I See You: Clare Mackintosh 4 STARS
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Publication date: 26 Jul 2016
Page count: 368
Source: Hachette Australia
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: just a grainy image, a website address 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.
Zoe Walker, on the train travelling home after a hard day at work is jolted out of her tiredness by the sight of her own face staring back at her from the newspaper. At least, she thinks it’s her face, the photo is a little indistinct. It is in the classified section, the chat lines, and it advertises her as being a “married woman looking for casual action”.
None of her family or friends believe that the picture is of her. She eventually traces it as being one of her old Facebook profile pictures, it plays on her mind and so she checks the classifieds daily, she is shocked by what she discovers.
Frightened, and with her family and her friend Melissa offering little support Zoe is unable to deal with it alone and so contacts the police. By a stroke of luck she comes in to contact with Kelly Swift, a PC with the British Rail Police, Kelly has a troubled work history but she does take Zoe’s fears very seriously.
They discover that this is no ordinary chat line, no introductions are made, no meetings are arranged, what then, is its purpose?
The answer is chilling!
It becomes evident that Zoe is in grave danger and nobody can be held above suspicion
Zoe becomes suspicious of practically everyone, even her own family, could her second husband Simon be responsible? He has been behaving in a very covert manner recently, or maybe Graham, her boss who, unless she had imagined it, had behaved inappropriately towards her. Ex husband Matt still loved her, resented her new husband, could it be him? What about Justin? Her son, he wasn’t happy about anything. In fact the only one who Zoe held above suspicion was her daughter, Katie.
The case develops and is taken over by another police department, Kelly desperately wants to stay involved and somehow manages to get herself seconded to the murder squad. She puts in her all, but she is haunted by her past experiences. Will her new colleagues trust her in spite of her work reputation?
The creepy thing about this story is that it is quite feasible, the author has certainly come up with a unique and clever plot that kept me turning those pages and, for the most part, I really enjoyed it.
However, I didn’t find any of the characters particularly compelling, the only ones who seemed fully realised to me were Matt, the ex husband and Katie, the daughter. They both had an intrinsic spark that made me want to know more about them.
I was a little disillusioned with the character of Kelly who took the role of (to me) the stereotypical troubled soul, the one who makes rash choices, makes stupid decisions and always knows best.
Kelly acted against a direct order, she was told not to pass on certain information to Zoe, but in the belief that she knew better, Kelly ignored the order. This was a predictable move but it did drive the plot, so, if it were not for her insubordination the story would have had to go in a different direction. How Kelly managed to remain in the police force is beyond me.
As said, I enjoyed the story but it did seem to be a little rough around the edges, particularly the ending, as if lacking in a final polish.
This is my first book by the author but I am very aware of the impact made by her debut novel “I Let You Go.” The pressure to produce an equally bestselling second book must have been immense.
Review copy kindly provided by Hachette Australia
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 and is the founder of the Chipping Norton Literary Festival. She now writes full time and lives in the Cotswolds 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, where it was the winning title of the readers' vote for the summer 2015 selection, and ITV's Loose Women's Loose Books. I Let You Go also won the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year in 2016. I See You is Clare's second novel, and is a number one bestseller.
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.
For more information visit Clare's website