Although I See You by Clare Mackintosh ($26.00, Berkley) is not nearly as bad as The Nightingale, which I discussed in April, I must pan it. Really pan it. I reviewed her first book, I Let You Go and found it both different and an exciting read. I can’t say the same about I See You.
I See You centers on two female characters. Zoe Walker is recently divorced, living with a boyfriend and her two children, a son twenty-two and a daughter nineteen. She has a total jerk for a boss but cannot quit her job because her live-in boyfriend is only marginally employed. Her former husband apparently cheated on her once but is still in love with her and the kids heartily wish he was back in the house instead of the boyfriend. So did I.
In contrast to Zoe transit police constable Kelly Swift is introduced taking down a hood on the tube. We soon learn she has been demoted for slugging an arrogant rape suspect—a great way to introduce a likeable character. While working pickpocket cases on the Tube, she worms herself into the Metropolitan Police murder unit investigating the murder of a young woman who also had her photograph used in newspaper ads.
Mackintosh assembles a cast of potential suspects, including Zoe’s daughter’s boyfriend, Zoe’s own boyfriend, Zoe’s boss and about anybody else who comes into contact with the flighty Zoe. In the meantime, Kelly solves the puzzle of the password into the website hosting the escort ads and the police grasp the possible connection between this murder, several other assaults, and the use of Zoe’s photograph. This might be a great plot to keep you reading all night except I couldn’t accept the underlying premise that a hacker could get into the London underground CCTV system and follow hundreds of women on camera as they made their way to and from work. Who could possibly have that much time on their hands? Who could keep track of thousands of people on dozens of crowded trains a day?
The other flaw is that other than the discovery of the photograph it takes almost a hundred pages to get past the clutter of Zoe’s relationship with her boyfriend, her strained relationship with her daughter (what mom gets along with her nineteen-year-old kid?), her insensitive boss, her deadbeat boyfriend, and the troubles of her son who is underemployed, has a shoplifting conviction, and is working in a coffee shop owned by Zoe’s helpful neighbor.
Kelly’s background is far more interesting. She is a twin and had the awful experience of being on the telephone when her twin sister was assaulted many years previously. Mackintosh leaves open a possible sequel Kelly could carry herself. Anyone who reads this genre knows that the bad guy always turns out to be the least likely person and Mackintosh doesn’t disappoint.
About three-quarters way through the book picks up a little, but had I not been intending to write this review I would have tossed it aside long before I got to the half point. Perhaps it is good chick lit., with all the family turmoil, and the trials of working women, but it doesn’t work for me as a thriller.
Steve E Clark as seen in the New York Times is Author of Justice Is for the Lonely and Justice Is for the Deserving, Kristen Kerry Novels Of Suspense. You can purchase his books via SteveClarkAuthor.com/BuyBook or request it at your local book store. Want to know more about Steve Clark, read more reviews or speak directly with Steve? Learn more about Steve at SteveClarkAuthor.com