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I Let You Go

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One of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Crime Novels of 2016!

The next blockbuster thriller for those who loved The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl...“a finely crafted novel with a killer twist.”(#1 New York Times bestselling author Paula Hawkins)

On a rainy afternoon, a mother's life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street...

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.
At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them. Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner, says, “I read I Let You Go in two sittings; it made me cry (at least twice), made me gasp out loud (once), and above all made me wish I'd written it...a stellar achievement.”

377 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 6, 2014

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About the author

Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award-winning author of New York Times bestseller I LET YOU GO, and Sunday Times bestsellers I SEE YOU, LET ME LIE, AFTER THE END, HOSTAGE and THE LAST PARTY Translated into forty languages, her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide, and have spent a combined total of 64 weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller chart. Her latest novel is A GAME OF LIES, the second in a crime series featuring Welsh detective DC Ffion Morgan.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 14,012 reviews
Profile Image for Deanna .
691 reviews12.5k followers
June 6, 2016

I just finished this book about 10 minutes ago and I'm very impressed. I'm also very tired as it's now after 5am! I will be so very tired today but it is totally worth it!!

I have so many good books that I want to read right now. I keep adding to my collection faster than I'm reading. I've gotten into a bad habit of reading a couple of pages of new books and forgetting which one I wanted to read next. Because of that this novel had been forgotten about until today. When I picked it up again today I did find it a little bit hard to get into at first but once I was a little ways in I was hooked!

Jenna the main character is desperate to escape from her past after a tragic hit-and-run accident destroys her life. Feeling lost she finds her way to a small Welsh community where she attempts to pick up the pieces and start anew. She is haunted by her fear and grief. Memories pulling her back and forcing her to face things that cannot be ignored. Investigator Ray Stevens and his team work hard to seek justice for a mother who is living every parent's worst nightmare.

This psychological thriller had me captivated and I really was unable to put it down until I finished it. An emotional plot with a huge twist that snuck right up on me making my heart jump into my throat. Completely changed the dynamic of the story and then another twist that I never expected. Many great characters that are very well developed. Jenna is haunting and felt very authentic as did many of the characters. This novel clearly shows how in one moment an unexpected tragedy can occur leaving many people devastated.

I think I'll stop there as I don't want to give anything away. This was such a great debut novel and I'm excited to read more from Clare Mackintosh!!
Highly recommended!!!

Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews605 followers
October 24, 2019
Jacob, a five year old boy is killed at the start of the novel.
NOTHING PLEASANT SO FAR! Then for the next 400 or so pages -- we feel nothing for this poor child. We never knew him to begin with. His death is a shock incident - we have no emotional connection with him whatsoever. So... the story is about 'who killed him?" why did the driver hit Jacob and drive away? And why the hell after a year, are there no leads about the case? And why is it taking so long to tell this story--when 'some' of us (me), can see the ending -in the first 20% of this book?

"A sculptor not sculpting .....and a mother without a child".
NOTHING TOO INSPIRING ABOUT THAT..... (about JENNA). Our main character, Jenna, is the sculptor, no longer sculpting and mother without a child.
Jenna is intended as a sympathetic character....but mostly I found her passive and irritating. Her little boy dies - yet within three months she is "feeling alive" drawing her name in the sand, taking photos with her camera on the beach. YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!! FISHY FISHY FISHY!! She runs away - goes off grid - throws her cell phone away -hides out- - 'less' that 3 months after her child is killed. In 6 months she's happy about a new photography business? Odd!!! She is completely out of communication with the police Dept - the people who are trying to find HER son's killer . They have no idea where she is living or how to reach her for much of the book.
......Jenna's new boyfriend is one hell of a dandy cherry pie, too!
.....The entire plot was implausible.
.....Lots of coincidences- unbelievable - insane - absurd!
......Yucky uninspiring male characters
......The 'side-story' of the detectives teenage son-- shows 'more' uninspiring 'men'. The author even managed to turned a 12 year old BOY into an uninspiring character.
He wouldn't win any young male roll model awards - that's for sure.

......Throughout the tale, Jenna was constantly referring to her breathing: "I couldn't catch my breath", "my breathing became"..."I felt my breath.."
I'm 'not' exaggerating, when I say there were so many references to "breathing", it became annoying. I know nothing about editing...but I would have caught the 'breathing' ( authors blind spot), repetitive phrases. But it drove me crazy. I almost started counting how many more times I'd have to hear Jenna talk about her breathing.

