I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go is the psychological thriller debut novel written by the author Clare Mackintosh. There is already a second book by her to be published later this year which I can’t wait to read, called I See You.

This book will be very difficult to review because spoilers can really ruin it, and I mean it. It starts with a bang – a hit and run of a 5 years old child called Jacob on the road, child’s mother devastated, and it all slowly builds up from there in apparently linear fashion, at least for a while.

However at the middle of the book we’re hit with the biggest mother-load of twists that I can remember in a book. It turns out things are not as we were led to believe, and I had to actually go back to the first few pages in the book to see where I missed the clues. They were there, but oh so subtle…

Jenna is the main character. After the accident she leaves the place where she used to live, ending up in Wales in a tiny community of a few people. All which are initially quite mistrustful of her. Over time she manages to earn their trust and even the friendship of a few people in the village, while also slowly building up her photography / postcard business. However she can’t sleep at night feeling lost with grief, pain and fear. So much fear.

Ray Stevens is a police investigator who is working her case with his team. He has his own demons to fight and his attraction to one of his officers on the case, which makes his life at home miserable and his desire to solve this strange case ever more.

The story is told from a few different points of view, and each person telling the story had their own reasons for doing what they did. Included the evil bastard who…oh well, I’ll let you read the book to find out. But boy I hated him so much.

I think there are few books where you manage to feel so many different things about one particular character, both good and bad, based on how the story unfolded. I guess reserving judgement for Jenna till the end of the book is the best thing to do, but it’s quite hard, because we are not machines, we are humans with feelings – and quite judgmental as well, I must add.

At about 3 quarters of the book I started to really see through the veil of hidden clues and red herrings, and when the end plot was revealed, I was already on top of it all. That didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book at all, because I still had enough small surprises and mind games to come across that kept my suspense intact throughout the whole time. Plus I enjoyed the author’s writing a lot, which is quite rare to find in a debut novel.

Let’s just say the book is very smartly written by an author who knew what she was doing the whole time. She knew we would pretty much all stop and say ‘wow’ at the appropriate moments and savor every minute in between. I can’t wait to read her second novel, because if it will be as strong as her first one, Clare Mackintosh will definitely end up on my most favorite author’s list.

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