I See Youby Clare Mackintosh
From the author of the international and New York Times bestseller I Let You Go comes the psychological thriller Ruth Ware called a “deliciously creepy tale of urban paranoia.”
It all starts during her commute home one night. Zoe Walker glances through her local paper and sees her own face staring back at her in/b>/b>/i>/i>
From the author of the international and New York Times bestseller I Let You Go comes the psychological thriller Ruth Ware called a “deliciously creepy tale of urban paranoia.”
It all starts during her commute home one night. Zoe Walker glances through her local paper and sees her own face staring back at her in a classified ad. With the grainy photo is a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com.
In the following days, she sees other women in the same ad, a different one every day, and nearly all of them show up in the newspapers as victims of increasingly violent crimes—including murder.
With the help of a determined cop, Zoe uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…And suddenly, the man on the train sitting across the car—the one smiling at Zoe—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…
Divorced middle-aged mum Zoe Walker, the narrator of this outstanding psychological thriller from Mackintosh (I Let You Go), is stunned when, during her daily commute to work as bookkeeper/office manager at a London real estate firm, she spots a photo of herself in a newspaper ad for sex chat lines. But the real fear kicks in when she combs through earlier ads and recognizes one face as that of a recent crime victim. After another woman she recognizes from the ads is murdered, Zoe connects with police constable Kelly Swift, who’s chafing under a disciplinary demotion. As Kelly and the task force she worms her way onto race to crack the baffling case, an increasingly terrified Zoe starts to turn a suspicious eye on just about everyone in her life, including her solicitous live-in boyfriend and her overbearing boss. Although some shocking final twists don’t quite convince, Mackintosh scripts a hair-raising ride all the scarier because its premise—that our predictable routines make us easy targets—is sadly so plausible. Author tour. Agent: Sheila Crowley, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (Feb.)
Zoe Walker is a commuter; she takes the same train route and tips the same guitar player in the station every day. She follows this predictable general routine until she spots a newspaper classified ad. A blurry photograph of Zoe is listed along with a phone number and address for a dating website. Intrigued at first, Zoe realizes that a different woman's photo has been running every day with the ad. She soon discovers that these women have been stalked, burgled, assaulted, and even murdered. Is she next? Mackintosh carefully builds suspense by alternating Zoe's obsessive, terrified first-person perspective with that of the third-person viewpoint of London police detective Kelly Swift. With insights into both sides of the investigation, readers will begin to believe that they, too, are being watched. VERDICT Mackintosh's second novel, after her acclaimed debut, I Let You Go, is a chilling addition to the mystery and police procedural genres. The twists and red herrings will attract fans of Tana French and Lisa Gardner.—Natalie Browning, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Coll. Lib., Richmond, VA
Mackintosh follows her wildly successful debut thriller (I Let You Go, 2016) with the harrowing tale of a woman in the cross hairs of a vicious criminal enterprise operating deep within the London Underground. Zoe Walker takes the Tube to her London-based job with a real estate firm. One day, while waiting for her stop, Zoe spies an odd newspaper advertisement bearing the photo of a woman who could be her twin. Soon she's convinced that the woman in the photograph is her and that someone is watching her. The ad directs readers to a site called FindtheOne.com, but Zoe can't get to the site. When she discovers that another woman pictured in one of the website's photos has had her keys stolen, she contacts Kelly Swift, an officer with the British Transport Police. While Kelly investigates, Zoe tries to allay her fears that someone around her could be the culprit. Mackintosh offers up a rich stew of possibilities, including Zoe's boyfriend, former husband, next-door neighbor, and boss. Soon, a third woman connected to the website is murdered. Kelly manages to finagle her way onto the Metropolitan Police's Murder Investigation Team to assist on the case, immediately crossing swords with the lead investigator, DI Nick Rampello, as the MIT scrambles to prevent another tragic death. Mackintosh's debut novel delivered a surprise that left readers reeling, and while her latest one is packed with suspense, twists, and turns, it falls a bit short of her first effort. Most readers will peg the villain early on, while the epilogue will remind them of the loose ends the author—and authorities—has left dangling. The author's meticulous detail to investigative accuracy and talent in weaving a thrilling tale set her work apart from others in the field.