.....Not only did I see the the 'mystery-ending' very early into this novel- [I found it very predictable], but there was so much 'yuckiness' about this novel... I didn't feel inspired about myself for having read it.
.....While listening to this audiobook - during hikes, soaking in the pool, on car rides to the beach with Paul in the car...( even Paul figured out the ending - by only listening to parts of this book)....I kept thinking...."this is 2016, a contemporary story"....
"We need stories about strong female characters - not weak ones".
"Shame on me for getting sucked into this book" - it's nasty!!

There was not one character in this entire book to be inspired about...
...A kid is killed : hit and run
...The police dept. Is dysfunctional - each with personal problems - home problems-
...everyone is a victim!
....Abuse, violence, lies, cheating, silly& boring...
... Yucky is as Yucky is! I want my money back!!!!

2 stars
Profile Image for Jennifer Masterson.
200 reviews1,169 followers
July 3, 2016
Bravo! Bravo Ms. Mackintosh for completely blowing my mind and making me an emotional wreck! 4.5 Stars rounded up to 5! 5 ++++ Stars for phenomenal narration! I didn't figure this one out! Fantastic book! Wonderful audio! I can't believe this was a debut!

This is a hard book to review without giving away spoilers. What I will say is that this novel starts out as a simple but devastating crime of hit and run. A five year old boy is dead. Jenna Gray's life is changed forever. She runs off to a seaside town in Wales and begins to start her life over again. Then bam!!! A major twist happens in the story and everything changes. The book then takes off and twists and turns.

That's all I'm going to say about "I Let You Go". Stop reading reviews and get this book!!!

The only reason I docked this book half a star was because of the pacing in the beginning. I thought it was just a tad slow until part 2, but boy did part 2 make up for part 1!!!

Highly recommended to fans of psychological thriller/mystery books!!!
Profile Image for Maxine (Booklover Catlady).
1,320 reviews1,251 followers
July 26, 2023
I love a good psychological thriller, and this one fell into the category of excellent ones. Holy macaroni Batman! I did NOT see that twist coming in a million years! I just stared at the page whilst my brain scrambled to get some footing again. And it wasn't the only one. But the BIGGIE was done so very, very well.

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn't have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray's world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating...

It's so hard to talk anymore about the plot of this book without giving away the entire reason for the book so I am not going to do that.

All I will say is that the plot is cleverly written, with twists that I have already told you are amazing and plenty more surprise moments along the way. It's very clever with the way stories intertwine like rope to make for a very strong book overall. Fascinating. I was flicking pages wanting more of the story to reveal itself.

The characters in the book I thought were excellent, I felt I could relate to each of them as if I was there with them, in the story, including the peripheral characters as well. Some might find a bit of a hate/love with Jenna I think, for me, I reserved judgement on her until the end of the book.

It has some tense, thrilling and shocking moments in it, some you see coming, some you don't, but it's not a boring book by any means. I could not put it down once I got going and was so thrilled that it took me to places I did not predict it would. I had heard good things about this one but went in with no expectations.

All in all, a stunning and sometimes surprising novel with a powerful message running through it, a book that will quench your thirst for a novel you can at last just sink into and lose yourself completely. A book you will recommend to all your friends.

An easy five star read for me and one that has gone on my favourite's shelf. Nice work from Clare Mackintosh, I will be looking for more of her work in the future.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,078 reviews59k followers
August 7, 2019
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh is a 2016 Berkley publication.

I heard so many good things about this book, by the time I got my hands on a copy I was frothing at the mouth with excitement. Did the book live up to all the hype?

Oh yeah, it’s very clever! The one downside is that it is hard to say much of anything at all about the plot, so I will refer you back to the book synopsis/blurb to get the setup.

I did have a few issues with a couple of lead characters, but since no one is mentioning that part of the story, I won’t either. Other than that, I was impressed with this debut thriller, which lures you in with a heart wrenching situation, quietly and slowly, but despite the low key pacing, the mystery deepens as you go along, becoming more curious and puzzling, and the last quarter of the book was absolutely riveting with one huge, shocking gut punch you will not see coming, which also comes with a few aftershocks.

So despite the understated quality the book begins with, by the time you finish the book you might experience a little mental exhaustion.

Although I hate writing such a vague review when I feel the need to discuss the characters and my personal opinion of them, and would like to have the opportunity to drop a few clues that would compel someone to give the book a try, I can tell you that if you like psychological thrillers and mysteries you will most likely appreciate this one and the cunning technique of the author employs.

