Saturday, 27 January 2018

Book Review: I Let You Go

Having already read her second novel, I had high expectations for Clare Mackintosh’s debut; however, I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. The reader begins by following Jenna Gray move to a remote part of Wales, choosing to live off the beaten track, along the coastline where she can safely leave her life behind. Constantly haunted by nightmares of a car accident, it’s clear that Jenna is desperate to hide herself away and restart her life. The question is, why. I’m a massive fan of using multiple narrators to tell different sides to the same story, as long as it is executed well. Mackintosh delivers this perfectly. Just as Jenna is settling into coastal life, her past begins to catch up with her and her nightmares become reality. The novel begins by describing a hit and run involving a five year old and his inconsolable mother, alongside the ongoing police investigation into the crime, although there are no witnesses and no tyre marks to identify what car was used.

As the novel progresses, more details are laid out; although it is a slow read to begin with. As the events start to correlate, it definitely becomes more intense; it’s a total page turner. As the book is separated into two parts, it read like two different books, which I liked; it was a great way to find out which characters were going to be key players and those who would be a means to an end. A range of topics were explored, including infidelity, bullying, domestic violence and death, amongst many others. The descriptions of the Welsh coastlines were beautifully written, almost poetic and it contrasted well with the descriptions of grey, dreary Bristol. Using multiple characters as the narrator was a great way to explore different perspectives of the same event, although my favourite perspective was the police point of view. I loved how there was an insight into the investigation, but also some information about the investigators personal lives, how they deal with stress and difficult cases. Mackintosh having a police background was a strong point for this book as the investigation was described so realistically and worked well as a linguistic technique too; the investigation was always a couple of steps behind the action, which was both frustrating and terrifying at times.

One of the reasons why I found this book to be such an incredible read was that every single character had a flaw, or a secret waiting to be exposed. This made it very easy to see the holes in the turn of events, it made me determined to piece together what has really happened, although that was incredibly difficult because it was hard to know what characters were reliable, which ones were lying and which ones were trustworthy. Even the most seemingly sensible and level headed of characters seems to ever get on the edge of unreliability at times. Jenna is a very passive character, although I found myself concerned for her, there was something no quite right about any of the situations that she found herself in, but this book is so brilliantly crafted I was never able to put my finger on it, which always makes the want to finish a book that more exciting. It’s hard to describe this book without giving the plot away, but it’s a novel of multiple characters, where all of them feel realistically portrayed to the point where you start looking over your shoulder in case life and plot are somehow overlapping.

Overall, this one of the best books that I’ve read so far this year. Of the two novels Mackintosh has written, I Let You Go is definitely the better of the two, although they’re both outstanding. There’s just something special about the layout of the plot upon the pages, nothing feels overdone and it’s an incredible psychological thriller. I love a book that makes me think; this one made me realise that sometimes nothing is as it seems. Early on, I really thought I’d sussed out the whole plot but as the novel continued, it was clear that sometimes those who look guilty are in fact, victims in their own way. This book is split into two parts, the second part is completely addictive and worth the wait. This book is definitely one of my favourites, ever and it’s not one that I’ll forget any time soon. I didn’t want it to end, even as it came to a conclusion I was wishing, wondering for more. It was a fantastic read, it’s perfect for a long journey.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, the book sounds interesting, I should read it! xoxo


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