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thrillerI Let You Go   by Clare Mackintosh

A horrible accident shatters a young mother’s life in a single second. As she momentarily lets go of her child Jacob’s hand, he darts into the street and is hit by a speeding car.  Instead of staying to help, the driver turns and flees the scene, leaving the mother to cradle her dying child in her arms.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh begins with this tragic scene and Part 1 of this psychological, domestic thriller follows Jenna Gray as she flees Bristol for the isolated Welsh Coast in an attempt to put that horrible night behind her. I Let You Go is told in alternating chapters between Jenna and her haunted attempt to start over in a new place, and the police who can’t find even one tangible lead in the hit-and-run case.  Jenna’s new life in Wales seems to be more an existence than a life, and even when she begins to build a business and a relationship, events from her past continue to torment and haunt her.  At first while reading this gripping story, these events appear to be very clear, yet Jenna’s thoughts and memories begin to suggest that there is much more going on in her past that she does not want anyone to discover.  The sense of unease builds through the first part of this novel until all assumptions are abruptly and disturbingly shattered and the shocking twist is enough to make you re-read the first part with much closer attention.

Part 2 of the novel gradually and terrifyingly begins to allow glimpses into the truth of night of the accident and into Jenna’s past life. The plot twists don’t stop but continue to surprise and disturb throughout the remainder of the novel.  The pace escalates quickly in the second half, moving from the slower, almost lulling feeling of Part 1 to a frantic, hurtling speed as the pieces of the puzzle come together.

While I Let You Go is a fine psychological thriller, it also reads a bit like a police procedural. The author, Clare Mackintosh, was herself a police officer, and her descriptions certainly ring true, especially with the knowledge that this debut is based on a real-life hit-and-run that she was investigating.   The story also allows a more personal glimpse into the lives of the police officers who try desperately to solve these cases and bring closure to the families involved, often at the risk of destroying their own lives.  The lead detective, Ray, struggles to balance work, ambition and desire with a family life that may be just a little too mundane when compared with the excitement of his cases. Ms. Mackintosh’s description of the Welsh coast line and village life also adds a depth to this novel that takes it beyond your average psychological thriller.

While the novel often has a bit of a movie-like feel to it, the twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your seat, never entirely sure what is coming next. If you are looking for a thriller similar to Gone Girl, or Reconstructing Amelia, then I Let You Go will surely satisfy.  Be the first to read this debut novel; click here to place a hold today!