Overall, this one gets kudos for originality, for tossing the formula writing out the window and for giving me a story that challenged me, which is just what I am always on the lookout for. 4 stars

Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,482 reviews79k followers
March 8, 2016
Thought I was finished reading for the night but decided that I just had to finish this one! While I had it all figured out early on, it didn't keep me from enjoying this one. Extremely well written debut and I look forward to her next book.

Jacob is a 5 year old little boy who lets go of his mother's hand for a brief moment and is killed in a hit and run in the prologue of this gripping police procedural. Jenna Gray's life is forever changed and runs away immediately following the accident to escape the talk of the town.

This book felt almost like 2 separate books between "Part one" and "Part two". I found myself not totally engrossed until I reached "Part two", but once I hit that I couldn't put this down! I really enjoyed the author's note at the end which explained how this story came about; its real life influences from her work as a police official and personal, family experiences as well. I think if I had been able to go in blind on this one and not been told time and again of "the big twist(s)" it would have gotten me; however, because I was expecting them I found myself figuring it all out before the reveals. This book was still extremely enjoyable for me regardless of the twists; I always enjoy a book more if it can stand on its own without the gimmicks. The characters were strong and believable; this book was well-developed all around.
Profile Image for Reading Corner.
88 reviews109 followers
September 5, 2016
I Let You Go is incredibly cliche and predictable, the format of the book was so familiar because a lot of thrillers seem to follow the same trend.It's all muddled at the start,then we get to about the halfway point and there's a "big twist"or revelation and the book is switching between the past and present to eventually uncover the mystery. I was expecting a massive,exciting twist,it wasn't,it was stupid and so underwhelming.

The first half of the book before the twist is exciting and I mostly enjoyed that half.To be fair, the writing is great, it's the story and charcters that dragged the book's rating down for me.There is some fantastic descriptions in this book, especially when the author descibes the crash scene and the writing never left me confused and it wasn't too basic.

The detectives were so boring, I hated when it switched back to Ray, I much preferred Jenna's narrative.The plot wasn't really exciting and then they were other small reveals throughout the story which were so predictable or just unnecessary,

I thought the ending was just plain stupid because the police were idiots.This ending was soooo cliche and I instantly knew what was going to happen.

I somewhat enjoyed the first part of this novel and the writing along with the descriptions but would I recommend this book?Absolutely not and I'm annoyed I bought it, quick read though.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,952 followers
June 30, 2016

I can't believe this book! And the significance of the words "OMG" written in the sand has to do with both my reaction and something in the book that I'm not going to tell you!

Headlights glint on wet tarmac, the dazzle blinding them every few seconds. Waiting for a break in the traffic they duck across the busy road, and she tightens her grip on the small hand inside the soft woollen glove, so he has to run to keep up. Sodden leaves cling to the railings, their bright colours darkening to a dull brown.

People, if you have not read this book and you are planning on it! READ IT! And don't put it down even if it gets a little bland at one point. This book takes a twist that blew me away! There is nothing like a book that will do that and Clare Mackintosh did that with this book! When all of the pieces fit together you are left sitting.. staring.. thinking, how, what.. did she really just do that? Did she twist that book so freaking much that it resembles a pretzel?

I'm NOT giving out a spoiler, not even a tiny one, because this is one of those books you need to find out for yourself. I was actually wondering after the first little bit why the book had such high reviews and then it smacks you right in the face!

After a tragedy occurs in Jenna Gray's life, she leaves town and tries to start up a new life. But you can never leave the past behind, it hurts, it haunts, it finds you.

Oh dear Lord, I have to stop here before I give something away. I so want to tell all of you every little thing so you can have the OMG moment with me!

And I have to mention that this UK edition has a most beautiful cover! ♥

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Justin.
284 reviews2,301 followers
February 10, 2017
I do my best to always keep my reviews relatively spoiler-free. Hell, most of the time I barely even comment on the plot at all. I don't usually provide my own synopsis or rehash any major bits of the story. However, I feel like with this book I need to dive into the plot and discuss more of the details because, man, I had a really complicated relationship with this book. So anyway... fair warning. Don't read beyond here if you haven't read the book yet. Hey, if you haven't read it yet, come back here after you finish it. Let's discuss it. Let me know how you feel.

Actually, you can read this paragraph, too, before things get more detailed. I should preface this by saying I went into reading I Let You Go knowing very little about the plot except the major event that happens at the very beginning. I also went into it thinking it would likely be like a better version of Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train or something else with Girl in the title. I thought it could probably be called The Girl Who Let Go or I Let the Girl Go since it felt like it would be like any of those kinds of books. So that's where my head was at when I cracked into this bad boy.

