don't let go book review @duffythewriter

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 4 pm 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 begins with Martial Bellion enjoying a resort holiday with his perfect family and two friends. His wife goes up to the room to change out of her swimsuit and mysteriously disappears.  Martial calls the police, seemingly distraught, yet Anja, the detective in charge of the case quickly finds holes in Martial’s story. The hotel staff also tell a very different version. It is here we begin the game of cat and mouse across the island in search of Martial Bellion.

What did I think of Don’t Let Go?

Don’t Let Go is translated from French to English, and I thought there may be some tangled plot threads, or that the ‘voice’ may be lost or disjointed in some way, but whoever did the translation did a really good job!  The plot picks up quickly, and the scene is set in detail so you get a real feel for the island of Réunion and the Athena resort in the first few pages.  I also liked the local phrases which were kept in the book along with added footnotes. It helped me to understand the cultural background and balance of the island, although at times I felt them too heavily peppered on the pages. I kept having to glance down the page and back up to find my place. Buy, hey, that’s a minor bookworm problem.

There were two characters which were in the book and it left me a little baffled as to why they were there in the first place, cutting them wouldn’t have harmed the book at all. However, what I loved was the unique setting of Réunion (I had no knowledge of the island prior to this book) and particularly liked the supporting characters, detective Christos, and Imelda his CSI-loving partner,  who were by far my favourites.

Martial is a perfect crime novel character and Michel Bussi expertly unwraps the plot. I changed my mind a few times throughout the book about old Martial, never quite sure which side of good he was on.  I did guess the twist just before it was revealed, and I did find the finale a little convoluted, but overall I felt the suspense build to a satisfying conclusion and was not disappointed at all.

If you’re in the market for a bit of crime suspense, or a thriller which offers a truly unique setting and plenty of twists, Don’t Let Go is for you.

3.5 out of 5 from me. Buy it at Booktopia (be quick, it seems to be selling fast!)