I Let You Go

9781101987490_p0_v2_s192x300    A hit and run driver kills a five year old boy walking home with his mother on a rainy night; after the accident,  his mother disappears in Clare Mackintosh’s I Let You Go.  The story follows a police procedural formula with chapters alternating between the investigation and the distraught mother, until a surprising revelation at the end of Part I changes the narrative into a tense mystery thriller.

Without revealing too much to spoil the fun of the many surprises, let’s just say every time I thought I had solved the crime, Mackintosh changed direction, and the plot twists were shocking.

After the death of the boy, Jenna is distraught and shaken. She leaves everything behind, and decides to disappear to a remote seaside town in Wales where she slowly begins her life as an artist again, drawing messages in the sand and taking photographs of them from the top of the cliffs for tourists to buy.  A year later, the police reopen the investigation with a new lead to the killer, and at the same time begin looking for the boy’s mother. They find both in the first shift in the plot.

Part II backtracks to Jenna’s life as a student and her relationship with a controlling abusive lover, who interrupts the story with his own insane ramblings.  In alternate chapters, Ray Stevens, the police inspector who is pursuing the case with his sidekick Kate, an attractive junior officer, tries to juggle the investigation with his own problems at home with his teenage son and his wife, a former police officer.  The family drama is a good distraction, but the pursuit of the hit and run killer is the focus, and drives the suspense as Mackintosh throws in red herrings – even to the last page.

I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did – a great summer book to read fast and furiously – but probably not before going to bed.

 

Luckiest Girl Alive

9781476789637_p0_v3_s260x420Trauma lurks behind the facade of normalcy in Jessica Knoll’s “Luckiest Girl Alive.” A writer for a women’s magazine in New York City, Ani is planning her wedding to the perfect guy, until her past intrudes,and a documentary of her high school years brings her back to face her demons. Alternating between flashbacks to the horrors of her teen years and Ani’s present day life as a twenty-something, Knoll slowly builds the drama until the past is revealed in miserable true-crime-story increments.

Although the reader is lulled into thinking the worst has happened, the surprise reveal to Ani’s past life elevates the story to more than just another tale of a dark and twisted beauty. Among the spate of recent fiction featuring girl characters with issues, Ani turns out to be redeemable, and the ending is both believable and satisfying.

The story is fast-paced with markers building to the unexpected shocking incident. You will keep reading to solve the mystery of Ani’s past; I read the book in a day.