Book Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

I See You by Clare Mackintosh
I See You begins with a warning:

You do the same thing every day.

             You know exactly where you’re going. You’re not alone.

Zoe Walker is on her commute home, going through her normal, everyday routine, when she sees something that derails her normal, everyday life: her face, in an advert in the newspaper, in a section used for escorts and phone sex lines. Who placed the ad? Why? The number listed isn’t real, and the website given goes to a blank page. Is this a prank, a coincidence, or something more?

Later, Zoe recognizes a face from a past advert–in a news story about a woman who was raped and murdered. Digging in to the ads, Zoe finds that several women featured have been the victims of crime. With the police finally involved, the real purpose of the ads is revealed, and Zoe may be the future victim of a mysterious and violent stalker.

This was a fantastic thriller. To me, the most compelling thing about the book is how Mackintosh takes the normal everyday paranoia that comes from being a woman traveling alone, and dials it to eleven. It’s always there, the constant push-pull of balancing alertness with reason: is it better to make eye contact with the stranger on the train or to ignore all the other passengers? Are there other people around or am I suddenly alone? Is he following me or simply on his way home? Are those running footsteps after me or simply someone late for the bus? The hyper-vigilance is routine, whether you’re traveling home on the bus after a late night of work or making your way through the parking garage at night. It is something not often discussed, but will provoke a visceral reaction when reading the book. This is your everyday life, if all the worst case scenarios floating around in your head suddenly come true.

Mackintosh is a fine writer, and her former career as a police officer stands her in good stead with the finer details of police procedure. Fans of Ruth Ware, Lisa Gardener, and Paula Hawkins will likely enjoy this book.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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