Friday, September 2, 2016

Book Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

"I Let You Go" by Clare Mackintosh
First published in the U.S. in 2016
369 pages
My rating: 3.5 out of 5
Image from Goodreads

The Short Of It:

A decent detective story/psychological thriller -- complete with the requisite twist -- that kept me turning pages. I read the whole thing in two days.

The Long Of It:
A rainy fall day in Bristol, England. A 5-year-old-boy walking home from school with his mom. A hit-and-run car accident. A dead child. A heartbroken, bereft mother.

Destroyed by the accident, Jenna Gray retreats to a tiny stone cottage on the cost of Wales where she takes up a hermit-like existence. She befriends only a handful of locals and, an artist by trade, starts making a living by taking photographs of words written in the sand at the gorgeous beach where she's taken up residence. And she tries constantly to forget the horrors of that devastating day, which torment her waking hours and seep into her dreams.

Meanwhile, detectives Ray Stevens, Kate Evans and the rest of their team are tasked with finding the driver who mowed down little Jacob. The few leads they have are dead ends, and eventually they're ordered to close the case. But Ray and Kate keep working on it in their own time, determined to track down the driver of the car who so heartlessly left a little boy dying in his mother's arms on the wet pavement. But when they finally do, something doesn't quite add up.

This was the fourth British police drama/psychological thriller I've read this year, and while it was the best of the bunch I still didn't love it. These books are inevitably compared to "Gone Girl" or "The Girl on the Train" -- now the gold standard for psychological thrillers -- but they never seem to have the edge-of-your-seat intensity or the intricate characterization that made those two books so magical.

Still, I did enjoy "I Let You Go." It had a good twist, it was fairly well-written, and it's obvious that Mackintosh, a former police officer herself, is intimately familiar with police practices, as well as the utter grief of losing a child, which she mentions in the author's note. It was an easy read that took me no time at all, and I recommend it if you're craving a quick thriller that'll keep you turning pages to find out what happened.

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