“Wonderfully sinister. Had me looking over my shoulder every time I traveled on the tube.”—Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow
“A brilliant second novel by one of Britain’s most exciting newcomers.”—Jeffrey Archer
“Accomplished, addictive, and thought-provoking.”—B. A. Paris, author of Behind Closed Doors
“An intense psychological thriller that I inhaled with my heart in my mouth…Unsettling and claustrophobic read. Truly shuddersome.”—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl
“Mind-bending…[This novel] makes you reevaluate every step you take, and you will see the world in a different light. And that is genius.”—Alexandra Burt, author of The Good Daughter
“Mackintosh scripts a hair-raising ride.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[A] well-crafted blend of calculated malevolence, cunning plot twists, and redemption that will appeal to fans of Sophie Hannah, Ruth Rendell, and Ruth Ware.”—Booklist (starred review)
“[Mackintosh's] meticulous detail to investigative accuracy and talent in weaving a thrilling tale set her work apart from others in the field.”—Kirkus Reviews
Praise for I Let You Go
“Chilling, compelling, and compassionate, I Let You Go is a finely crafted novel with a killer twist.”—Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train
“Astonishingly good.”—Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Make Me
“The big plot twist in Clare Mackintosh’s first novel, I Let You Go, is genuinely shocking. The jolts that follow, right up until the last page, are pretty good too…[A] cunning psychological thriller.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“An intense psychological thriller…[that] revels in surprises and twists…Outstanding.”—The Associated Press
“I Let You Go is a master class in plotting, with a killer twist. I could not put it down.”—Jojo Moyes, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You
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Read an Excerpt
The man behind me is standing close enough to moisten the skin on my neck with his breath. I move my feet forward an inch and press myself into a gray overcoat that smells of wet dog. It feels as if it hasn’t stopped raining since the start of November, and a light steam rises from the hot bodies jammed against one another. A briefcase jabs into my thigh. As the train judders around a corner I’m held upright by the weight of people surrounding me, one unwilling hand against the gray overcoat for temporary support. At Tower Hill the carriage spits out a dozen commuters and swallows two dozen more, all hell-bent on getting home for the weekend.
“Use the whole carriage!” comes the announcement. Nobody moves.
The gray overcoat has gone, and I’ve shuffled into its place, preferable because I can now reach the handrail, and because I no longer have a stranger’s DNA on my neck. My handbag has swung round behind my body, and I tug it in front of me. Two Japanese tourists are wearing gigantic rucksacks on their chests, taking up the space of another two people. A woman across the carriage sees me looking at them; she catches my eye and grimaces in solidarity. I accept the eye contact fleetingly, then look down at my feet. The shoes around me vary: the men’s are large and shiny, beneath pinstriped hems; the women’s heeled and colorful, toes crammed into impossible points. Among the legs I see a pair of sleek stockings; opaque black nylon ending in stark white trainers. The owner is hidden but I imagine her to be in her twenties, a pair of vertiginous office heels stashed in a capacious handbag, or in a drawer at work.
I’ve never worn heels during the day. I was barely out of my Clarks lace-ups when I fell pregnant with Justin, and there was no place for heels on a Tesco checkout, or coaxing a toddler up the main street. Now I’m old enough to know better. An hour on the train on the way into work; another hour on the way home. Tripping up broken escalators. Run over by strollers and bikes. And for what? For eight hours behind a desk. I’ll save my heels for high days and holidays. I wear a self-imposed uniform of black trousers and an array of stretchy tops that don’t need ironing, and are just smart enough to pass as office-wear; with a cardigan kept in my bottom drawer for busy days when the door’s forever opening and the heat disappears with every prospective client.
The train stops and I push my way onto the platform. I take the Overground from here, and although it’s often as busy, I prefer it. Being underground makes me feel uneasy; unable to breathe, even though I know it’s all in my head. I dream of working somewhere close enough to walk to, but it’s never going to happen: the only jobs worth taking are in zone one; the only affordable mortgages in zone four.
I have to wait for my train and at the rack by the ticket machine I pick up a copy of the London Gazette, its headlines appropriately grim for today’s date: Friday, November 13. The police have foiled another terrorism plot: the front three pages are rammed with images of explosives they’ve seized from a flat in North London. I flick through photos of bearded men, and move to find the crack in the tarmac beneath the platform sign, where the carriage door will open. My careful positioning means I can slide into my favorite spot before the carriage fills up: on the end of the row, where I can lean against the glass barrier. The rest of the carriage fills quickly, and I glance at the people still standing, guiltily relieved to see no one old, or obviously pregnant. Despite the flat shoes, my feet ache, thanks to standing by the filing cabinets for most of the day. I’m not supposed to do the filing. There’s a girl who comes in to photocopy property details and keep the cabinets in order, but she’s in Mallorca for a fortnight and from what I saw today she can’t have done any filing for weeks. I found residential mixed up with commercial, and rentals muddled up with sales, and I made the mistake of saying so.
“You’d better sort it out, then, Zoe,” Graham said. So instead of booking viewings I stood in the drafty corridor outside Graham’s office, wishing I hadn’t opened my mouth. Hallow & Reed isn’t a bad place to work. I used to do one day a week doing the books, then the office manager went on maternity leave and Graham asked me to fill in. I was a bookkeeper, not a PA, but the money was decent and I’d lost a couple of clients, so I jumped at the chance. Three years later, I’m still there.