OK - stop here if you haven't read it. Final warning.

Part I of I Let You Go is fantastic. I loved the bouncing back and forth between Jacob being hit by a car and Jenna running away to the story of the cops trying to figure out what happened and searching for leads. It was a nice slow burn and there were subtle things happening to develop the story and the characters. The dynamic of Ray and Kate was awkward and you could see early on where it was going, but it never went over the top. Jenna taking off to a remote location and starting over was great to read about as she met new people and tried to build a new life. Not a whole lot going on. Cops would always hit a dead end. Jenna would drink coffee and build relationships. I liked it through. I was cool with it.

Then I hit that last page before Part II where you find out Jenna isn't Jacob's mom and she was driving (for now). I threw the book down and looked over at my wife and said, "Oh my God! Are you gonna read this?! No, you aren't gonna read this because a kid dies at the beginning. No way you are reading this. Anyway...". And I broke down al that just happened and how it all got flipped on its head right there at the end of Part I. I loved the beginning. And,man, like I said, I didn't know much about the book so I'm just along for the ride just happy to be surprised and twisted around a little bit. I liked where things were going.

Part II was a bit of a letdown for me though. Yeah, I know. This was your favorite part of the book. You took your foot off the brakes and just plowed through the second half of the book. I read your review. I know what's up. And I can completely see why you would do that because Part II was insane! It was wild and crazy and outta control! I flew right the hell through it, too! I'm with you!

Ian ruined this book for me though. Ian took what was going so well and brought everything back into the muddy world of those books I mentioned earlier. Ian was that guy from You by Caroline Kepnes just recast into a different world. That garbage is so played out though. Normal guy who is actually a controlling psycho. I'm over it. Every chapter with him pissed me off. It ruined the momentum of the story. He even talked from the same perspective as that Kepnes book. You did this. You did that. Look at you. And he does all this stupid stuff to Jenna that just didn't work. Ian ruined it. It could have been so much more if she didn't add Ian and his character I'm sick of reading about.

The rest of the plot twists and things were fine. There were some interesting surprises, and Ian needed to be there to get to some of those conclusions, but it was just too much of an abrasive turn from where the book was heading in the first half. So I said it ruined it, but it's still a three star read for me. Still a cut above others it will be compared to in the genre. It just could have been more, and I wish I could say it was. I just can't do anymore psycho guy going psycho on a woman physically and emotionally. But it's working. And now the book has to fall back and be compared to other polarizing Girl whatever books.

I did like the author's note at the end with her background of what inspired the story. It couldn't have been an easy book for her to write, and I am cool with reading whatever she does next. After this become a movie, of course. This will definitely be a movie.

And Ian will ruin it.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
April 1, 2023
Hmm, I wonder if I'd have liked this more if I'd read it in 2014 when it first came out. Every review I've read, every quote on the book jacket, made such a big deal out of the huge twist, so I braced myself for it and... it was very disappointing when it hit. I've read versions of this exact twist countless times.

I won't bother with a plot summary because I would need to either reveal spoilers or deliberately mislead you. The GR description tells you all you need to know.

The first half of the book was very very slow. I can actually understand the comparisons to Gone Girl because it has that same drawn out who even cares? first half that is turned on its head by a twist. We move between Jenna-- as she takes some photos, gets a dog and starts a new romance in Wales --and the lead detective, Ray, who manages to be even more boring than Jenna.

Ray is pretty useless and his perspective is mostly him flirting blandly with another police officer while his poor wife looks after the kids. Neither Ray and Kate, nor Jenna and whatsisname, have any chemistry whatsoever.

Then the twist hits and it was so cliche that I never really managed to shake my annoyance after that. And when we get to the last bit, the dramatic climax of the story, my eyes were rolling so hard. How are these detectives this incompetent? Anyone with a few brain cells could see that coming a mile off.

What a snooze. The only character I ever felt anything for was Ray's wife.

Warning for domestic abuse, loss of a child and rape.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,115 followers
January 8, 2019
I stayed up late last night to finish this one - which speaks volumes about how much I was enjoying it, as I value my sleep more than anything else in life!

A young mum walks her 5 year old son home from school, like any other day. Except that this day is different, her son lets go of her hand and is hit by a car and killed instantly.
In Part 1 we flick between two POVs - that of the woman, choosing to begin her life again after the horrific accident and grief it has left behind. She moves from Bristol to rural South Wales, a place where no one knows her, or her past.
The second POV is the Bristol Police Force. Ray - the DI for the CID team is trying to juggle his workload with his family life, and it is proving difficult. He spends more and more time at work to escape the stress of his home life. When the death of 5 year old Jacob comes to their attention Ray is determined to discover who did it, and why they drove away from the scene of the crime.

