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Clare Mackintosh – I Let You Go

Posted in Book reviews, and Fiction

It seems like suspense is not exactly my thing. The first one I’ve ever read was Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl which, in my opinion, was worth the hype as she came with something new, unexpected and far from the established norms. Since then, or maybe even before, mystery thrillers, suspense and other nerve wrenching books emerged out of nowhere. So many titles with girls, so many settings in beautiful, but dark nature, so many people having shockingly dark secrets no one could even guessed. Until now. Popularity of grumpy, troubled detectives was replaced by unstable women and men with hidden lives. I mean, c’mon; all of sudden?! Saying this, I try to keep my mind open as much as possible. That’s the reason why I picked up The Fall of Lisa Bellow I ended up liking, The Girl on the Train I found immensely annoying and lastly I gave a try to widely celebrated I Let You Go. Here is what I think.

The twists in this book are unpredictable and fun, until they go way too far. Sometimes, I got a feeling of Claire having a brilliant idea about an important event, but the way it is presented and developed harms the idea itself. Without spoilers, for me it was the last twist of the book which was unexpected, interesting but ended up almost unbelievable. Not to mention the complete ending what got me frowning upon described events. Another weak point of I Let You Go were both past and forming relationships, be it with inhabitants in a small town, or less or more intimate ones. They appeared to be somehow fake, hardly imaginable. Maybe that’s the cynic in me speaking but I really have hard time believing people forgiving in a blink of an eye all sorts of bad decisions or shocking lies.

What I appreciated, though, were chosen themes in I Let You Go. The stigma looming above a parent losing a child is unfortunately still enormous, as is about the victims of domestic violence. Also, the way Claire decided to describe the atmosphere within a close community is very reliable. The beginning of I Let You Go makes one think to read about the dark side of media, the omnipresent hunger for sensation of any kind, making people lose their sympathy and compassion. The understanding of why would someone prefer a fresh start over anything is in such cases obvious.

Taken into account that I Let You Go was Claire’s debut roman the development of the story is breath taking. Her second book I See You has very similar, if not same ratings, which speaks highly enough about Claire’s skills – apparently, what happened with I Let You Go wasn’t just beginner’s luck. From this point of view I’m impressed. On the other hand, the whole thing with troubling past, disappearing and good cops with problems at home… you know, it gave me a strange aftertaste. It could be because I’m simply sceptical and tired of characters being able to live double lives, or that one year after all pieces of evidence suddenly start to fall into place. In any case, I would give Claire another chance if she ever decides to write a piece of different fiction. I can imagine her creating a complicated story about family relationships etc., because I have no doubt about her writing skills. But until then I let her go her way.

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