By the time we reach Canada Water the carriage has thinned out and the only people standing are there by choice. The man sitting next to me has his legs so wide apart I have to angle mine away, and when I look at the row of passengers opposite I see two other men doing the same. Is it a conscious thing? Or some innate need to make themselves bigger than everyone else? The woman immediately in front of me moves her shopping bag and I hear the unmistakable clink of a wine bottle. I hope Simon has thought to put one in the fridge; it’s been a long week and right now all I want to do is curl up on the sofa and watch telly.
A few pages into the London Gazette some former X Factor finalist is complaining about the “pressures of fame,” and there’s a debate on privacy laws that covers the best part of a page. I’m reading without taking in the words: looking at the pictures and scanning the headlines so I don’t feel completely out of the loop. I can’t remember the last time I actually read a whole newspaper, or sat down to watch the news from start to finish.
It’s always snatches of Sky News while I’m eating breakfast, or the headlines read over someone’s shoulder on the way in to work.
The train stops between Sydenham and Crystal Palace. I hear a frustrated sigh from farther up the carriage but don’t bother looking to see who it’s from. It’s already dark and when I glance at the windows all I see is my own face looking back at me; even paler than it is in real life, and distorted by rain. I take off my glasses and rub at the dents they leave on either side of my nose. We hear the crackle of an announcement but it’s so muffled and heavily accented there’s no telling what it was about. It could have been anything from signal failure to a body on the line.
I hope it’s not a body. I think of my glass of wine, and Simon rubbing my feet on the sofa, then feel guilty that my first thought is about my own comfort, not the desperation of some poor suicidal soul. I’m sure it’s not a body. Bodies are for Monday mornings, not Friday evenings, when work is a blissful three days away.
There’s a creaking noise and then silence. Whatever the delay is, it’s going to be a while.
“That’s not a good sign,” the man next to me says.
“Hmm,” I say noncommittally. I carry on turning the pages of my newspaper, but I’m not interested in sport and now it’s mostly adverts and theater reviews. I won’t be home till after seven at this rate; we’ll have to have something easy for tea, rather than the baked chicken I’d planned. Simon cooks during the week, and I do Friday evening and the weekend. He’d do that too, if I asked him, but I couldn’t have that. I couldn’t have him cooking for us—for my children—every night. Maybe I’ll pick up a takeaway.
I skip over the business section and look at the crossword, but I don’t have a pen with me. So I read the adverts, thinking I might see a job for Katie—or me, come to that, although I know I’ll never leave Hallow & Reed. It pays well and I know what I’m doing now, and if it weren’t for my boss it would be perfect. The customers are nice, for the most part. They’re generally start-ups looking for office space, or businesses that have done well, ready for a bigger place. We don’t do much residential, but the flats above the shops work for the first-time buyers and the downsizers. I meet a fair number of recently separateds. Sometimes, if I feel like it, I tell them I know what they’re going through.
“Did it all turn out okay?” the women always ask.
“Best thing I ever did,” I say confidently. It’s what they want to hear.
I don’t find any jobs for a nineteen-year-old wannabe actress, but I turn down the corner on a page with an advert for an office manager. It doesn’t hurt to know what’s out there. For a second I imagine walking into Graham Hallow’s office and handing in my notice, telling him I won’t put up with being spoken to like I’m dirt on the sole of his shoe. Then I look at the salary printed under the office manager position, and remember how long it’s taken me to claw my way up to something I can actually live on. Better the devil you know, isn’t that what they say?
The final pages of the Gazette are all compensation claims and finances. I studiously avoid the ads for loans—at those interest rates you’d have to be mad or desperate—and glance at the bottom of the page, where the chatlines are advertised.
Married woman looking for discreet casual action. Txt ANGEL to 69998 for pics.
I wrinkle my nose more at the exorbitant price per text than the services offered. Who am I to judge what other people do? I’m about to turn the page, resigned to reading about last night’s football match, when I see the advert below “Angel’s.”
For a second I think my eyes must be tired; I blink hard but it doesn’t change anything.
I’m so absorbed in what I’m looking at that I don’t notice the train start up again. It sets off suddenly and I jerk to one side, putting my hand out automatically and making contact with my neighbor’s thigh.
“It’s fine—don’t worry.” He smiles and I make myself return it. But my heart is thumping and I stare at the advert. It bears the same warning about call charges as the other boxed adverts, and a 0809 number at the top of the ad. A web address reads: www.FindTheOne.com. But it’s the photo I’m looking at. It’s cropped close to the face, but you can clearly see blonde hair and a glimpse of a black strappy top. Older than the other women pimping their wares, but such a grainy photo it would be hard to give a precise age.
Except I know how old she is. I know she’s forty.
Because the woman in the advert is me.
Kelly Swift stood in the middle of the Central line carriage, shifting to one side to keep her balance as the train took a bend. A couple of kids—no more than fourteen or fifteen years old—jostled onto the train at Bond Street, engaged in competitive swearing that jarred with their middle-class vowels. Too late for after-school clubs, and it was already dark outside; Kelly hoped they were on their way home, not heading out for the evening. Not at their age.
