I See You by Clare Mackintosh

I See You by Clare Mackintosh
Pub. Date: February 21, 2017
Source: e-ARC via publisher (Thank you, Berkley books!)
Summary: Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite 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 a 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 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. 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…
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller

Last month I featured a week-long series on the blog where I highlighted upcoming novels I couldn’t wait to read. One day was dedicated to mystery and suspense novels and at the top of the list was Clare Mackintosh’s I See You. Hot on the heels of last year’s I Let You Go (or, at least here in the US – back in the UK it originally came out in 2014), I See You is another twisty ride with a premise that could easily have been ripped from the headlines.

Zoe is a creature of habit. Every morning she goes through the same routine, heading to the same platform to get on the subway, choosing to sit in a particular seat – her favorite. Naturally she doesn’t think anything of it and why should she? There are thousands of people who use the subway every day; why would she have to fear her routine has gone noticed?

It isn’t until she opens the paper one day that she realizes something isn’t quite right. There, in the classifieds, is an advertisement for a dating site – FindTheOne.com and while that’s not cause for alarm in itself, it’s the photo used that had Zoe do a double take. Right there, staring back at her, is a photo of herself. Her birthday isn’t for months, but one of her friends must be playing a prank, right? When she goes home and shows the photo to her partner and children, they insist that the grainy black-and-white picture does bear a resemblance, but with the woman’s back turned to the camera, it really could be anyone.

Still, Zoe isn’t convinced. Especially when each day the photo in the ad shows a different woman…women who turn out to be victims of violent crimes.

Right from the start I See You had me hooked. Zoe and her live-in (and much older) boyfriend are struggling to make ends meet. Her two grown children still live at home and are in no hurry to leave. Her boss’s moods vary wildly day-to-day, but she knows she has to take it all with a smile – she seriously cannot afford to lose her job. Zoe was entirely believable and relatable, particularly when she realized how much of her private life is easily accessible through social media sites like facebook.

Kelly, the other narrator in the novel, doesn’t have it any easier. After an altercation with an inmate left her with PTSD and a leave of absence, she’s back on the force, but in a severely demoted role. Determined to show her superiors she’s changed, that she takes full responsibility for what happened but is more than ready to return to her old job, Kelly just needs that one case that’ll change everything. Initially writing off Zoe’s concerns, Kelly soon notices a pattern between the photos and subsequent crimes and leaps at the chance to get to the bottom of it.

I know I’m being pretty vague, but I See You isn’t a book I want to spoil for anyone. As the story slowly revealed its secrets I couldn’t help but think of Law & Order – I can EASILY see this working as an episode! Several other reviewers have mentioned I See You doesn’t stand up to the success of Mackintosh’s debut, but I thought it was great! Admittedly, I haven’t read I Let You Go, so I have nothing to compare this one to, but I enjoyed it immensely.

Mackintosh doesn’t bring anything new to the genre with this book – it’s a British psychological thriller that starts out on a train, now where have I heard that before?? – but fans of quick-paced, intense reads will be sure to feel right at home here.

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