A hit and run driver kills a five year old boy walking home with his mother on a rainy night; after the accident, his mother disappears in Clare Mackintosh’s I Let You Go. The story follows a police procedural formula with chapters alternating between the investigation and the distraught mother, until a surprising revelation at the end of Part I changes the narrative into a tense mystery thriller.
Without revealing too much to spoil the fun of the many surprises, let’s just say every time I thought I had solved the crime, Mackintosh changed direction, and the plot twists were shocking.
After the death of the boy, Jenna is distraught and shaken. She leaves everything behind, and decides to disappear to a remote seaside town in Wales where she slowly begins her life as an artist again, drawing messages in the sand and taking photographs of them from the top of the cliffs for tourists to buy. A year later, the police reopen the investigation with a new lead to the killer, and at the same time begin looking for the boy’s mother. They find both in the first shift in the plot.
Part II backtracks to Jenna’s life as a student and her relationship with a controlling abusive lover, who interrupts the story with his own insane ramblings. In alternate chapters, Ray Stevens, the police inspector who is pursuing the case with his sidekick Kate, an attractive junior officer, tries to juggle the investigation with his own problems at home with his teenage son and his wife, a former police officer. The family drama is a good distraction, but the pursuit of the hit and run killer is the focus, and drives the suspense as Mackintosh throws in red herrings – even to the last page.
I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did – a great summer book to read fast and furiously – but probably not before going to bed.