“Fucking mental!” The boy looked up, his swagger giving way to self-consciousness as he saw Kelly standing there. Kelly assumed the sort of expression she remembered her mother sporting on many an occasion, and the teenagers fell silent, blushing furiously and turning away to examine the inside of the closing doors. She probably was old enough to be their mother, she thought ruefully, counting backward from thirty and imagining herself with a fourteen-year-old. Several of her old school friends had children almost that age; Kelly’s Facebook page regularly filled up with proud family photos, and she’d even had a couple of friend requests from the kids themselves. Now, there was a way to make you feel old.
Kelly caught the eye of a woman in a red coat on the opposite side of the carriage, who gave a nod of approval at the effect she’d had on the lads.
Kelly returned her look with a smile. “Good day?”
“Better now it’s over,” the woman said. “Roll on the weekend, eh?”
“I’m working. Not off till Tuesday.” And even then only one day off before another six on the trot, she thought, inwardly groaning at the thought. The woman looked aghast. Kelly shrugged. “Someone’s got to, right?”
“I guess so.” As the train slowed down for Oxford Circus, the woman began moving toward the doors. “I hope it’s a quiet one for you.”
That’s jinxed it, Kelly thought. She glanced at her watch. Nine stops to Stratford: ditch her stuff, then head back. Home by eight, maybe eight thirty. In again for seven a.m. She yawned hard, not bothering to cover her mouth, and wondered if there was any food at home. She shared a house near Elephant and Castle with three others, whose full names she knew only from the rent checks pinned neatly to the board in the hall, ready for collection each month. The sitting room had been converted to a bedroom by a landlord keen to maximize his income, leaving the small kitchen the one communal area. There was only room for two chairs, but her housemates’ shift patterns and erratic hours meant Kelly could go days without seeing anyone at all. The woman in the biggest bedroom, Dawn, was a nurse. Younger than Kelly, but far more domesticated, Dawn occasionally left a portion for Kelly on the side by the microwave, with one of her bright pink Post-it notes telling Kelly to help yourself! Her stomach rumbled at the thought of food, and she glanced at her watch. The afternoon had been busier than she’d thought; she was going to have to put in some extra hours next week, or she’d never get through it all.
A handful of businessmen got on at Holborn and Kelly cast a practiced eye over them. At first glance they looked identical, with their short hair, dark suits, and briefcases. The devil was in the detail, Kelly thought. She searched out the faint pinstripe; the title of a book pushed carelessly into a bag; wire-framed glasses with a kink in one arm; a brown leather watch strap beneath a white cotton shirtsleeve. The idiosyncrasies and appearance tics that made them stand out in a lineup of near-identical men. Kelly watched them openly, dispassionately. She was just practicing, she told herself, not caring when one of them looked up and found her cool gaze on him. She thought he might look away, but instead he winked, his mouth moving into a confident smile. Kelly’s eyes flicked to his left hand. Married. White, well-built, around six foot tall, with a shadow around his jaw that probably wasn’t there a few hours ago. The yellow flash of a forgotten dry-cleaning tag on the inside of his overcoat. Standing so straight she’d put money on ex-military. Nondescript in appearance, but Kelly would know him if they met again.
Satisfied, she turned her attention to the latest influx of passengers, getting on at Bank and filtering through the carriage to find the remaining few seats. Almost everyone had a phone in their hand: playing games, listening to music, or simply clutching it as though grafted to their palm. At the other end of the carriage someone lifted their phone in front of them and Kelly instinctively turned away. Tourists, getting an iconic shot of the London Underground to show back home, but she found the idea of being background scenery in someone’s holiday snaps too weird to contemplate.
Her shoulder ached where she’d slammed into a wall, taking the corner too tight as she ran down the escalators and onto the platform at Marble Arch. She’d been seconds too late, and it annoyed her that the blooming bruise on her upper arm was in vain. She’d be quicker next time.
The train pulled into Liverpool Street; a throng of people waiting on the platform, impatient for the doors to open.
Kelly’s pulse quickened.
There, in the center of the crowd, half-hidden beneath oversized jeans, a hooded top, and a baseball cap, was Carl. Instantly recognizable and—desperate though Kelly was to get home—impossible to walk away from. It was clear from the way he melted into the crowd that Carl had seen Kelly a split second before she had seen him, and was equally unenthusiastic about the encounter. She was going to have to move fast.
Kelly jumped off the train just as the doors hissed behind her. She thought at first she’d lost him, then she caught sight of a baseball cap ten or so yards ahead; not running, but weaving swiftly through the throng of passengers leaving the platform.
If Kelly had learned one thing over the last ten years on the Underground, it was that politeness got you nowhere.
“Mind your backs!” she yelled, breaking into a run and shoving her way between two elderly tourists dragging suitcases. “Coming through!” She might have lost him that morning, and copped a bruised shoulder as a result, but she wasn’t about to let him get away again. She thought fleetingly of the supper she had hoped would be waiting for her at home, and calculated this was going to add at least two hours on to her day. But needs must. She could always grab a kebab on the way home.
