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I received a free digital copy of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Picture the scene – an idyllic resort on the island of Réunion. Martial and Liane Bellion are enjoying the perfect moment with their six-year-old daughter. Turquoise skies, clear water, palm trees, a warm breeze…
Then Liane Bellion disappears. She went up to her hotel room between 3 and 4pm and never came back. When the room is opened, it is empty, but there is blood everywhere. An employee of the hotel claims to have seen Martial in the corridor during that crucial hour.
Then Martial also disappears, along with his daughter. An all-out manhunt is declared across the island. But is Martial really his wife’s killer? And if he isn’t, why does he appear to be so guilty?
Don’t Let Go is a mystery, thriller that sees an investigation take many twists and turns amongst the island of Réunion. On what is an almost perfect day, Liane Bellion disappears from her hotel room leaving behind a questionable scene that sees a room covered in blood, devoid of any of Liane’s clothes, and her husband Martial Bellion the prime suspect. As things begin to heat up, Martial – and his daughter Sopha – also disappear leading to the whole of Réunion’s police departments on the hunt for these missing person. The question is, did Martial kill his wife?
I’ve read a couple of Michel Bussi’s novels now and he is definitely an author I am following. Bussi really knows how to bring together a brilliant mystery, thriller novel that leaves you suspecting everyone, questioning motives and actions, and sends you in so many different directions you question your own thought processes. Don’t Let Go is no different; with new information coming to light at key points within the novel and multiple perspectives leading you through the events, it’s hard not to point the finger.
Our main characters are those of Martial, Aja, Christos, and Sopha – all directly involved in the investigation taking place. We get to understand these characters a lot, especially those of Martial and Sopha as we are provided with background information through stories and flashbacks. With an already questionable past, Martial has a lot to prove and makes matters worse by disappearing with his daughter. All the information we are provided with does not play out in his favour but, as the novel progresses, we also begin to understand why his questionable actions are being fulfilled. Alongside this we also have Sopha’s childlike perspective that also leaves a lot to be questioned as she provides details on their father-daughter relationship and how she feels during each moment – going from scared, upset, to happy and understanding. Sopha, given her age, is actually quite mature in her forward thinking and helps to provide a lot of insight.
I seriously could not put this novel down. It was gripping, mind-boggling, though-provoking, and full of mystery. I found myself trying to understand Martial’s motives, coming up with my own scenarios to try and better grasp the situation at hand. Your mind runs wild with all these different endgame potentials and, it is only when you start to get into the final stretch of the novel (the last 100 pages or so) that it all begins to make perfect sense. All of the characters are well fleshed out and full of emotion allowing you to grow deeply attached, and the characters of Aja and Christos fall full throttle into the game of cat and mouse that ensues. I found Christos to be an endearing character, more so towards the end as he develops and begins to understand his role more fully following certain events.