I Let You Go - Clare Mackintosh

Genre: Thriller
Synopsis: A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn't have prevented it. Could she? In a split second, Jenna Gray's world is shattered. Desperate to escape her past, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories. DI Ray Stevens is tasked with seeking justice for a mother who is living every parent's worst nightmare. Determined to get to the bottom of the case, he puts both his professional and personal life on the line. As Ray and his team seek to uncover the truth, Jenna, slowly, begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating.


Review: I picked this one up because I saw rave five star reviews on a little Facebook book club page that I occasionally visit. I thought that might be because the author was amidst all the ravers, thanking them for their kind words, but honestly, this book is almost entirely deserving of every positive word I've read about it. Aside from a little niggle or two, I too found it to be one of the most enjoyable, well-written, and genuinely surprising twisty-thrillers I've read this year. Not this year, ever.

The novel is written from a couple of different perspectives - third person for DI Stevens, first person for Jenna Gray, and later a slightly different perspective for another character.The writing itself is fantastic, especially for a debut novel. The pace is quite slow for the first half or so, and I spent a lot of that time thinking that it's a very pretty book, in terms of prose, but wondering why people think its so great. Cue twist. I don't want to give anything away, but suffice it to say that reading the execution of this twist is a masterclass in how to manipulate your reader. I fully intend to read the first half again, just to pick out all the little details that the author *had* to have put so much care into just to make the whole thing not just work, but work without ever raising suspicion. One of the best twists I have ever read. It is however, somewhat undermined by a second, utterly needless and largely irrelevant twist. It shook me out of my enjoyment of the novel by being so unlikely as to be farcical. That said, its irrelevance allows it to be overlooked, so the book remains largely a great accomplishment.

I firmly preferred the events of Jenna's experience to anything going on with DI Stevens - while he was a likeable character, I wasn't too fussed by his personal or social lives, or the characters involved. Jenna on the other hand, was a beautifully written, gently flawed, deeply traumatized character. The characters in her picturesque locale and even her dog are all likeable characters, so its no surprise I much preferred reading her sections of the book. I had somewhat mixed feelings about this book upon finishing it, as a result of the couple of things that grated, but overall I think it is absolutely worth reading, for the epic first twist, if nothing else.

Rating: 5/5

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