I See You | Clare Mackintosh | 2016, Pb 2017 | Sphere | 384p | Review copy | Buy the book
Everything is going right for Zoe Walker at last – she has a loving partner, Simon, to replace the husband who will never stop regretting his moment of infidelity, and her two grown and live-at-home children, Justin and Katie, are finally settling down into jobs they enjoy. Zoe hasn’t much money but she has a job she likes and she has good friends down the road to help out when she needs a hand. The daily commute’s a nuisance but that’s what you expect when the jobs are in one zone and the more affordable homes are in another.
And then one day, while flicking through the local paper, Zoe sees a photo of a woman advertising a dating website – it’s her. Everyone around her tells her that she must be wrong, it’s not an exact match, and Zoe is almost ready to believe them until the next day and another familiar face stares at her from the paper, advertising a website link that doesn’t work and a phone number that doesn’t ring.
That is as much of the plot as you’re going to hear from me – the pleasure of watching it all revealed, the growing tension and the self-doubt and anxiety that rack Zoe and her family, as well as the determined efforts of constable Kelly Swift to solve this mystery, forms the heart of this wonderful, clever and involving thriller that is driven by character, shadows and the all too believable horror of what unfolds.
I loved so much of this book. The everyday routine of Zoe’s life and the completely normal tussles with her children and partner provide the context for a mystery that becomes increasingly sinister. It’s a frightening tale, largely because it’s so plausible. I See You is one of those novels that makes the reader extra wary, keeping an eye open, alert and suspicious, as Zoe learns to strop trusting. I particularly liked the character of Kelly Swift. I really hope that this is a figure we see more of in the future.
Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel I Let You Go has been an outstanding, runaway success and for good reason – it proved to be the most fabulously twisty novel of recent months, brilliantly written and plotted and rich with surprises. Its review is also, incidentally, the most popular post on the blog. It is a lot to live up to (the pressure is hard to imagine) and, for me, I See You almost matches it. The difference here is that I did guess the outcome a little earlier than I’d hoped. Nevertheless, I See You is such a fine novel, fully satisfying the anticipation and expectations that surround it. Clare Mackintosh is a fantastic writer, a true talent and we’re so lucky to have her. I See You proves, as if proof were needed, that Clare Mackintosh is much more than her first novel, she’s here to stay and this makes me very happy indeed.
I Let You Go