Title: I See You
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Published: July 28th 2016
Publisher: Sphere/Hachette Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery, Crime
Rating: 4 stars
You do the same thing every day.
You know exactly where you’re going.
You’re not alone.
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 website, a grainy image 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 . . .
It’s hard to stand out from the pack in the ever popular psychological thriller genre. Clare Mackintosh is a writer who manages to break to mould and offer us something a little different. In her take on a psychological suspense novel, Mackintosh sets her storyline around the themes of commuting and identity theft.
Zoe Walker is the central protagonist in I See You, which is the second novel written by popular novelist Clare Mackintosh. Zoe dislikes her job at a real estate agency but sees it as a means to an end. Every day she trudges off to work, making a commute that involves both overload and underground train lines. Making the mundane return journey home one day, Zoe happens to pick up a newspaper and is horrified to discover a picture of herself in the classified section, under personal ads. Despite being a blurry image, there is no mistaking that this picture is of Zoe. Underneath the picture is a website address named Findtheone.com, along with a phone number. Zoe paranoia hits overdrive and she is convinced that someone is watching her. Zoe’s family plays down the incident but at this point, it has got under Zoe’s skin. When she does a little personal digging of her own, Zoe discovers more women like her are featured in these unsavoury ads. Tragically, one is even found strangled, just a matter of days after her ad went live. Zoe takes her case to a police officer and disgraced detective Kelly Swift. Kelly is an ambitious officer, working for the transport department, who decides to make this case her own. As Kelly investigates and tries to get to the bottom of the mysterious website Findtheone.com, Zoe begins to suspect those around her of foul play.
I have heard many good things both about this book and the author, Clare Mackintosh. Although I have not read her widely successful debut novel I Let You Go, I’m starting to wonder what I am missing out on, after completely enjoying this second novel from Clare Mackintosh.
Overwhelmingly, I think the sense of realism garnered from I See You is why it worked for me and I believe many others. The idea that it is so easy for someone to snatch your identity from social media sites and manipulate them for personal gain, is both harrowing and entirely plausible. Mackintosh explores this theme extremely well in her second novel, tapping into the fears of the everyday person. Linked to this is the commute Zoe and the other female subjects of the website Findtheone.com take. It offers up the opportunity for anyone to track your movements, adding a strong dose of reality to Zoe’s situation. In fact, I could easily sympathise with Zoe’s paranoia, which I felt was justified.
Mackintosh utilises her experience in the police force before becoming a writer, to inform the character of police officer Kelly Swift. The scenes involving the nitty gritty police procedures in solving this case, came across as authentic. Kelly herself is an interesting character, her back story added an extra layer to the already appealing storyline.
Mackintosh fills her story out with a measured dose of supporting characters. Many of these characters allowed the reader, along with Zoe, to cast doubt over their credibility and their possible involvement in the case against Zoe. These include Zoe’s boyfriend, ex, kids, neighbour, daughter’s new boyfriend and boss. When the final twist was laid upon me, I was caught unawares, I did not suspect the person who it turned out to be. Once I thought I had it all worked out, Mackintosh threw in one final and shocking twist. This led me to question and re-question what just happened!
If you love psychological thrillers that will make you guess and second guess, then I See You is the book for you. It is easy to see why Mackintosh attracted such rave reviews for I See You and her first novel, I Let You Go. Clare Mackintosh has proved to me that she can produce a masterful thriller, complete with a late and shocking plot twist that I did not see coming!
I See You by Clare Mackintosh was published in July 2016 by Sphere via Hachette Australia, details on how to purchase the book can be found here.