I had never heard of this book before seeing it while browsing through the “New” books display at my local library. What prompted me to pick this up and not put it back was a quote on the cover by Paula Hawkins, the author of the best-selling, The Girl on the Train, which was a book that I had loved. I Let You Go seemed to be in the same “crime fiction” genre as The Girl on the Train and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, another book that I had loved (but which was somewhat ruined for me after the movie version), and what seemed to give it instant credibility was the fact that the author had spent twelve years on the police force in England. Also, the book jacket blurb promised a “twist” — another aspect common to both Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train — which is irresistible to die-hard fans of crime thrillers like me and accounts for the enduring popularity of Agatha Christie novels and detectives like Sherlock Homes.
The hallmark of a good crime novel is that it is almost impossible to put down once you start reading it, and from that perspective, I Let You Go definitely makes the cut. The “crime” at the center of the book is a hit-and-run car accident that kills a small boy, and the book focuses primarily on its aftermath, both on the people involved in it as well as the detectives investigating it. It is well written, fast-paced, and keeps you engaged right up to the end. While the promised plot “twist” was a bit too convoluted and the story was eventually resolved a bit too neatly in my opinion, it was still a thrilling and enjoyable read. At times, you just want to be entertained with a good “whodunit” mystery and while Agatha Christie was the master of this genre, she’s not around anymore and it’s great to have books like this coming from other talented writers.
While I found I Let You Go a good thriller that was definitely worth reading, I doubt I would be interested in re-reading it again at some point. It’s the kind of book that captivates you the first time, but once the suspense is over and you know how it ends, it’s done. It’s not the kind of book you re-read to enjoy the way it’s written and how it was cleverly crafted to keep you guessing. So while I bought copies of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl to have in my collection after reading them (along with Gillian Flynn’s earlier Dark Places — and don’t even get me started on the Cormoran Strike novels by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling!), I don’t see myself wanting to re-read I Let You Go. I was glad to have read it, but I have no regrets about returned my borrowed copy back to the library for someone else to enjoy.
I Let You Go
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Publication Date: May 2016
Reviewer: Lachmi Khemlani runs a technology publication in the San Francisco Bay Area.