Posts Tagged ‘Richard and Judy’









I was given a review copy of this crime novel by the publishers prior to publication. It’s always interesting to read a novel from a debut writer, especially one that was shortlisted for the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition in 2014 and hotly contested in auctions around the world.

‘The Widow’ has been described as the next ‘Gone Girl’ or ‘Girl on a Train’. A description I disagree with, it hasn’t got the pace or depth of characters, but it is nevertheless a fascinating read.

It has an unusual take on the crime genre because it tells the story of an unsolved crime from the viewpoint of the widow of the suspect. The story starts with her husband’s death which of course releases his widow to reveal what she knows to both the police and journalists, if she chooses to do so.

The crime her husband is suspected off is abhorrent, the abduction with a likely rape and murder of a small child. Never an easy thing to live with.

The novel vividly brings to life what it must be like to partner and love someone suspected of such a crime. It is told from the viewpoint of the widow, Joan and also from the investigating detective and the journalist’s. The multiple points of view are woven together seamlessly and the story is very well constructed. The narrative moves between the present time after the death of her husband and four years ago when the child abduction occurred as well as the period immediately afterwards.

I particularly enjoyed reading a story about a suspect’s wife. As a probation officer, I spent a number of hours with offender’s partners helping them to understand what was happening and sometimes keeping the clamouring press at bay. The offender’s family are often a further victim of a crime, especially one like this and it was good to gain an insight into that world. However, I did find the pace flagged a bit at times and although a very good novel, it didn’t have that edge of your seat enjoyment factor that would promote this book to a five star read.


I let you go image 1This epic psychological thriller starts dramatically and heart wrenchingly with the death of a five-year-old boy. Clare Mackintosh, was a serving police inspector until the success of this debut novel and it shows in the assured writing. Initially chosen as a Richard and Judy Book Club read and described by them as ‘the most thrilling twist we have read’, it went on to be shortlisted for the ‘Dead Good Reader Award in the categories of ‘most epic ending’ and ‘most recommended’ book.

The police procedural aspect of the story is told through the viewpoint of a detective inspector who struggles to balance his need to find the child’s killer with his battle to be a good husband and father. Alternating with this is the first person account of Jenna who is so affected by the loss of the child that she flees to a remote village on the coast of the Gower Peninsular trying to come to terms with her loss. At first I was eager to follow the police investigation and found the switch of viewpoint got in the way but once Jenna arrives in Wales I was caught up in her story and the secret she was escaping from and hiding from us readers.

Clare Mackintosh was inspired to write ‘I let you go’ by a real hit-and-run incident when a child was killed by a car thief. The intense emotions that incident produced and the loss of her own child informed her writing and has resulted in a powerful and gripping novel. Early in the writing process, Clare intended that halfway through the story the reader would realise that all was not as it seemed, resulting in an astonishing twist that compels you to read on. I completed the book in record time. It is truly an edgy, captivating and ultimately satisfying read.I let you go - book cover