Published by Berkley Books on November 29th 2016
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On a rainy afternoon, a mother's life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . .
I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.
At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.
My 2018 reading is off to a rough start, y’all. It seems like the books I’ve read so far this year, admittedly only a few, have been fairly mediocre. And I really don’t like writing reviews for these 3-star ‘fine but not great’ books. It’s extremely difficult to find something to say other than “It was…. fine.”
I have to be intentionally vague with this review – this is a mystery, after all. I think your enjoyment of this book will depend on how quickly you figure out the mystery and the secrets that go along with it. Unfortunately for me, I figured it out pretty quickly, so while I enjoyed the story, the mystery itself was a non-starter. I’ll do my best to avoid spoiling anything and put any real information behind spoiler tags.
I Let You Go is split into a few different POVs, some of which I can’t talk about because of spoilers. One of those POVs, though, is Detective Inspector Ray Stevens, who is in charge of the investigation. Clare Mackintosh’s past as a former police officer showed in these sections, and the pieces dealing with the actual investigation were well-written and rang true. The parts dealing with his home and private life, however, were less well-done. It seemed like they were thrown into to the book in order to increase the non-case related tension, but they were unnecessary and ultimately came to a whole lot of nothing.View Spoiler »One of my biggest problems with this book was the inclusion of Ian’s POV. Not only do we have to read these sections, which are misogynistic and violent and full of hatred of all women, specifically Jenna, but they’re written in second person POV, which means they read as a lesser version of You by Caroline Kepnes. I hated every time I turned the page and realized we were back in Ian’s head. Unlike the Kepnes book, the use of second person POV here just didn’t work. I don’t need to be inside the head of a domestic abuser to know how they operate and think and that they blame the victim for their actions. It was gratuitous and unnecessary and the story would have been stronger without them. « Hide Spoiler
Overall, this book ultimately came down firmly in the middle for me. I thought the mystery itself was fine, though I thought Mackintosh tried to hard to throw in twists and surprises, most of which ultimately fell flat. The final surprise, especially. That struck me as entirely too coincidental and implausible, and it somewhat colored my overall impression of the book. This book relied on too many farfetched coincidences and seemingly smart people doing really stupid things for me to be fully engrossed. Once everything has been revealed, you can’t think too hard about it or it all falls apart, which isn’t something you want your readers to say about your mystery novel.