I SEE YOU
by Clare Mackintosh
Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favourite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her...
It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her, a grainy photo along with a phone number and listing for a website called findtheone.com.
Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they've become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including rape and murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad's twisted purpose...a discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. For now Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target.
And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…
The set-up is Cobenesque. Zoe Walker, a fortyish mother of teenagers Justin and Katie, spots an advert in the dating/seedy section of her newspaper’s classified ads. The grainy picture on findtheone.com seems to be of her. Her family try to reassure her that it’s some lookalike but us savvy readers know different.
We are soon in ‘ordinary folk in extraordinary situations’ territory as different women are appearing in these ads only to later become victims of crime. This is a psychological thriller with fear and a creepy air of suspense accompanying Zoe as she goes about her life, terrorised. There are several false alarms as paranoia understandably sets in and trust in her fellow commuters is questioned.
The dangers of the internet are examined, with a reminder that any information and pictures placed on social media can easily be hacked and used against you, in this case to let sinister stalkers with more money than decency know your every move, how you look and dress, the routes you take and times kept to. The idea that ‘it could be you’ is suitably creepy. Readers/commuters, often forced to live by routines in order to make their travel times, may even find themselves mixing up their routine.
The three points of view come from Zoe, a demoted detective called Kelly Swift, and the anonymous perpetrator. Officer Swift had previously taken retributory matters into her own hands and is now working cases of transport policing and DIP squad. As these crimes are linked to the London underground she tries to get on the case, and works to convince her bosses that she can be a trusted asset. The dogged and talented swift comes up against a bolshie and brusque lead investigator DI Nick Rampello, a man she later has to must work with. Swift has her own demons to deal with and gets a chance to put things right.
Other woman are coming a cropper and after one is murdered the stress levels rise to extreme levels. The police are now facing a race against time to stop this website which is adding new women regularly.
My only reservation is that Zoe (the main character) is a little dull. It’s understandable that she’s preoccupied with fear but I’d have liked her to have more depth or dimensions.
The perp – who speaks directly to us in short italicised passage – is well hidden and scary. And I’m always partial to a last page revelation, and on this it doesn’t disappoint.
I See You is a plot-driven story with many neat twists and revelations occurring at the end of chapters. These are usually followed by a change of POV leaving you reading quickly to get to the resolutions. In effect, it’s a page-turner!
About Clare Mackintosh
Clare Mackintosh spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant now writes full time. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.
Clare's debut novel, I Let You Go, is a Sunday Times bestseller and was the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It was selected for both the Richard and Judy Book Club, and was the winning title of the readers' vote for the summer 2015 selection, and ITV's Loose Women's Loose Books. Her second novel, I See You, is a number 1 Sunday Times bestseller, and a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. Clare's books are translated into more than 30 languages.
Clare is the patron of the Silver Star Society, an Oxford-based charity which supports the work carried out in the John Radcliffe Hospital's Silver Star unit, providing special care for mothers with medical complications during pregnancy.