), and above all made me wish I’d written it . . . a stellar achievement.”
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh is a spellbinding mystery that is full of jaw-dropping twists and turns.
While walking home from school with his mum, five year old Jacob is struck and killed by a driver who immediately flees the scene. Detective Inspector Ray Stevens and trainee Detective Constable Kate Evans are assigned to the case, but their investigation turns up no viable leads and they are soon ordered to move on to other cases. Haunted by the boy’s death, sculptor Jenna Gray moves to a small coastal town in Wales where she hopes to leave behind her disturbing memories and nightmares from that terrible day. Just as she begins to find a measure of peace and happiness, Stevens and Evans uncover new evidence that blows the case wide open and puts Jenna on a collision course with the past she has so desperately tried to leave behind.
Jenna’s struggle to escape the grip of her tragic past is absolutely heartrending. She leads a lonely existence on the cliffs overlooking the turbulent sea and she rebuffs the friendly overtures of the people she meets. As the months pass, she begins to pick up the pieces of her life and her passion for photography turns into a surprisingly lucrative career. Beginning to feel more at ease but still refusing to talk about her past, Jenna befriends her closest neighbor and unexpectedly finds romance. However, just when she dares to believe it is possible to start over with a clean slate, the break in Jacob’s case thrusts her into the limelight and ultimately endangers her hard-won peace and security.
DI Stevens is a hardworking investigator whose day to day job is filled with mind numbing administrative tasks. DC Evans is a go-getter who is new to his department and her enthusiasm and zeal reinvigorates Ray and reminds him of why he chose his career in the first place. Disappointed by their boss’s decision to move on from Jacob’s case, Ray and Kate continue working the case on their own time but it is not until the one year anniversary of his death their persistence pays off. Relying on their gut instincts, neither are fully convinced of their suspect’s guilt, but when their investigation turns up no new evidence, they are forced to allow justice to prevail. The pieces of the puzzle fall slowly into place but will they uncover the truth before it is too late?
The first half of I Let You Go is interesting and leisurely paced but it is not until an arrest is made in Jacob’s death that the novel becomes impossible to put down. The first major plot twist is absolutely shocking and completely impossible to predict. The novel moves at a brisk pace as the tragic truth about Jenna’s past is revealed in horrifying detail. As this riveting mystery thunders to a pulse-pounding and dramatic conclusion, Jenna is stunned by one final horrifying revelation. Clare Mackintosh seemingly ties up all of the loose ends in a short epilogue but the final scene leaves an unanswered question that will linger in readers’ minds long after the last page is turned. Fans of police procedurals absolutely do not want to miss this brilliant suspense-laden psychological thriller.