CRM Review: Clare Mackintosh’s “I Let You Go”

“Such a small impact on the world, yet the very centre of my own.”
Jenna Gray in I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

The Premise

Jenna Gray is haunted. In an effort to put behind a car accident and the loss of her child, she abandons her life in Bristol for a remote, ramshackle cottage on the Welsh coast. Unable to put the car collision behind, she rarely sleeps as it replays over and over in her mind. Despite her desire to leave it all behind, she makes friends and starts living again.

Back in Bristol, a pair of police officers work to solve a hit and run that killed a young boy. As they hunt down lead after frustrating lead, the two are drawn to each other, even as one deals with the disappointments of family and real life. As the case draws to a close, the twists are unexpected and numerous!

My Thoughts

I pick up mysteries and thrillers with the hope that there will be a huge twist that will ‘get’ me. Often the ones that promise a thrill-ride are disappointing, giving me twists that are expected and routine.

But not I Let You GoWow! The twists and turns were unexpected, making Mackintosh’s novel live up to the classification of ‘thriller.’

I listened to this book, which I haven’t been doing that often. This one caught my attention and didn’t let go. The combination of police drama and literary fiction/thriller worked well, creating a dichotomy that somehow meshed As an audiobook, the two stories were narrated by two different, distinct voices: one male and one female. This played perfectly with the book’s two distinct yet very connected storylines.

Jenna Gray is a great conflicted character, and, for the first half of the book, her story is very much literary fiction. Jenna’s life on the Welsh coast is lonely and isolated, the way she wants it. You feel for her and want her to come out of her shell. She’s a just right as a sympathetic character: I was really cheering for Jenna!

Not the same bay, but what I imagine Jenna’s retreat to look like (This is Wales).

On the other hand, the lead detective pissed me off. Detective Inspector Ray Stevens is a good cop, but is disappointed in real life. His wife and his home life are not living up to expectations, and his son is a problem. He spends way too much time at work (and his wife complains), and suddenly finds his new, young detective constable (Kate Evans) attractive in her eagerness to learn and the fact that she’s thrown herself into her job full-force. The fact that he met his wife while she was working as a detective (and then she left to raise their children) probably plays into his attraction to Kate.

Mackintosh does a great job of switching between the two stories–the slow, steady pace of police work and the dramatic isolation of Jenna’s life. And just when the pace of both starts to quicken–BOOM! There’s the twist.

I thoroughly enjoyed I Let You Go. The only problem I had was at the end, when it became slightly predictable. But that is completely overshadowed by the twists and turns before the end.

I give it 4.5 stars–I recommend this book to anyone hoping to get lost in a book. Thrilling, dramatic, and lovely.


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