Full of twists and turns, I was gripped by the storyline. I did get a brief sense of deja vu - as I read a book last year The Bed I Made which also involves a young woman who moves to a secluded area to escape her past. But I guess that's quite a popular trope in the mystery/thriller genre.

I liked the different POVs - even though one of them was absolutely terrifying to read about. I was sufficiently thrilled - so I guess the book did its job! 4 stars!

Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,157 followers
July 26, 2016
How the hell did I miss this GREAT debut?


I LET YOU GO all begins with an inexcusable crime that leads to an investigative division (with a story of its own) on the hunt. With a very subtle underlying current of 'something brewing' (that might be construed as slow going) there's another unexpected tragedy, a shocker of a twist, heartrending grief, fear, nightmares, and a door that won't lock.

AND, despite all the great quotes I made note of, I can only use one that will give nothing away and tell you very little of this amazing debut, (but I love and believe it.)

"You can tell a lot about people by the way they treat animals."

Absolutely cannot wait to read I SEE YOU......only two more days, and I do believe I have a new favorite author!

Profile Image for Christine.
596 reviews1,179 followers
January 16, 2016
I Let You Go is a very smart, very clever psychological mystery by new British author Clare Mackintosh. This is an extremely impressive debut novel.

The story involves a hit and run killing of a 5-year-old boy and is told from the POV of 3 characters—our main protagonist Jenna, the lead detective on the case Ray, and a man named Ian. Ms. Mackintosh is an excellent writer. She knows how to capture the reader’s attention right off the bat. Jenna and Ray are well characterized and Ms. Mackintosh had me rooting mightily for both, though they each had flaws. Jenna, in particular, I cared deeply about. Ian, on the other hand, I abhorred. He is absolutely loathsome, and I was disappointed every time one of his chapters appeared.

The highlight of the story for me was the gobsmacking twist (more like a tornado) that hit just before the halfway mark. Wowzers!!!! I do believe this was one of if not THE biggest twist I have ever come across in my fictional reading. I was momentarily disoriented as I went back to reread the paragraph a couple of times before I was convinced that what I thought I had read was indeed what I did read. This was by all means not the end of the surprises, but it sure packed the most powerful punch!

Other positives included an interesting side story involving Ray’s family life, which held my interest, though I wasn’t certain I totally bought into a situation with his young son. I did think the police procedural part of the book was well done, especially considering this is primarily a psychological thriller. Ms. Mackintosh, being a former detective herself, is clearly well qualified to write a believable crime story. I also thought she did a particularly terrific job with the complex psychological aspects of the story--well done for a non-psychologist! Clearly this reflects her willingness to do her homework.

So why 4 stars instead of 5? I marked down the rating for strictly personal reasons. I have recently read several books that feature despicable male characters that abuse women. I have found myself becoming less and less tolerant of that situation, and stories that spotlight that angle have become much less attractive to me. Let me go on to say, however, that I am sure my position on this is not the norm amongst psychological thriller fans, and it does not keep me from recommending the novel.

I highly recommend I Let You Go for all fans of psychological suspense. I think it is an outstanding novel, especially for a debut author. I eagerly await Ms. Mackintosh’s next offering.
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,304 reviews27.9k followers
July 29, 2021
Somewhere between a 4-4.5
This book has been on my TBR for years so I’m so glad I finally got to it! This thriller started off slow, but towards the end I got so emotionally invested that I actually cried 😭 I was very surprised by the plot twist at the end, and I’m surprised by how dark this book got, trigger warnings for abuse and rape and domestic violence and things like that 😭 here’s the reading vlog where I read it: https://youtu.be/EnQ8XQSzSxQ
Profile Image for Linda.
1,288 reviews1,329 followers
March 19, 2016
I received a copy of I Let You Go through NetGalley. Thank you to NetGalley, Sphere Books, and to Clare Mackintosh for the opportunity.

In a matter of seconds lives will change forever.

A distracted mother follows behind her five year old son after picking him up from school on a rainy afternoon. Jacob is joyful upon the promise of a fun afternoon with his mom. He leaps one foot in front of the other chasing that promise into the street and into an oncoming car. The impact has tragic results. Gone is a young life and gone are the hope-filled days of a young mother.

