I Let You Go


Review: Marla Cantrell
By Clare Mackintosh | Berkley | 369 pages | $26

Late on a cold and rainy afternoon in Bristol, England, a mother walks her five-year-old son, Jacob, home from his after-school program. Darkness is falling, and the mother holds her son’s small hand. But when home is in sight, he slips free, darting across the street and into the path of an oncoming car.


The car doesn’t slow, and when it hits and kills the boy, the driver backs up and speeds away.


This is the opening scene of I Let You Go, a thriller that twists like switchbacks on a mountain road.


After the accident, Jenna Gray, despondent over losing her child, leaves Bristol for the coast of Wales, and takes up in an old cottage with problems of its own. The heat barely works. The lock on the front door works only intermittently. Under her bed, she hides a box with keepsakes from her life as a mom, but she never shares her story with anyone.


Meanwhile, the Bristol police are looking for Jacob’s killer. Two detectives work tirelessly, but to little avail. While the case engulfs them, Jenna works to rebuild what’s left of her life. At home, she was a sculptor, but she’d suffered trauma to her hand. Now, with no way to make a living, she finds a new artistic outlet, writing messages on the sandy beach, photographing them, and selling her prints to a growing number of customers.


Jenna makes friends with a nearby shopkeeper who brings her warm clothing and homecooked food. She finds an abandoned dog and takes it in, which leads her to a local veterinarian who begins to stop by, wanting to get close to her.


But Jenna seems unable to move past her sorrow, and she seems always to be expecting another tragedy to happen. As her story unfolds, the reader finds out there is reason for her fear. The other shoe is about to fall, and in a devastating way.


Just when you think you have this story figured out, it turns on itself, revealing an even darker tale. Jenna is not who she seems to be. And someone from her past is out to get her, stalking her on this remote beach where she’s come to hide.


If you liked Girl on a Train, the runaway hit by Paula Hawkins, you will love I Let You Go. It will keep you wondering what’s lurking around the next corner, and it will make you a tad bit afraid to turn off the lights at night.


I loved this book. There was only one story line, which I won’t give away, that was a little hard to believe. But that is a small concession for a book that keeps you reading feverishly, hoping to figure out a mystery that is so cunningly crafted, so brilliantly well done.

Comments are closed.