Carl was legging it up the escalator. Rookie error, Kelly knew, taking the steps instead. Fewer tourists to negotiate and easier on the thighs than the jerky, uneven motion of a moving stairway. Even so Kelly’s muscles were burning as she drew parallel with Carl. He threw a quick look over his left shoulder as they reached the top, then swerved right. For fuck’s sake, Carl, she thought. I should be booking off now.
With a final burst of speed she caught up with him as he was preparing to vault the ticket barrier, grabbing a handful of jacket with her left hand and twisting one arm up behind his back with her right. Carl made a halfhearted attempt to pull away, knocking her off balance and causing her hat to fall to the ground. Kelly was aware of someone picking it up and hoped they weren’t going to run off with it. She was already in the doghouse with Stores for losing her baton in a scrap the other week—she could do without another telling-off.
“Warrants have got a Fail to Appear with your name on it, mate,” Kelly said, her words punctuated with breaths that were hard to take within the confines of a stab vest. She reached for her belt and unclipped her cuffs, snapping them deftly onto Carl’s wrists and checking for tightness. “You’re nicked.”
I see you. But you don’t see me. You’re engrossed in your book; a paperback cover with a girl in a red dress. I can’t see the title but it doesn’t matter; they’re all the same. If it isn’t boy meets girl, it’s boy stalks girl. Boy kills girl.
The irony isn’t lost on me.
At the next stop I use the incoming swell of commuters as an excuse to move closer to you. You hang from the strap in the center of the carriage, reading one-handed, turning the page with a well-practiced thumb. We’re so close now that our coats are touching, and I can smell the vanilla base of your perfume; a scent that will have long since faded by the time you leave work. Some women disappear into the loos at lunchtime; touch up their makeup, add a spritz of fragrance. Not you. When I see you after work the dark gray makeup on your lids will have drifted into tired shadows beneath your eyes; the tint on your lips transferred to countless cups of coffee.
You’re pretty, though, even at the end of a long day. That counts for a lot. Not that it’s always about beauty; sometimes it’s exotic looks, or large breasts, or long legs. Sometimes it’s class and elegance—all tailored navy trousers and tan heels—and sometimes it’s brassy and cheap. Slutty, even. Variety is important. Even the finest steak becomes dull when you eat it all the time.
Your handbag is larger than average. You usually carry it over your shoulder, but when the train is busy—as it is at this stage of your commute—you put it on the floor, between your legs. It has slouched open, allowing me to see inside. A wallet—soft brown calf leather with a gilt clasp. A hairbrush, blonde hairs trailing from its bristles. A reusable shopping bag, neatly rolled into a ball. A pair of leather gloves. Two or three brown envelopes, torn open then pushed into the bag along with their contents. Post snatched from the doormat after breakfast, opened on the platform while you wait for your first train. I crane my neck to read what is printed on the uppermost envelope.
So now I know your name.
Not that it matters: you and I aren’t going to have the sort of relationship that needs names.
I take out my phone and swipe up to reveal the camera. I turn toward you; use my thumb and forefinger to zoom in until only your face is in the frame. If anyone noticed me now, they’d just think I was uploading a record of my commute to Instagram, or Twitter. Hashtag selfie.
A silent click, and you’re mine.
As the train takes a bend you let go of the ceiling strap and lean down for your handbag, still intent on your book. If I didn’t know you better I’d think you’d caught me looking and were moving your belongings out of view, but it isn’t that. The bend in the track simply means it’s nearly your stop.
You’re enjoying this book. Usually you’ll stop reading much earlier than this; when you reach the end of a chapter, and you slip between the pages the postcard you use as a bookmark. Today you’re still reading even as the train pulls into the station. Even as you shoulder your way through to the door, saying “Excuse me” and “sorry” a dozen times. You’re still reading even as you walk toward the exit, your eyes flicking upward to make sure you don’t bump into anyone.
You’re still reading.
And I’m still watching.
Meet the Author
Clare Mackintosh is an award-winning New York Times and international bestselling author. She spent twelve years on the police force in England and has written for the Guardian, Good Housekeeping, and other publications. A columnist for Cotswold Life, she is the founder of Chipping Norton Literary Festival and lives in North Wales with her family. She is the author of I See You and I Let You Go.
