The “women with secrets” trend in publishing (Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train) shows no signs of easing with the release of I Let You Go, a gripping debut thriller set in England. A brief prologue sets the stage: A mother and son are headed home after school on a rainy afternoon. Suddenly, a “car comes from nowhere.” The child is hit and killed, and the car takes off.
This terrible tragedy is investigated by middle-aged police detective Ray and his idealistic, rookie partner, Kate. Ray’s marriage is not what it used to be, especially since his teenage son, Tom, has grown sullen and distant.
Then there’s Jenna Gray. Haunted by the accident and lamenting the loss of a son she loved “with an intensity that seemed impossible,” she runs away to an isolated coastal town. Her story alternates with Ray and Kate’s as they investigate and begin blurring the lines between the personal and the professional. Author Clare Mackintosh also introduces one more dastardly character who will bring everyone together—that is, if he doesn’t kill someone first.
A former law enforcement officer, Mackintosh was inspired to write I Let You Go by a similar real-life case, as well as the loss of her own son, and her experience lends her characters’ actions and feelings a visceral realism. Jenna’s grief is genuine and well-wrought, while the peril she eventually faces is convincing. Ray and Kate, meanwhile, are an engaging, authentic duo. I Let You Go is undeniably a page-turner.
This article was originally published in the May 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.