On a rainy day in December, a driver hits and kills Jacob Jordan then speed saway. DI Ray Stevens and DC Kate Evans are determined from the start to see the killer prosecuted but when months go by without any new evidence, they're forced to close the case.
Meanwhile, Jacob's mother has disappeared, frustrated by her belief that the police aren't doing everything they can to find the person who stole her son away from her.
I Let You Go first came across my radar last fall thanks to glowing reviews in the UK. Even Elizabeth Haynes threw her own blurb into the mix calling it "Absorbing, authentic, and deeply unsettling: a stellar achievement, and so deliciously clever." This is Elizabeth Haynes, folks, an author whose recommendations I've taken on title before and she's never steered me wrong!
I settled in with I Let You Go expecting some sort of twisted story or crazy twist to the story and I have to say I was rewarded. When part two began, my jaw was on the floor already and there was still more than half of the book left to get through! And at no point did I actually have the story figured out, even though I was sure I had it more than once.
One of the interesting things Mackintosh does is play with the timeline. In the early chapters it's not entirely clear how much time has passed until Stevens's boss pulls him in to close the case after six months. We see more of the passage of time through Stevens as well with updates on his son in particular, who's struggling in school. Without them, and a few notations about holidays passing (part two begins one year after the accident), I automatically assumed early on that we were moving in a much quicker timeline. It was somewhat disorienting to realize that was not the case, but pleasantly so as it was the first indication I had that Mackintosh was already bending my perceptions almost unnoticeably.
I Let You Go isn't an easy read in terms of the topics covered and the emotions they evoke in the reader. Especially when you take into account how the author is actually playing with our minds throughout the book! It is an utterly fascinating read, though, and the insight given through the eyes of the various characters makes it even more so.
Early in the book, chapters alternate between the police and Jenna. Stevens and Evans become almost obsessed with the case, allowing it to seep into every aspect of their lives. But they feel justified in that they do finally make an arrest after twelve months of searching. Jenna, meanwhile, has taken up residence in a small beach resort town, living as anonymously as possible in the wake of the tragic event that has so altered her life. There are other characters introduced after the arrest is made, but you'll have to read the book yourself to find out who they are and how they play into the story.
Clare Mackintosh's debut is a fabulously mind bendy read perfect for fans of psychological suspense. And as the image below stresses: read it, recommend it, but whatever you do don't spoil it!