I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One rainy evening, an accident occurs on a quiet neighborhood street. Walking home from school with his mother, young Jacob is hit by a car, and killed. Even worse, the car quickly backs up and drives away, leaving Jacob's mother shattered and Detective Inspector Ray Stevens and his team, particularly eager young DC Kate, to seek out answers.
With her world ruined by the accident, Jenna Gray seeks refuge by the coast. She finds a small cottage, gets a dog, and tries to escape the nightmares of the accident that haunt both her dreams and waking hours. Meanwhile, Ray and Kate are forced to close Jacob's case, no closer to the suspect than when they started. But the two remain undaunted, working on the case in their off hours, and an anniversary plea one year after the accident turns up some potential leads. What exactly happened that rainy night? Will justice ever come for Jacob--and peace for Jenna?
This was an excellent thriller-- a real surprise, honestly. The beginning of the novel started out slow, and was so horrendously sad, what with Jacob's accident and his mother's terrible grief. It was one of several book's I'd read lately involving the death of a child, and I was so saddened that I almost set it aside. I'm glad I didn't though, because while the book is gut-wrenchingly sad, it's excellent, tense, and suspenseful. Divided into several parts, things pick up immensely at the end of the first part, when Mackintosh throws in an excellent plot twist (I shan't say anymore so as not to ruin it).
Mackintosh is excellent at conveying Jenna's anguish and the sadness that the accident causes. We also have a side-plot of Ray and his feelings toward his subordinate, Kate. Ray's home life is unbalanced: he's dealing with issues with his son, Tom, and his wife. These are a bit distracting at times, but serve to humanize him as well. The police subplot (watching them try to piece things together) is interesting, also. In fact, the book alternates in perspectives: we hear from Ray, Jenna, and one more character. In part 2, we go back in time for some of the characters, but remain in the present with Ray and Kate as they (much like us, the readers) try to solve this crime. It's an interesting technique and works surprisingly well. Jenna is a complicated character, but a well-drawn one.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this book. I won't spoil anything, but I will say that there is definitely a trigger for domestic abuse/violence, so please be forewarned for that. There's a character in the novel who reminds me of the husband in that creepy Julia Roberts' film "Sleeping with the Enemy" (I'm totally dating myself here). As such I was up late reading one night, completely creeped out. However, that's the sign of an excellent thriller in my opinion. I raced through the last 2/3 of the book and really wasn't disappointed. There are several more twists, but they actually are pretty believable, not outlandish like in many thrillers. Definitely recommend this one (with the abuse caveat thrown in). A unique psychological thriller that's worth your time, for sure.
I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley - thank you! The U.S. edition is available everywhere on 5/3/16.
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