You may think nothing exciting will happen on your commute to work each day. But imagine those who travel with you may not be who you think they are. Clare Mackintosh delves into our paranoia and exploits our fears to great effect. I See You is the second novel from Clare Mackintosh, an award-winning crime novelist who started out as a police officer before using her inside knowledge to create compelling, edge of your seat reads.
I read Clare’s first novel, I Let You Go, whilst researching my dissertation piece on a recommendation from a member of my discussion group. The twists and turns of this story had me hooked and I was hoping for a similar experience with this book. Did it live up to expectation?
When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .
This story is written in the third person but from two female character’s perspectives. In Let You Go, Clare switched from first to third person and for some of the narration didn’t show you she had switched between two different first person perspectives. This technique worked so well in the first book but wasn’t replicated in this. I don’t think I See You would have worked as well if she had used that. There is some first-person narration from the antagonist which adds depth to the story and introduces the next chapter.
The chapters are quite short, which makes it easy to read. It’s also easy put it down and then get back into it.
A very interesting concept. A dating site that details women’s commutes allowing its members to stalk their prospective dates to see if they’re right for them. These women haven’t agreed to be on findtheone.com and as the story unravels, the members aren’t just looking for a partner.
There are two main characters, Zoe Walker, mother of two teens who commutes to a job she hates in London. She picks up the free paper on the way home and sees her picture in the back with a phone number and a web address, findtheone.com. She reports this to the police when she realises another woman pictured was pickpocketed on the tube shortly after being in the paper.
Kelly Swift is the police officer who investigated the pickpocket incident. Zoe’s call gets through to Kelly and she champions her case. Soon they’re both embroiled in a murder investigation linked to findtheone.com.
With Clare’s realistic writing style, you feel as though you are there with both Zoe and Kelly as they try to find out whose stalking these women.
Set amongst the underground and streets of London, it couldn’t be any further away than the setting of Let You Go.
Zoe’s home couldn’t feel more real with a dining table piled high with stuff. In stark contrast, her neighbour’s immaculate home adds a touch of realism to a darkly disturbing setting. This book feels like it could have really happened, this is down to the realistic details Clare adds to her story telling.
I couldn’t put this book down. I was hooked from the first page and I just had to know who was behind it. If there was one criticism, I’d give this book is the ending. I like a book that ties everything up, but this one leaves you wondering why even after the conclusion.
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sphere (20 April 2017)