In the aftermath, Jenna struggles with the pressing desire to leave the city as quickly as possible and boards a bus to wherever the rolling of the wheels may take her. Perhaps Wales is far enough away from the heartache. In a final motion, she drops her cell phone into a puddle cutting ties with the strings of her past life. Jenna walks away from her days as a successful sculptor and her career as an artist.

The seashore beckons Jenna with its blustery winds as she comes upon a tiny rental cabin not far from the shore. Jenna makes friends with Iestyn, the owner of a small store within the town. Iestyn keeps a special eye on Jenna and senses a deep sorrow.

In time, Jenna retrieves her camera from her backpack and begins to photograph the beauty of the tide. Her talent is noticed by the local vet, Patrick Mathews, and they become friends. Is life finally returning to Jenna in small stages?

But the calm and the peacefulness are short-lived. Someone is searching for Jenna. Someone who hardly has her best interest in mind. The clues are only recognizable to Jenna herself. She is no longer safe within this once distant sanctuary.

And there are mind games and a twist that may tie you up into a cramped knot. This is a very well written book by Clare Mackintosh who knows how to snap out a good ol' "gotcha" from the darkness underneath those stairs of your guarded mind.
Profile Image for Suz.
1,158 reviews606 followers
October 8, 2016
A really good thriller. A teenie bit slow in the middle, where I was rushing to get through it, just so I could move along to my next read. But then, it picked up pace and I kept stopping at the end so the end would not come. Sounds like I couldn't make up my mind?! But a definite 5 star read. A hit and run, followed by lots of twists and turns as we follow the unexpected path of the unexpected party. The Welsh countryside was a joy to read about, the ocean sounds wonderful there, even if so very different to the sunny summers of Sydney. Bethan was a character I loved to read about, I always notice the ones that are good inside. Loved the way she took good care. The policing aspect was a bit annoying, too many acronyms for me, and also the teaming of the DI and other detective on her way up was a bit forced. I didn't enjoy reading about them as much as I did Jenna, and her time in Wales. This is a great read if you do get the chance. My read very nearly didn't happen, my library made a huge mistake on cataloguing this one. I'm not the best cataloguer but I wouldn't make that mistake! Great book. Love being hooked like this.
Profile Image for jv poore.
616 reviews213 followers
January 13, 2022
I Let You Go grabbed me by the lapels and pulled me into a suspenseful, fast-paced mystery with tight twists that had me paging backwards a couple of times to truly keep up. The gripping, heart-stopping story unfolds from different perspectives, revealing varying pieces of the puzzle until suddenly I saw the big picture and it was nothing I envisioned.

Two victims of a random tragedy try to piece their lives together—independently, and wholly alone. As a year stretched out, the crime remained unsolved and it seemed as if each of them may be successful. After an arrest, a trial, new information revealed and slowly, the big picture shimmers and changes.

So happy to have a new author to add to my list of favorites; I cannot wait to read more by Ms. Mackintosh.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,615 reviews10.7k followers
November 30, 2022
With I Let You Go, Mackintosh has been redeemed in my eyes.

Artist, Jenna Gray, arrives in a small town on the Welsh Coast and hastily rents a remote cottage.

As with many unreliable narrators before her, she is clearly running from something, but what?

Chances are it is connected with the hit-and-run death of a child that the book opens with, but as a reader, you aren't sure of the connection to Jenna.

We then follow her as she settles into her new life and begins to find happiness in her newly discovered independence. Simultaneously, we follow intrepid police detectives continuing to work the hit-and-run case.

Slowly, the two storylines begin to merge and what is revealed projects the narrative into the stratosphere.

A new perspective is introduced and things rapidly start to come together.

I had a lot of fun with this one, although some of the subject matter was hard to read.

Trigger Warnings for:

Overall, I loved the atmosphere, the mystery was strong, as well as the police procedural aspects of the story. Jenna really grew on me over the course of the book and all in all, I did appreciate her character growth.

I would recommend this to the few thriller readers out there who have yet to pick it up. I feel like I was the last one, but there you go.

A quick read with a satisfying ending. What more could you ask for in these trying times?

Pick it up!
Profile Image for Melissa.
647 reviews28.7k followers
April 9, 2016
Lately it seems like every suspense or psychological thriller is compared to Gone Girl. I often wonder if Gillian Flynn is excited to see so many comparisons to her work, so many people trying to emulate that shock value or if she feels that most don’t live up to the epic twist that made Gone Girl so special, like I do.

