Book: I Let You Go

Title:  I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Reviewed by Lori Twichell
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense,
Publisher: Berkley
Date: May 3, 2016

It’s every mother’s nightmare. A simple split second decision on an ordinary day that shatters her world. A mother lets go of her son’s hand because they’re in sight of their home and moments later, he’s dead in a hit and run. How does one recover from that?

We get to experience this story from two different points of view. First, the Bristol police department. There’s a fierce determination to solve this case and bring justice to the family who lost their beautiful child. His death and the fact that someone would just callously turn around and leave him in his mother’s arms in the street, has profoundly affected the team working on the case. Though the clues are thin, something resonates with the pair who are investigating and they don’t want to give it up or let it go. Even when it looks like it will be an impossible case.

On the other side of the coin is Jenna Gray. Jenna has moved far away to a place where no one knows her in order to try and come to terms with the accident that won’t stop playing over and over in her head. The loss of her child, the devastation…all of it combine to make her somewhat of a hermit in the small seaside town where she’s chosen to live. She lives day to day in her grief, not interested in much of anything beyond mere survival. So when she begins making friends and building a tentative sort of life, she’s constantly afraid that it’s going to tumble like a house of cards.

Since becoming a parent, my tastes in film, television and books have changed. I learned early on in my parenting journey that I was not good with anything where children were harmed or died. When I read the description on this book, something called to me but I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to handle it. I’ll admit to quickly skimming through the opening parts of the book. I didn’t need to read about the accident in detail and that wasn’t something I really wanted to delve into.

However, once I got past that part, I was completely drawn into this book and unable to put it down. My entire imagination was captured with the police, as they tried to investigate this crime and the woman who was unable to stop living it. I loved this book. The plot moved along at a nice clip and the characters were engaging enough to keep me interested from beginning to end.

I pride myself on being the person who can see twists coming a mile away and yet this one caught me completely off guard. So much so that I had to go back and re-read chapters a couple of times to see if I could even pick up clues as to where things were leading. Even going back, I couldn’t see the twists coming. I had to put down the book and wrap my mind around it before I could go forward! And even then, I still couldn’t see how things were going to unfold. It feels like it twisted even more and took me to yet another brand new place that was unexpected!

I loved this book. I was not expecting it to be this tightly woven, engaging, and surprising. Well crafted from beginning to end, I am highly impressed with Mackintosh and what she built here. This is a finely tuned, perfectly plotted suspense novel.  I can easily see Clare Mackintosh becoming a favorite of mine if she keeps putting out books that are this good!

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