Monday, March 20, 2017

Review: "I See You," Clare Mackintosh

By Liz Soares

Zoe leads an average life. She takes the Tube daily from her home in South London to her job at a real-estate agency in the central city. She’s a bookkeeper. Her boss is a jerk. At home, Zoe deals with her son, Justin, who was once arrested for shoplifting and is now aimless and sullen. Justin dislikes Zoe’s live-in boyfriend, Simon. Zoe worries about her daughter Katie’s safety as the budding actress travels back and forth on the subway.

But Zoe’s world is turned upside down when she sees a picture of herself in a newspaper’s classified section. She’s in an ad for a dating service called Find the One. It's an ad she did not place.

This fast-paced psychological thriller is told from three points of view in alternating chapters — Zoe, police officer Kelly Swift, and the person behind the ads. Yes, ads. Zoe is only one in an ever-changing sea of faces in the ads, and some of the featured women have been attacked, or even killed.

This scenario reflects our current concerns about privacy. Unscrupulous people can take our photographs without us even knowing. They can post them on social media, or, as in this case, even run fake personal ads.

The psychopathic forces behind Find the One are able to match interested men with unwitting women because of technology. The women all take the Tube and can be tracked by security cameras. Their routes are predictable. “Chance” meetings are easily arranged.

I See You  is not the tour de force that was Mackintosh’s first book, I Let You Go. That one was based on a twisted premise. However, the author’s second book is a page-turner, and filled with interesting characters.

Zoe herself is torn up about her divorce from Matt, the father of her children. Did she act too hastily? Simon is a kind man, but he’s older — and, as we discover, has a secret of his own.

Kelly seemed primed to climb the police career ladder quickly, until she made a tragic mistake. With this case, she sees a way to prove herself, and the reader cheers her on.

Melissa is the entrepreneur next door, who has helped Zoe through the trials and tribulations of single motherhood. Now she’s taken a chance on Justin, who is running one of her two, soon to be three, caf├ęs.

No one is beyond suspicion as the possible culprit behind Find the One, but even when it seems like we know the truth, there’s still one more twist . . . .

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