I’m excited to say - this is one book that actually lives up to that comparison. Don't get me wrong, this is an entirely different story, but it delivers that same level of shock. The best way to describe this book - clever. From start to finish, the storyline is compelling, unexpected and full of great twists. You might think you know what's happening and how the characters are involved, but in reality, you have no clue. It's something totally different altogether, making it so worth the read.
Profile Image for Lala BooksandLala.
500 reviews63.9k followers
October 7, 2016
I haven't been this caught off guard by a thriller in a while. Finally a book actually worthy of its Gone Girl comparison- it is full of incredibly well crafted twists. I would have preferred the ending to be a little different, but gets a solid 4.5 rating from me.
Profile Image for Barbara**catching up!.
1,396 reviews804 followers
June 24, 2023
Wow! For me, this is a difficult novel to rate. The first part of the book is tragically dull. So dull, that I would have abandoned it, but it received VERY high ratings from GR friend Jennifer. And, Jennifer said the first part was a bit slow. Well, for me it was more than a bit. I understand that author Clare Mackintosh wanted to set up the back-story. But gee-whiz, she has the thriller writing chops, she could have used that skill a tiny bit at the beginning.

If you can get through the first part, and I hope you do, you will be rewarded with one of the best thrillers this year. The second part of the novel is absolutely wonderful. Parts come together and Mackintosh paces the novel brilliantly. Once the reader begins Part Two, one thinks, “wait a minute…what just happened?” You will want to review Part One after starting Part Two. Mackintoch is clever. It took me three days to get through the 162 pages of Part One. Part Two took me less than a day.

Thank you Jennifer for rating it highly, as I would have missed out on this fantastic read.
Profile Image for Lori Elliott (catching up).
746 reviews1,792 followers
September 15, 2016
WOW, WOW, WOW! I'm still utterly speechless and I finished this several hours ago- 3 AM to be exact. This inched its way along very unassumingly then WHAM... I was completely 'sucker punched'. Easily the best thriller I have read in ages. I'm anticipating this will be the 'it' book of summer so go ahead and snatch up a copy... NOW!
Profile Image for Kelli.
851 reviews403 followers
August 31, 2016
**If you haven't read this book, I recommend you not read reviews until you have finished the book. If you disregard my suggestion, please don't read my spoiler-tagged portion because it will spoil the book for you. I cannot properly explain my opinion without spoilers and because my opinion is not in line with most, I need to go there.**

This is a puzzling mystery but the pacing was too slow in the beginning or perhaps it just took too long to get to the action and then once it got there, it really stretched the limits of what is believable. There was a lot going on in this and I'm not sure every storyline was resolved. This deserves high marks for being smart, tricky, and entertaining. I listened to this audiobook. It was not merely a narration but a performance and it was convincing. It made me feel some passionate disdain but I never really felt the shock and sadness I expected to feel. . I understand why others are so drawn to this debut. I agree that it was quite good, atmospheric, and a different sort of story but I couldn't quite get to loving it. Be kind to me, friends! 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Megan Hoffman.
174 reviews289 followers
April 21, 2016
This wasn't an emotionally easy book to take in. Saying that it's heavy would be an understatement, but it's one that is such an incredibly crafted story that I know it's one that will stay on my favorites list for years to come.

Jacob, a young boy, has been hit by a speeding car on a dark and rainy night. The driver, rather than stopping, speeds away leaving the boy's mother traumatized and distraught. Not knowing how to handle her own grief, she flees in effort to escape everything that has just unfolded.

Who killed Jacob that night? Let me tell you, it wasn't at all who I thought. This book had me guessing literally through the last lines of the epilogue.

It's books like this that keep me coming back to the thriller genre over and over again.

What did I think?: This is one of the best books I've ever read and the authors ability to craft such a unique web of circumstances is truly an amazing thing. After this, I'd read anything she writes.

Who should read it?: This is the best thriller I've read in such a long time, so if it's a genre you enjoy you can't miss this one. I can't wait to discuss it with others who I feel are bound to love it as much as I have.
Profile Image for *TANYA*.
1,002 reviews313 followers
December 18, 2016
Wow, indeed!!! Heartbreaking story. This book had my emotions all over the place: angst, anger, and then sympathy. Great book and that ending....!!!!

Yeah, this book was so much better than Gone Girl in my opinion.
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
315 reviews2,418 followers
August 4, 2017
ONE OF MY TOP TEN TWISTERS! See all my Tornado Warnings at www.booksbejeweled

“A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?”

Clare Macintosh, the author of I Let You Go, is the real deal. According to her Goodreads profile, she spent twelve years in the police force, including time in the criminal investigations unit (CID). She knows what she is writing about.

