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One rainy November evening, a young mother is bringing her five year old son Jacob home from school when she lets go of his hand for a second. Long enough for him to get killed by a hit-and-run driver, who becomes the subject of a police investigation.

Devastated by her memories and haunted by her past, Jenna Gray moves to a remote cottage in Wales, where she tries to get over her grief. And bit by bit she starts to find a new purpose in her life – but just as she finally sees light at the end of the tunnel, her past comes back to find her.

I’ve had to be deliberately ambiguous about the plot of this book, because I don’t want to give anything away. However, if you are a fan of psychological thrillers, then I would highly recommend it. I thought the plot was very clever, and all of the characters – particularly Jenna and DI Ray Stevens, the man in charge of the investigation into Jacob’s killer – were very well depicted and easy to invest in.

There are multiple narrators in this book – Jenna tells the story in the first person, while a third person narrator describes the police investigation and delves into the personal life of Ray Stevens. A third narrator enters the story at a later point, but to say who would reveal too much.

The author was actually in the Police Force, and it shows in her knowledge and descriptions of police procedure. I also liked how she revealed the story bit by bit, and for the first time in a while when reading a novel, I had to stop myself from looking a few pages ahead, because I really wanted to know what was going to happen.

The blurb on the cover as well as every review I’ve read of this book state that there is a big twist, so I don’t think I’m revealing anything new by saying that here – however, I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I hadn’t known there was something twisty coming. The twist itself was cleverly written, and had I not been expecting it I would have been totally thrown.

This is an accomplished debut, and I will definitely be looking out for further books by Clare Mackintosh.

(Author’s website can be found here.)

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