I See You
by Clare Mackintosh
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. Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make …
“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.”
Ahhh! This book felt far too real at times!
I’d never heard of Claire Mackintosh before and picked this book up as part of a bundle deal without much thought of the plot or the author.
When I started reading, I discovered it’s set in London, on the underground – the very place where I read 99% of my books. Zoe Walker is a commuter, travelling on various tube lines to her dreary workplace every morning, taking the same route everyday, reading the same paper, dropping a coin in the same busker’s case. Zoe is a woman of routine, like the majority of us are, and she’s content with the lifestyle she leads.
“We are all creatures of habit.
Routine is comforting to you. It’s familiar, reassuring.
Routine makes you feel safe.
Routine will kill you.”
One day while travelling to work, Zoe notices an advert for a findtheone.com in the back of the paper. Something seems strange about it, the woman in the photo looks familiar because it turns out Zoe is looking at a picture of herself.
What follows is a story of suspense as it becomes clear that Zoe, among the other women featured in the same advert, is being stalked. The chapters continue alternately, switching between Zoe and PC Kelly Swift, an officer with the British Transport Police.
Each character in this story is realistic, from 19 year old Katie falling for an older man, to Graham, Zoe’s demanding boss. The story is realistic too. While reading I found myself looking up, wondering what I’m missing when I spend my whole journey with my head in the pages of a book. I questioned my travel choices; the places I stood on the platform, the direction I took for my lunchtime walk, I became aware of those around me.
“They’re so stupid. Commuters. You see them every day, oblivious to the world around them. Plugged into their iPods, staring at their phones, reading their papers. Taking the same route every day, sitting in the same seat, standing on the same spot on the platform.”
Mackintosh did a great job of putting this book together, it’s clear a lot of research went into its pages and I can see from the back cover of the book that the author used to work in the police force herself. Because this story felt so real, I was intrigued, quickly turning the pages and wanting to know how the story was going to unfold.
Unfortunately I wasn’t best pleased with the ending, I feel that some parts just didn’t quite work for me.
Overall rating: It’s 4 stars for this creepy page turner about being followed on the London Underground. It makes you think, it keeps you guessing. With a good balance between genres, this psychological thriller is fast paced and worth a read, even if it’s just to make you change up your routine once in a while.
See my other reviews of books by Clare Mackintosh here: