I See You by Clare Mackintosh, published by Sphere, is one such book that blew me away – like, it *really* blew me away. I’ll admit that when I began reading this novel I was smack bang in the middle of a reading slump and so I took forever to get through the first few chapters. When I realised the slump was affecting my reading I simply stopped and took a few weeks’ break – and I’m so glad I did because this novel deserved every inch of my attention.
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, no website: just 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…
What I say:
Mackintosh’s main protagonist, Zoe Walker, is my type of female lead. She’s not particularly sexy, nor is she trying to be, she’s a mum to two ‘grown’ kids, she’s in a new(ish) relationship and has a few issues accepting certain types of help. Walker’s fiercely independent but emotionally dependent at the same time, which I thought was great. And then she finds an ad with a picture of someone that looks exactly like her and she believes she’s in the middle of a huge prank, or worse.
On the next breath we have Kelly, a British Transport Police officer who goes more than above and beyond her role to keep members of the public safe. From the get-go it’s apparent to see that she’s haunted by something that’s happened in her past, but we’re not quite sure what it is and how far back in her past the thing that’s haunting her occurred. When a few women who’ve also had their faces in the papers become the victims of something dark and sinister, Kelly pleads her case to be involved.
That’s about as much as I can say without spoiling it for you but, honestly, this book had me questioning each character’s every move, encounter and conversation. Mackintosh has this incredible ability of leading you down several roads, with pot-holes, sharp bends and dead-ends and then bulldozes every idea you’ve had in your head until you come to a crashing halt – and that’s probably me underselling it!
I thoroughly enjoyed the plot; it had the perfect balance of mystery, regret, betrayal and loyalty funnily enough. In the midst of all the wrongdoings in this book there’s a very strong sense of family even when they’re not really seeing eye-to-eye. The question you’ll find yourself asking repeatedly is, who on earth is behind these ads and what the hell!? You really won’t believe it.
The growing sense of danger in this novel quickened my reading (and my pulse) because I needed to know what was going to happen. I never once felt the story lagged, I was as interested when I had reached the end as I was at the very beginning. Walker’s growth, as well as the ego of the killer, knew no limits, which really made for an interesting read.
Instead of saying how pacey this novel was, I’ll say this: the first 2/3 of the novel is the equivalent of someone walking in a hot deserted area while pouring a can of petrol. The remainder? That’s easy, it’s someone, a very clever someone, lighting a match and throwing in an inch away from the fire – and then a small wind blows…you wait for it…and then everything goes up in flames. But, the fire’s not the problem, it’s the smoke…
If ever there was a book that I can hand-on-heart say caught me unawares by the shocking and cleverly crafted plot twist, it’s this one. I See You will leave you breathless – it’s desperately wicked and utterly delightful.
Thanks to Kirsteen Astor from Little, Brown for my copy!
Where to buy: