Monday 18 May 2015

Book Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh.

Product details:
Publisher: Sphere.
Paperback, 364 pages.
Release date: Novembers 9th 2014.
Rating:  4½ out of 5.
Ages: Adult
Source: Received from publisher for review.

  A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn't have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray's world is shattered. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape her past, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of the cruel November night that changed her life for ever.

DI Ray Stevens is tasked with seeking justice for a mother who is living every parent's worst nightmare. Determined to get to the bottom of the case, it begins to consume him as he puts both his professional and personal life on the line.

As Ray and his team seek to uncover the truth, Jenna, slowly, begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating .

A truly stunning debut novel crackling with atmospheric tension and thrilling plot-twists, I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh astounds with revelation after stunning revelation in the race to a finish-line that will send shivers down your spine. 

A woman haunted by unimaginable loss and an investigate team determined to bring justice at all costs provide the backdrop to this book, which, early on, you might think is really nothing special: just another run-of-the-mill crime thriller. If this hadn’t come my way via a personal recommendation from someone whose reading taste I really trust and share (thanks, Vicki!)  that’s what I would have thought too.  This book starts with a tragic incident that sets everything in motion, but after that, the pace slows in a maybe not-to-everyone’s-taste way, lulling the reader into a false sense of security of remote cottages, and sandy beaches and rescued pets, and romantic dinners with dishy vets. And then…


I read a lot of thrillers, and I almost always predict the big twists. Far too often I find I’m left disappointed and disgruntled because of this.  It’s my own fault, I know. Don’t ever watch a movie of this type with me either, because I’ll guess the twist and blurt it out. I just can’t help myself. Anyway, the twist here, along with the big twist in Gone Girl are maybe the only two twists that have ever really, really surprised me, in a ‘well, that just left me speechless,’ sort of way. This book is just so clever and it surprised me time and time again.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot of I Let You Go, because I want you to read this book and be surprised, so I’m being intentionally (very) vague in that I’m side-stepping the plot entirely and focusing on other things.

Like the fact that before she was an author, Clare Mackintosh spent twelve years in the police force; something which adds a whole lot of authenticity to this book. I loved the fact that Mackintosh, while providing details of a very thorough police-investigation wasn’t overly technical either (I’ve read crime novels that are bogged down by technical detail, which sometimes makes for a boring read) but what I liked about Mackintosh’s writing was that she gave her characters DI Ray Stevens and his younger colleague, Kate lives outside the police force; I like that we got to spend time with Ray and his family, and I loved how no-nonsense Kate seemingly took everything in her stride.  In fact, I was intrigued by Kate maybe most of all; we don’t get to know a lot about her as our view of her is provided via Stevens, but I feel like there could be an interesting backstory there, and that maybe we could follow her as she rises throughout  the ranks with each new Mackintosh release.

I have no idea if this is the plan, just like I have no idea what Mackintosh’s next book will be, but whatever it is, I’m in.

While the first major plot-twist in this book is a doozy of epic proportions, it’s not the only trump card in this book. If fact, there is so much more to this book, which, in Part II introduces a major player in Jenna’s life, one whose narrative expands her story into a tale that is as compelling and as multi-layered as it is truly shocking and disturbing. A truly great debut, I Let You Go is hands down one of the best books I’ve read this year. If you loved The Girl on the Train, then make this your next read.

Highly recommended.


  1. This one is definitely being added to my ever increasing TBR list, a bit like you I find that I can generally guess when a plot twist is coming but good to know this decieved even an avid thriller reader. Looking forward to this one!

  2. ChristinaBookAddict18 May 2015 at 21:21

    Wow! Awesome review! I feel like this book is flying under the radar...I need to add it to my TBR list. Plus you said the plot twist is amazing, which means I probably won't see it coming at all. You always catch the plot twists before I do! Thanks for the great review, Leanna! I'm glad you enjoyed this one.

  3. Do you have to live in the UK to participate?

  4. I think it's UK & Ireland - but you could look into something similar in your own area or contact @penguinukbooks on twitter for more info. All info is on the site too - you can download an info pack there. :)

  5. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :)

  6. This one was under the radar for me too - but it is getting great reviews - so I'm very thankful to the blogger friend who recommended it to me. It really is a great read!

  7. Just what I need - one more book for my 2 foot high TBR pile! I love a good plot twist - I guessed Shutter Island, The Pines and the movie Crying Game. I was taken by surprise by the movie Sixth Sense, and the books The Other (Thomas Tryon) and Plot Twist (Jane Rubino). Tryon's short novel Fedora was good too, but I guessed the twist. Thanks for the recommendation!

  8. You'll have to let me know if you figure out the twist here. I'm guessing that you might - but you never know! I will have to check out The Other and Plot Twist. I just checked both out on Goodreads and really like the sound of The Other, so thanks for the rec! :)

  9. I hadn't even heard of this book until I saw your review and then I realized it was because it's not out yet in the U.S. I guess she just sold the rights to Penguin set for a 2016 publication. I will definitely be picking this up next year when it's released! I don't read many thrillers but I want to start! Great review!!

  10. This line sold it to me "Only one of THE BEST PLOT-TWISTS EVER!" That's all I need to know!

  11. If you want a few thriller recommendations while you're waiting for this one to release in the US read Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train (if you haven't already read those two). I also really liked In the Blood by Lisa Unger.

  12. It's really good! Let me know what you think when you read it!

  13. You're very welcome! One of my faves this year so I hope you enjoy it too! :)

  14. If you like The Other, look into Tryon's other books - he was an actor for decades then turned to writing and wrote some eerie stuff. Crowned Heads was good, so was Harvest Home.

  15. I will do! Thanks again for the recs! :)


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