Summary and book reviews of I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go

by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
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  • First Published:
    May 2016, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2016, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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About this Book

Book Summary

The next blockbuster thriller for those who loved The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.... a novel with "an astonishing intensity that drags you in and never - ever - lets you go." (Daily Mail, UK)

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.

PROLOGUE

The wind flicks wet hair across her face, and she screws up her eyes against the rain. Weather like this makes everyone hurry; scurrying past on slippery pavements with chins buried into collars. Passing cars send spray over their shoes; the noise from the traffic making it impossible for her to hear more than a few words of the chattering update that began the moment the school gates opened. The words burst from him without a break, mixed up and back to front in the excitement of this new world into which he is growing. She makes out something about a best friend; a project on space; a new teacher, and she looks down and smiles at his excitement, ignoring the cold that weaves its way through her scarf. The boy grins back and tips up his head to taste the rain; wet eyelashes forming dark clumps around his eyes.

"And I can write my name, Mummy!"

"You clever boy," she says, stopping to kiss him fiercely on his damp forehead. "Will you show me when you get home?"

They walk as quickly...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. How does the title, I Let You Go, link to the themes in the novel?
  2. The author of I Let You Go is a former police officer. Do you think this is evident in the storytelling?
  3. How does the author pull the wool over the reader's eyes in preparation for the first major twist? How did you feel when you reached it?
  4. Discuss the relationship between Ray and Kate.
  5. Some of the scenes in I Let You Go present a high level of violence. Are these sections hard to read? Are they necessary for the story? Why did the author include them?
  6. The ending is intentionally ambiguous: what do you think happened at the end of the story, and do you think it was the right ending? How would you have resolved ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Sometimes it’s a reach to see how a book becomes an international bestseller. Other times – well, other times there’s Clare Mackintosh’s I Let You Go, and from page one you’re asking yourself, where has this terrific book been all my life?   (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).

Full Review (659 words).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

[An] accomplished debut… keeps readers on their toes.

Booklist

Mind-bending.

Library Journal

Starred Review. A wonderfully layered thriller that skillfully builds from that one tragic event. It makes a good match for fans of Sophie Hannah and Erin Kelly.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Jaw-dropping… the kind of book that sticks in the reader's mind well after the final sentence.

Author Blurb #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Lee Child
Astonishingly good.

Author Blurb Catherine Coulter, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Nemesis
Mackintosh's Brit police training added the right amount of gritty realism to this atmospheric thriller.

Author Blurb Peter James, author of Want You Dead
A terrific, compelling read with an astonishing twist that floored me.

Author Blurb Samantha Hayes, author of What You Left Behind
Addictive… one thrill after another.

Author Blurb Mark Billingham, author of Time of Death
A hugely assured and gripping debut and a twist that made me green with envy.

Reader Reviews

Lesley

A moving & clever novel.
This is the most memorable book I've read for a long time. It is so cleverly written. The effect has lingered in my mind, in a fascinating way, since reading it months ago.The locations add interest as they switch from urban to seaside and the author...   Read More

Alline

Red Herrings Galore!
I was terribly disappointed in this book. It was filled with cliches, cheap tricks and red herrings. The protagonist is a pathetic doormat with whom we are supposed to identify and commiserate. While I finished the book it was with a groan, not a ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Bending Real Life into Fiction

Clare Mackintosh's debut novel, I Let You Go, is inspired by an event – a hit-and-run accident – that happened early in the author's career as a police officer. Embarking on a work of fiction by using an actual event as inspiration is a common occurrence in books, movies and television. Note that this story is "inspired by" and not "based upon" a true-life event. There are distinct differences.

RoomFor example how often does someone read a snippet of a newspaper story, see a blurb on a news website, or even overhear a conversation on a bus or plane about something that leaves several open ended questions? Frequently fiction-writing teachers will throw such a news article out to their class and assign writing a story that the ...

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