Lately I’ve been loving crime and thriller novels, and two of my absolute favourites have been by Claire Mackintosh: I Let You Go and I See You. Neither of them took me longer than a couple of days to read, I was so eager to know what happened next, and I would recommend them to anyone who enjoys crime fiction. Check out my full reviews below!
I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh
‘I want to fix an image of him in my head, but all I can see when I close my eyes is his body, still and lifeless in my arms. I let him go, and I will never forgive myself for that.’
Jenna Gray is running away – running away from a split second that tore her whole life apart, and the terrible feelings of loss and grief over a terrible thing that happened one November night. She takes up residence in a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, hoping to make a fresh start and a new life for herself. But it isn’t that easy to outrun the past…
It’s actually so hard to review this book without spoiling it, so all I can really say is that it’s a truly compelling book, that grips you from the very first page. In fact I was an emotional wreck from the first page, with the death of a young school boy happening in the opening scene, and then the rest of the book dealing with the fall out from that one terrible event.
The narrative flicks between first person and third person, and between several points of view, primarily between Jenna in Wales, as she fights to make a new life for herself, and the two investigating officers Ray and Kate. At points this could become slightly confusing, but overall this unusual style really worked with the book.
The book also had a really good sense of place, with the gloomy but atmospheric Welsh coast where Jenna lives really complementing the tone of the book, and making a suitable landscape for her to explore her mental trauma, and try to recover. As a character she is often something of enigma, but you still find yourself really feeling for her.
I also really liked the two investigating police officers, Ray and Kate, although I kind of wish their characters hadn’t got so sidetracked with the romantic tension between them, as it didn’t really add anything much to the plot. However, I was really impressed with the level of realism the police investigation had, although it’s unsurprising really, considering that Claire Mackintosh was actually a police officer.
I Let You Go is certainly a compelling and emotional read, and I found it really hard to put this book down once I started. Full of twists and turns, this is a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and I would highly recommend it to all fans of thrillers.
I See You by Claire Mackintosh
‘How fast can you run?
When you really have to?
In heels and a work skirt, with your bag banging against your side: how fast?
When you’re late for your train and you have to get home, and you race down the platform with seconds to spare: how fast can you run?’
Zoe Walker is just your average London commuter: she takes the Tube everyday, sitting in the same place, getting off at the same stop and heading to the same place. She thinks nothing of this until she spots a photograph of a woman in the classified section of a London newspaper that looks suspiciously like her. No explantation is given – just a strange website and a phone number. The following day there is a picture of another woman and the same website and phone number, and another woman the day after that, and another the day after that… Could it all just be a coincidence, or is someone watching them and following their every move?
If anything, I think I See You was my favourite of the two Claire Mackintosh novels, simply because I thought the concept was so incredibly compelling, and it was just so creepy, with a horrible sense of doom carrying you through the pages to reach the conclusion.
Again, it’s hard to discuss the plot of this book without giving away too much, but this book had more of a slow burn in the beginning, and then began to ramp up the tension when events begin to snowball.
The narrative again flicked between different perspectives: the first person narrative of Zoe Walker, the third person narrative of Kelly, one of the investigating officers, and the mysterious first person interludes, presumably written by the perpetrator of the crime, whose indentity you only discover at the end. This flicking between narrative styles and characters seems to be a hallmark of Claire Mackintosh’s style, and it’s something I really like, as it adds another layer to the novels, and really differentiates it from other thrillers.
I also like that with this book you’re not initially sure what the crime is that’s happened, and as that gradually becomes clear you begin to feel like the criminal could literally be anyone. There’s also a real sense of the characters being in true danger throughout, which only upped the tension, and there is a general sense of fear and unease throughout this book.
Again, this was a book full of twists and surprises, and I read it within days, desperate to discover the truth. I can truly say after reading both I Let You Go and I See You that I would happily read anything by Claire Mackintosh, as these are easily some of the best thrillers I’ve read. I can’t wait to see what she publishes next!
So have you read either of these books? What did you think? Are you a fan of crime thrillers?