My friend Alicia mentioned I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh the other day, saying those magic words that push a book to the top of my list. “I realized I was only 40% done. And then the story took a big twist. OMG, I love when books do this! LOL, I thought it was all predictable and then BAM!”
Well, BAM! Obviously, I had to read it. The book begins with a tragedy, a hit and run accident that killed a five-year-old boy named Jason. The story follows the investigation of the case and the escape of a woman, fleeing the memories of the accident and her lost son as she tries to find refuge on the Welsh coast.
An artist, she finds inspiration on the beach, not just in the play of light, water, and color. She writes messages on the sand, photographs them and has her slate washed clean in the tide. You wonder if she is looking for a clean slate, not just for her art, but for her psyche.
Diligence and dedication pay off for the police detectives Ray and Kate. They finally track down the driver which should be the ends of the story, except that is when “the story took a big twist.”
Well, Alicia was right. There is a big twist and it makes this story so much more interesting than I first thought. Subtle misdirection and sparing revelations make this twist completely fair. Better than the twist, though, is the character development and relationship that develops between the detectives. This was an honest assessment of how work relationships can lead people astray, into temptation and error, but how they can also find their way back to professional ground. It is an excellent portrayal of a marriage, how stress and struggle can fray the bonds and how honesty and love can mend the damage.
In the end, this is a satisfying story. Far more complex than it first seemed. I know I frequently mention my dislike of the narrative from “inside the mind of the killer” but in this case, it works.