January Buddy Read: I Let You Go is a thriller with SO many twists and turns
I Let You Go, Clare Mackintosh
Published 2014, 371 pages
The story starts out with a heartbreaking scene where mom and son are walking home on a normal day and as he gets close to their house he pulls away from his mom's hand, runs across the street, and is hit and killed by a car that leaves the scene. Whew! (no spoiler, it happens immediately)
A few months after the accident, mom Jenna can't deal with her guilt, feeling it is her fault that her son is dead so she leaves and ends up at a small coastal town where she begins a new life. Slowly she makes friends with a gregarious shop owner, and meets a veterinarian who is a possible love interest.
The story goes back and forth between Jenna's new life and Ray, the detective who is investigating the accident. There's also quite a bit of backstory about Jenna's past. I felt that all the characters were well-drawn and you got a true sense of who they were, whether you liked them or not.
The couple of twists later in the book are real mind blowers that totally change your take on what you've read up to that point. Think The Sixth Sense. And, if you're one of the couple hundred people that haven't seen that movie, you need to.
I listened to I Let Her Go on audio and there was both a male and female narrator that alternated chapters as the perspective changed. Both had British accents (since it's set in the UK/Wales); it was well narrated. Since I'm still new to audio books and I listen on my commute, I'm not able to take notes or jot down phrases to jog my memory about particularly well done or poorly done sections. So, I'm relying on my sometimes faulty memory!
“Everything has changed. The instant the car slid across the wet tarmac, my whole life changed. I can see everything clearly, as though I am standing on the sidelines. I can't go on like this.”
For about the first half of the book I was underwhelmed (except, of course, for the accident). S-L-O-W pacing and not much happened. The cop portion (Ray) had lots of home life background with his wife and troubled son and Ray, as the DI was training a newbie detective and there was some potential sexual tension. Once the hit and run case was put on the back burner, I don't know why the cop portion kept taking so much of the story space. I don't feel like it contributed anything to the story.
The female narrator (Jenna) was equally slow paced but more appropriate to the story as we learn about her gradually making friends and trying to start her life over. However, there's a fair amount of hand wringing and whatever-shall-I-do type moments which I have little patience with. I actually thought about DNF. But, I persevered and the payoff is SO worth it.
The action picks up in the second half of the book but in the interests of "no spoilers" I can't even hint about how it picks up. Suffice it to say, there are a couple of really major twists that were big surprises, and the end is well done. I actually found myself sitting in the car eagerly listening to the next scene instead of going in to work!
Donna and I talked about how much plot info to share and agreed that less is more for this book. In this case, don't look too hard at plot summary based reviews......you'll enjoy the surprises more if you go in with less knowledge.
photo: Reza @ unsplash.com