book.review: i see you by clare mackintosh

i see you.jpg

I SEE YOU by Clare Mackintosh is a good foray into the mystery thriller, and had it not taken it sweet little time getting into the nitty-gritty, I would have rated it higher. Buckle up – if you want to read, you need to be prepared to be in for the long haul.

RELEASE DATE: February 2017

PUBLISHER: Berkley Publishing Group

DISCLAIMER: Novel sent via NetGallery in exchange for a honest review.

SYNOPSIS: You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

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 website, a grainy image 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 . . .

REVIEW: I’ve seen Mackintosh’s debut novel in my local Indigo / Chapters and I’ve always wandered the store and had it in my hand – just never followed through and bought it. Reading the reviews of this novel which so often reference her stellar first novel I LET YOU GO, I may go back and pick it up (or hit the library – this new homeowner is B-R-O-K-E). This second novel fell just a little bit…flat for me.

Zoe lives with her daughter, son, and live in boyfriend with her best friend living down the street in a popular London suburb. She works her butt off at a thankless job and takes the train every day – same routine, no changes. One day on her commute reading the local paper, Zoe recognizes a picture of herself in the classifies underneath a casual encounters ad – entitled “Find the One” with a simple website attached, Zoe’s picture knocks her world off its axis. The next day, a new women’s picture takes her place. But when the women in these pictures start becoming the victims of heinous crimes, Zoe realizes her life may be in danger. Where did this photo come from? And what exactly is “Find the One”?

The novel is told in three perspectives – Zoe’s, a police officer named Kelly, and the ‘unknown’ culprit pulling the strings, which is meant to draw suspense. I enjoyed the culprits point of view the most, but it was also the shortest – the most being a page of text. I’m glad the author only thought to do these two points of view – any more, and this novel would have been a mess.

Here’s the main issue with the entire novel – it’s slow. It takes until about 40% of the way in for the narrative to really kick in. It’s just not exciting. At about 30% in, I almost threw in the towel but I powered through – while I am glad I did, I felt the payoff was an insufficient trade. I anticipated the twist early on and when it happened, it felt like a random throw in to knock readers off course. The revelations in the novel just felt clunky and awkwardly executed. The motivations and actions of the characters were sometimes just so abysmal – a police officer who knowingly jeopardizes her job to tell a woman behind the scenes knowledge of a case I felt was very out of character for a job. It may just be me. It was so unprofessional and undignified that I couldn’t believe I was reading the actions of a cop.

Honestly, if you don’t think too much into the plot and it’s flimsy tie ins, it can be a good read – I did give it 3 stars for a reason. Suspend your believe and push past the first 40%. Maybe bring it to the beach. But overall, a slightly unsatisfactory mystery thriller.

Happy reading.

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