By: Clare Mackintosh
Publication Date: 2/21/2017
My Rating: 4 Stars
Clare Mackintosh returns following her smashing debut and international bestseller, (2016) I Let You Go, landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016, with a strong follow-up. A clever, gritty, dark and twisty psychological thriller, I SEE YOU.
Someone is watching when you least expect.
FindTheOne.com is more than a dating site. An online matchmaking service for more than dating. Find the victim, and go for the kill.
A commute to work. A dreaded task. The Tube. However, someone has hacked into the system and they are watching the daily routines of women. A devious dangerous plan. Cyber Crime, coffee shops, CCTV, money laundering, greed, stalking, adverts, a killer, FindTheOne.com, an ax to grind, payback, and murder. Trust no one.
Middle-class Zoe Walker, a mother of two teens (Katie and Justin) -divorced, and dating a guy named Simon- must take the train to work. The only jobs worth taking were in zone one; the only affordable mortgages in zone four. She could only dream of working close enough to her home to walk.
On her morning commute, she is shocked to discover in the London Gazette a photo of herself in the personal ads. FindtheOne.com. What the heck? She is looking at herself. A forty-year-old woman. The woman in the advert is none other than herself. Soon other women’s photos appear, and they end in a crime.
We also are introduced to Kelly Swift, the detective who has been disgraced and back on the scene with the latest murders. Her departure four years earlier from British Transport Police’s Sexual offenses Unit had been rapid and uncomfortable. She had spent nine months off sick returning to what had been presented to her as a clean slate but was really a punishment posting.
She had thrown herself into her shift work, quickly becoming one of the most respected officers on the Neighborhood Policing Team, pretending to herself she was a uniform cop through and through when every day she yearned to be dealing with serious investigations again. Will she lose control again?
The Underground Crime soars with the investigation into crime on public transport after record increases in reported sexual offenses, violent assaults, and thefts. Terrifying enough to make you stop using the Tube altogether. Kelly is back on the case full force.
With sprinkles of spine-chilling words in italics, from the mystery person throughout the novel (the best parts). Told from three POV: Zoe, the mom; Kelly the determined police officer, and the creepy mystery person.
“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 the girl. The irony isn’t lost on me . . . You’re still reading. And I’m still watching.”
Zoe is worried for all the women and girls out there as well as her daughter and herself. She feels the danger. She cannot see it, but she can feel it.
She knows it is getting close.
“Routine is comforting to you. It’s familiar, reassuring. Routine makes you feel safe. Routine will kill you.”
"You never know where you might meet The One. A way of introductions between London’s commuters on FindTheOne.com. A matchmaker. A broker. A go-between. To give coincidence a head start. . ."
Soon the adverts are all-consuming for Zoe, and Kelly is determined to find the killer. They work together and believe the adverts are at the heart of the series of crime against women. What is the motive and who is stalking and preparing information on each woman? Who are the buyers/subscribers? These customers come from all walks of life.
Who are these men?
“They’re your friends. Father. Brother. Best Friend. Neighbor. Boss. The people you see every day; the people you travel to and from work with. You think you know them better than that. You’re wrong.”
The ruthless psychopath is more than a matchmaker. “Someone could be downloading your profile right now. . . A facilitator for desires hidden so deep inside they’re barely acknowledged. The chance to kill someone.”
From making notes of everything from hair color, body size, duration, availability, employment, routines, timing, locations, and a rating of easy, moderate, difficult. A cost. Chilling!
As Zoe and Kelly plan an attack, they are in danger as well as Katie. Any woman on the train could be the next victim. Once the photo appears, are they worth the amount someone is willing to pay to kill?
With a cast of characters, the author leaves you in suspense as you doubt everyone close to Zoe. Who is the sinister mastermind behind this elaborate cybercrime – a deadly scheme of cat and mouse?
Mackintosh spins an elaborate set up with the slow burning background of Zoe and her family as well as Kelly. Two interesting women. The suspense builds to a fast-paced heart-pounding climax, with an array of red herrings. Readers will be mindful of their own daily routines and possibly be looking over their shoulders, or mixing up their daily grind. I know, I will. Take a different route, a different time.
In our world of identity theft, technology, social media, and cyber-crimes, a horrifying fictional account, and yet a believable one which makes it even scarier.
I See You, would make a great movie. You never know who is watching. Are we ever safe? Highly entertaining, suspenseful, and innovative.
For me, the mystery secret person and the words in italics— "the icing on the cake." The twisty finale will leave you spinning. The secret is finally revealed. I was reminded of the final episode of Season One TV Series, Secrets and Lies. Deliciously evil!
Well crafted, Mackintosh once again uses her cop procedural expertise mixed with her fine-tuned writing abilities, to keep readers glued to the pages for a strong and gritty second installment. Highly recommend both books.
A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy, in exchange for an honest review.