I Let You Go, her debut novel, was the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015 (U.K.). It won all kinds of awards and is still an extremely popular book. For good reason.

Here’s what it’s about: after a tragic accident, Jenna Gray’s only hope is to start afresh—and in a tiny, remote Welsh village it seems possible, just for a moment, that she might be able to find a new life. But her grief isn’t going to stay in the past for long… THAT IS ALL I CAN TELL YOU without spoilers.

This book checks all my required boxes for a top notch domestic thriller!

UK setting (SO MUCH LOVE)
Heavy on the psychological aspects (YES)
Just enough police procedural
Sympathetic protagonist
Unreliable narrators (MUST HAVE)
Breath taking plot twists
Compelling mystery (UNPUTDOWNABLE)
Expertly-cleverly-plotted writing (TECHNICAL TERM)

DING DING DING…..We have a winner! The book takes a minute to set up and you may find it a bit slow, but relax, you’re in good hands. (And wake up! You might want to really pay attention at the beginning since there may or may not be a few clues already sprinkled in. )

I found this book compelling and irresistible. Although the subject matter is heavy, it carries an important message and Clare Macintosh is up to the challenge.

Profile Image for Karon Buxton.
263 reviews
August 11, 2015
Am I reading the same book??? I'm wondering if the publisher sent out lots of free copies (which appears to be the case in reviews on goodreads & Amazon so obviously they can't be trusted!!) this book is so flat it's unbelievable! The chapters with the police are two dimensional & pointless. I'm sticking with it but even on page 100 & something I'm thinking , who cares ! The best thing in the story is the dog. Over hyped over marketed - shame on you Ruthless publishers for pushing such a FLAT story when there are some real fantastic page turners out there with not even half the exposure. I.e. Disclaimer by Renee Knight a truly amazing, addictive & brilliant debut . And the wonderful The kind worth killing by Peter Swanson - why don't more people know about that amazing book, a sort of re writing of strangers on a train. Reviewers who state that this is their psychological thriller of the year are either being paid by the publisher or on some sort of deal for free books or haven't read anything else period ! I'm totally disgusted with all the hype and the high marks on goodreads it should never have an over 4 rating more like 2! Rant over ........finished & still rubbish
Profile Image for Carol.
834 reviews499 followers
August 31, 2016
The Hook I’m seeing this everywhere and once again have been drawn in by the hype. IMHO, it is deserved this time.

The Line “I want to fix an image of him in my head, but all I can see when I close my eyes is his body, still and lifeless in my arms. I let him go, and I will never forgive myself for that.”

The Sinker – This is the best fiction I’ve read on this subject since…oh, no, can’t tell you that or it will spoil the whole read for you. Ok, so sometimes I’m an unreliable reviewer. You don’t know where I’m coming from and need to read between the lines to know how I felt about a book. I’ve given up the star ratings and this often leaves you scratching your head. Did she like it or not?

Just so you know I really liked I Let You Go. I was hooked right from the gripping prologue. Clare Mackintosh has produced an emotional read with a tenseness that can’t be denied. As I approached the end my senses were being pulled all over the place. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

With that said, I don’t know why I think I know better than the author. She made her bed and I didn’t necessarily want to lie or is that lay or whatever, in it. I forgave her the choices made.

Though I have gone the route of lightness, make no mistake; this is not a lightweight read. Do not read the jacket or the reviews if you do not want spoilers though thankfully most of my GR friends were very careful. Just read the book. It’s good. I’m adding myself to Clare Mackintosh’s fan base.
Profile Image for Kat (Books are Comfort Food).
235 reviews253 followers
January 27, 2021
A great debut novel by a Claire Macintosh.please see the book synopsis for book details. I hesitate to write too much here for fear of giving something away.

A mother picks her child up from school and Jacob, her 5 year old son, and she walk home in the rain. Jacob is all excited, sharing his day with her. Just as they are about to cross the street she lets go of Jacob’s hand, he runs off and tragedy strikes.

This is a very good read, full of heart and emotion. I sat, trying to imagine how any mother would get through this. I couldn’t.

This book doesn’t follow the typical recipe for stories of loss, combined with a thriller. There will come a point in the story where you will wonder what the hell is going on, asking yourself, “what did I miss?” Keep reading.

I loved many of the characters and I certainly loved the small, ocean town and I could envision what it would be like to live there.

The antagonist in the story, I wanted to castrate with a dull picnic knife!

All in all, this is a great read and has both great characters, character development, a good human story and good thrill moments.

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