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HAVING A VERY HARD TIME GETTING INTO THIS BOOK. NOT THAT GREAT
I See You is the first book that I have read by Clare Mackintosh. Although it started out a little slow, I will say that it picked up the pace halfway in. After that, all bets were off. Part of my issue may been that it was based in London and it took me a while to relate to some of the descriptions and colloquialisms that were used. As a mystery suspense, this was definitely one of the more intriguing books that I have read in awhile. It is almost impossible to have predicted how this thing ends. I See You is the story of bookkeeper Zoe Walker and what happens after she notices what she believes to be a picture of her in the back pages of the London Gazette. That picture is accompanied by a reference to a website called FindTheOne.com. However, it’s not what you think it is. Instead of a dating website, it’s something far more sinister. After the police are made aware of other photos linked to actual crimes against women, things really start to take a turn. Zoe begins to get more and more paranoid as more information develops. On the other side of all of this, we also get to see the investigation from the perspective of Transit Cop Kelly Swift who is trying to redeem herself. Kelly has a lot of baggage related to her twin sister and also regarding an incident that happened with a suspect years ago. As Zoe and Kelly exchange information, hints at who the true criminal is begin to surface and I never saw it coming. There is so much more that I would like to say about this thriller but I would be giving away all of the good parts. Trust me, it’s well worth the read. You will be on the edge of your seat and likely watching your back the next time, you step out in public. **Received a copy from the Penguin and reviewed the book voluntarily.**
This book was... different. Confusing at first. I will be honest, I had a hard time in the beginning. It wasn't making sense. I knew that it would eventually, but it took a little too long to start to come together for me. Once the book picked up and really started, I was hooked. I had no idea who was behind everything. Everyone was a suspect. I thought that each character was guilty at one point or another. I never saw that ending coming. This is one of those books that will keep readers guessing from the get go. It definitely is not obvious who and why. When it happens, it smacks the reader in the face. This was my first book by Mackintosh. I own another of her book and plan on reading it after reading this one. For those who like a book that will keep you guessing and turning the pages like a crackhead, this is definitely a book for you.
I See You by Clare Mackintosh is another wonderful exciting psychological thriller. I loved Mackintosh’s debut novel, I Let You Go, and could not wait to see what she had for us next. I See You is a different type of read, but equally fascinating. The story does fluctuate between the two female leads. There are also the occasional thoughts of a third party, presumed to be the person behind everything. Zoe Walker hates her commute to work, but she has a good job and needs the money. One day, looking at the newspaper adverts, she sees a picture that looks like her, with a dating site. When Zoe shows it to her family (daughter, son and boyfriend), they tell her it’s just probably a look alike, as the picture was grainy. A few days later, she sees a picture for the same site, with a different woman; but a short time later she will find out that the woman in the ad was murdered. Zoe begins to worry that she has become someone’s target, and she begins to look over her shoulder often. No one believes her when she tries to tell the cops about the advert Kelly Swift is a cop, who has been regulated to the BTP Dip squad. Kelly was a good detective in the Sexual Offense Unit, until 4 years ago, when she attacked a rape suspect. Kelly’s sister had been raped, and the offender was never found, and to this day, Kelly can’t stop thinking about it. When she gets a call from Zoe Walker about her fears, Kelly starts to investigate. She tries to talk to the Detective in charge about some of her findings, and that Zoe Walker might be right, those adverts might be behind the murder and another robbery. When she gets no satisfaction from the Detective, she goes to her commanding officer to request a transfer, and is given 3 months to work on the Investigation Unit. Zoe’s fears are real, and it begins to affect her life and work. Everyone thinks she is worrying for no reason, and when she is “rescued” by a man who seems to pop up often, she goes to Kelly for help. This will lead to an exciting police procedural trying to find that man, and the site that doesn’t exist; except it really does for those who will pay exorbitant prices to find all information about the lady in the advert, including their daily route to and from work. What makes this a bit creepy and chilling is that in real life, with cameras everywhere, internet which watches your moves, and those who can easily hack your computer and follow you. It is a scary thought. Kelly and her new boss, Nick begin to tie things together, including a rape, which will lead to more clues. There were a number of unforeseen twists and turns that had me holding my breath in fear, as we realized how close things were to Zoe. What follows is a scary pulse pounding exciting race to find the culprit, before Zoe’s life is in danger. The ending was so tense, as we watched Kelly and the detectives discover the truth; but will they be able to save Zoe and her daughter, Katie? I See You had a wild action filled ending that was a gripping thriller chiller.
