Friday, March 11, 2016
Book Review: "I Let You Go" by Clare Mackintosh
Jenna Gray is desperate to escape the nightmare of the car crash that awakens her screaming each night. She is paralyzed by her loss and her fear, and feels that everyone around her is judging her. She flees to the coast of Wales, to a town that is nearly empty most of the year, except during the summertime. She keeps to herself, leading a spartan existence, and doesn't want to let anyone get close to her for fear they might get hurt as well. But despite her resolve to be alone, little by little she regains confidence and starts to get acclimated in her small town of Penfach, beginning a new career as a photographer and starting to trust people.
Meanwhile, two detectives, Ray and Kate, are trying to figure out who was responsible for Jacob's death. They're determined to do right by Jacob's mother and honor his memory by leaving no stone unturned. But this is a difficult case to solveit was rainy and dark, no one was able to figure out what kind of car hit him or see any noteworthy characteristics of the driver, and they really have no clues to follow. And while they want to chase down every lead, it's not long before they're pressured to drop the case and move on to other things, and Ray, who is hungry for a promotion to senior leadership, doesn't want to jeopardize his future.
I'm going to stop with the plot summary at this point for fear of giving anything away. There is one point in the book that made me literally say, "Wait, what?!?" It takes some interesting and perhaps unexpected turnssome of them work and some of them don't work as well, in my opinion. But this is definitely a book that kept me guessing for a bit until everything started to become clear.
Clare Mackintosh did a really good job creating her characters and reeling you into the plot, little by little, until you're hooked. She's a talented storyteller, and reading her notes about what in her own life inspired her to write this book definitely gave me more insight into the choices she made. I could have done without two of the plot threads, including the one in which Ray struggles with issues at home, because while it rounded out his character a bit, it felt unnecessary.
To the surprise of no one, the literary world is calling this book the next blockbuster thriller for those who loved The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl. (You know I loathe when they do this.) I guess these books do have something in common, but in the end, I liked I Let You Go a bit more than either of those. Definitely an intriguing read.
My thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review!!