This book starts off with an accident and then a woman called Jenna is running away from all her heartbreak, wanting to make a fresh start where no-one knows her and she can forget about what's she's lost. Ray, a detective with the Bristol Police, is trying to investigate all the pieces of the night that changed Jenna's life but as the months go in, he starts losing a grip on his family. Eventually, just as things start going well for Jenna, they all fall down again. And when Ray think's he's solved the case, another mystery appears.
This is an amazing, beautifully written and emotional read. I was completely hooked. I really felt for Jenna and loved all the mystery surrounding her life, even though it drove me crazy. I felt like I was pretty sure I knew what I was reading until about 50% through when suddenly it flipped and everything turned much darker and a lot more sinister. From that point, I couldn't put the book down until I had solved everything. This was definitely not one of those books where I guessed what would happen. It really did keep me on the edge of my seat until the very end!
The detective and police work described in this book by Ray and his colleagues felt very authentic to me, and it all made sense when I read the Author's Note and Clare Mackintosh wrote about her years as a police officer and dealing with a similar case as in the book
This was an incredible debut and a really strong introduction into the world of mystery and thrillers for Clare Mackintosh. I'll definitely be picking up her next book!
P.S I also adore the cover of this book!
The one thing I didn't like were the feelings Ray had about Kate. They didn't seem entirely solved. He walked away with her once at the end of the book but it didn't make clear if he would walk away again. I also felt frustrated at him believing his son to be bullied for almost two years, and not bothering to once approach a conversation with him. I also would have liked to have read about Ray's conversation with Tom when they found out the truth. Or something like Ray explaining Jenna's story to Tom and making him realise that he shouldn't want to grow up to be a bully of a man like Ian. I was happy with the way domestic abuse was approached in this book, there was a huge degree of respect given to the women involved (largely, I guess, taken from Clare's own experience with such case while she was a policewoman) and it was just handled very beautifully. It was wasn't introduced as a 'click-bait, view grabber' kind of way but as a real aspect of the story that became very important.