One day as Zoe Walker is taking her normal commute home from work on the train, she decides to pass the time looking through the newspaper. She skims through many articles and advertisements, but settles on an article about recent thefts on the train. After reading the article, she looks at the advertisements. While she is looking, she comes across an advertisement for a dating website, findtheone.com. Here above details of the website and a phone number, Zoe realizes that the person being advertised is herself. When Zoe returns home, although she is adamant that it is her picture, she listens to her family tell her it isn’t her. Still not convinced, she continues to look through previous ads. While looking through the ads, she finds a picture that she knows she has seen before. This ad is of a woman named Cathy. Cathy was recently mentioned in the article about thefts. Zoe learns that the ad ran a couple days before Cathy’s theft took place. Zoe brings this information to British Transport Police officer Kelly Swift. Zoe also tells Kelly that although nothing has happened to her, Zoe’s picture ran in an ad a couple days ago. Kelly informs Zoe that she will look into it and get back to her. One morning while Zoe is waiting to hear from Kelly, she sees a picture on the news of a woman who has been murdered and realizes that she has seen this woman before. Both pictures are of a woman named Tania, whose ad ran a couple days before she was murdered. Zoe decides that she has waited long enough and brings the information to the division investigating Tania’s murder. When Kelly follows up with Zoe, Zoe tells her that she has taken the information to the murder division. Kelly, knowing the cases are connected, through much coaxing, temporarily gets transferred to the murder division. While police are investigating, they find out that the website, findtheone.com, allows users to download detailed information about the women. More specifically, it gives details of the commutes to and from work. Although she was warned about giving this information to Zoe, Kelly decides to tell her about the website. Zoe soon starts to get paranoid that people are always watching and following her. While she is trying to let the police do their job, she runs into someone who downloaded her information. After having a close call with this man, Zoe knows that she is in danger. Since she cannot focus on anything, her boss gives her some time off. With her time off, she starts to notice things in her own life that cannot be a coincidence to this investigation. Zoe soon wonders who she can trust and how far one person would go. I See You will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat as it is a real page-turner. Just when you think that the police are closing in on the person behind the website, the story takes another turn. As the reader learns more about the website and the characteristics of the creator, you can start to get an idea as to who the suspect could be. It isn’t until the very end that you learn who it is and why. This story will blow you away and take a twist you are not expecting. Quill says: If you like to solve investigations, then this is the one for you. It will definitely test your problem-solving skills.
Clare Mackintosh is the kind of author who writes books that stay with you, burrowing into your unconscious and making you see the world through Wes Craven colored glasses. I See You will completely change forever how you watch romance movies with stories about those seemingly innocent love at first sight moments. As a woman, it’s impossible to ever feel completely safe again after reading this without realizing how easy it is for someone to invade your life beyond the normal threats we hear that come from oversharing on social media or getting your laptop camera hacked. It’s becoming the norm that instead of making us safer technology is exponentially increasing the danger in our lives and this book exploits that fact in one of the creepiest ways. Mackintosh in her continued genius of writing intriguing thriller has created a new set of characters for you to follow. Like with her previous knockout novel, her experience in law enforcement continues to shine through as she is able to make police work, even the mundane aspects, seem interesting. Instead of detectives and police coming off as one dimensional filler material she makes them a very real part of the story so you don’t just blow through the chapters from their point of view. Her plot line was fast paced and never let up even after the ‘Big Bad’ was caught. Just like with her previous novel those twists and turns literally did not stop until the last word of the book. Mackintosh is one of those rare authors whose books you can pre-order in hardback without worrying that paying around $20 or more will feel like a rip off.
Zoe Walker is traveling on the crowded London subway when he sees a photograph in the newspaper that looks just like her. It’s a creepy feeling, indeed, as she has no connection with the website. She shows it to her family and they think the picture is her but might not be as it has a grainy quality. Meanwhile she’s dealing with her family, particularly a partner who thinks her son should pay rent and contribute to the family finances as he’s 22 years old and other minor issues. We are then introduced to Kelly, a detective demoted to a police officer who has a bad work history that she is trying to overcome by proving herself in her new job. Her biggest problem is that she tends to react on instinct and that’s not always the brightest or safest way to perform. Assaulting an alleged criminal is a no-no that has left Kelly with a hot-head reputation. The next day Zoe sees a different woman’s picture in the same classified ad section and wonders what’s going on. As time passes, we also have italicized messages from a voyeur who is taking pictures of women with a very set purpose; the messages are creepy and make the reader tense with anticipation of some crime soon to be committed. So, the plot moves forward alternating between the mundane, everyday thrills and tussles of life and these photos of different women appearing in the daily newspaper. Suspicions begin to form around Zoe’s acquaintances, even those who have been very good to Zoe and her family. No spoilers here. Suffice to say that the last portion of the novel is stunning as we discover who is behind these pictures – and a murder – and why. Claire Mackintosh has crafted an interesting mystery that bounces between some boredom over the simple family discussions and the chilling fear elicited over who is clearly a dangerous stalker! Nicely done, Ms. Mackintosh!
Clare Mackintosh has done it again! This is her second book and with a new author I am never sure what to expect. Clare has proven that she has talent! Her first book I Let You Go blew me away so I was hoping for the same result with I See You and I got it! I See You is amazing. I was scared, worried, and terrified for the safety of the women who choose to ride the London Underground. They were being stalked, watched, followed, and their paths were being noted and share with men. The questions was how? And who? I felt the fear of Zoe. She seemed to be the one who found the clues and put them together. She had a fear for herself and her safety but also for her daughter Katie and the rest of the women who are targets without even knowing they are. I See You is a thriller. Now that I am done reading I continue to think about the what if’s, the could have beens, and the Oh My Gosh moments. There were so many clues given that could be leading in the right direction or could be leading in the wrong direction. I never saw the ending coming! This is a book I recommend for all my thrill seeking readers.
