Don’t Let Go, Michel Bussi

Don’t Let Go marks the third English translation of French novelist Michel Bussi.

Unsurprisingly, Bussi has crafted another fast-paced, sophisticated crime thriller.

Set on the idyllic island of Réunion, the story follows the Bellion family on holiday. Martial and his wife Liane have brought their little six-year-old daughter in hope of relaxing on this tranquil island. Their hopes come to an abrupt end, when Liane vanishes from their hotel room. Martial finds the room trashed and covered in blood, but his wife is nowhere to be seen. Not long after the police begin their investigation does Martial also suspiciously disappear taking his daughter with him, but is all what it seems?

You cannot fault the imagination of Michel Bussi.

Considering this is his third translation, and crime thrillers can become quite predictable with so many authors using the same concept of the ‘whodunit mystery’, Bussi is still up ahead in the game as he remains a unique writer within his genre.

The story of Don’t Let Go evolves around three days with the pace never once letting up. Bussi has perfected the end of chapter cliffhanger, which might sound like an easy job, but some of the chapters are a mere three pages long, so there are quite a lot of cliffhangers to get through, without becoming a) predictable and b) annoying. Every chapter begins with a time, alerting the reader to the stakes the characters are up against, with the reader feeling very involved in the plot as it thickens, but not really having a clue what is going on.

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What I liked about this book is the reader is as completely useless as the police department is in solving the disappearances of the Bellion family, meaning we as the reader are analysing the little clues we are given but also shouting at the book when we believe (like we’re the experts)  the police have missed something big.

The dedication of Bussi to his craft shows brilliantly in this book. He stops and makes sure every character has some formation of a backstory, which is how he catches his reader up in so many red-herrings, as we are led to believe we are given some information which will be pivotal to the plot, yet turns out to be pretty pointless in the end game. The book may feel quite slow to begin with, as the police correlate all their information, but once the final act begins to play out, it is a ride you cannot get off until the end.

This is a great summer read with plenty of twists, and one you will not be able to put  down.

Don’t Let Go is available on hardback at all major booksellers.

Check out my previous reviews on other Michel Bussi’s books: After The Crash and Black Water Lilies.

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