I liked this one. The premise of the story really grabbed me because the idea of someone watching when you don't know it is just plain scary. I wouldn't say the book scared me but the idea behind the story is frightening only because of how realistic it really is. I was pulled into this book rather quickly and read the entire book in about a day so it definitely held my attention. This was a very entertaining read that kept me guessing right up until the end. Zoe is like a lot of other people in that she is a creature of routine. She takes the same route to work and back everyday and follows the same routine. Could this behavior have set her up as a target of a new website? When Zoe notices a picture in the classified section of the paper, she thinks it looks like her but can't believe it. Her loved ones convince her that it couldn't be but she can't quite let it go and shares what she has seen with a local detective. Kelly gets involved in the case after talking to Zoe. She wants in on the case and pulls a few strings to be assigned to the unit handling it for a period of time. She connects with Zoe and is willing to bend a few rules if that is what it takes to keep her safe. Some women have been victims of crime after their photo ended up in the paper and there has even been a murder. The police are determined to figure out what is going on and stop the crimes from occurring. This book took a lot of twists and turns and I wasn't ever quite sure who might be responsible. I think that Zoe's feeling of fear and helplessness were accurately displayed while she still had the strength and resolve to continue on with her life. Kelly's perspective added a lot to the book and really illustrated how difficult of a case this really was. I didn't fall in love with any of the characters but I found myself really wanting to see everyone come out of this unharmed with the culprit caught. I would recommend this book to fans of mystery thrillers. This was a fast paced and exciting novel that had a realistic feel. This is the first book by Clare Mackintosh that I have had a chance to read and I would definitely pick up her work again in the future. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via First to Read.
This was definitely a contender for every author's nightmare of trying to write a second book after having written a smash bestseller as their first book. That being said, there are a lot of authors out there who wish their first book was half as good as this book. I think as a reader, my expectations were so enormous and the pedestal so high, that I was expected to be wowed on every page. Yet, when I think back to to I Let You Go, there was quite the build up in that book as well. This book took a little longer to build up. I think there were quite a few more plot twists going on in this one. However, when the book did take off, I don't think there was one character in the book that I didn't take at least 10 or 20 seconds to ponder hmm "Are they the suspect?" That made it well worth the $$$ for me. I do have to say I was amazed when I purchased this book last night and checked out the ratings - the book just went on sale today - there were already 6200 reviews. Tell me this wasn't a highly anticipated book.
Zoe Walker is riding on the train when it breaks down. To help waste the time she reads sections of the newspaper that she normal doesn’t. There she finds a picture of herself in the classified ads with a phone number and a website that doesn’t go anywhere. She brings this to the attention of her family but they just pass it off as someone else looking like her. The next day a similar ad is in the newspaper but it has the picture of a different woman, on that later turns up dead, then another one. Kelly Swift is the disgraced police officer that this case is assigned. She is trying to gain her place in the force after a previous case. Will they be able to stop the killer before another woman loses her life? Just the knowledge that no matter what you do you are on a camera somewhere is creepy. With advancements in technology it is meant to keep us safe, but how can that be used against us? This is a story of just that idea. It seems stalking has taken on a new level when you don’t have to go out to find someone. Someone has taken this idea and is now connecting stalkers to victims. This is a scary idea when you think about how much people spend behind a computer for everything from work, games, porn, and more. This book fits right into this idea. What would you do if you found yourself in Zoe’s place? How would you get the police to listen? It give me the creeps just thinking about it. This is a good thriller. I will be looking out for other books by Clare Mackintosh. I received I See You from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
Completely by accident, Zoe Walker comes across an advert in the paper that happens to have a picture that appears to be of her. This discovery is strange and discomfiting, but it doesn’t really show her face and family is convinced it can’t be her because, why would it be? But it eats at her and she keeps checking the papers, seeing pictures of other women in the same advert, with similar pictures. Then one of the women has her keys stolen on the tube and Zoe contacts the police about the adverts. Then another of the women is murdered. Zoe doesn’t know what’s going on, but she doesn’t feel safe anymore. Who is doing this and why? And why have they chosen her? One of my worries about this book was it wouldn’t hold up against I Let You Go (which I loved!). But it was brilliant. BRILLIANT!!! Clare Mackintosh is so very clever. The tales she spins are intricate and tricksy, so many amazing misdirections that I was never solidly sure who the perpetrator was. Her characters are well developed and easy to connect with. In fact, I’m left hoping that there is a chance at this being a first in series. There was certainly a door left open for it, and I enjoyed the pairing of PC Kelly Swift and DI Rampello. I would love to see them in future books. While I don’t know if I’d use the word intense, I would say that I picked it up intending to read for only an hour, and instead found myself finishing it just past midnight without realizing what I was doing. Putting it down simply wasn’t an option once I started. As much as I loved I Let You Go, I loved this book even more. So I’ll just be sitting here champing at the bit for the next one. No pressure, Ms. Mackintosh. No. Pressure. Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.