I See You by Clare Mackintosh review

I See You focuses mainly on two women: Zoe Walker, a young mother who works in real estate and has just started a relationship with journalist Simon, and PC Kelly Swift, who is disgraced due to an incident at work. Their paths collide when Zoe discovers a picture of herself in a newspaper, alongside the classified ads. Baffled as to why the picture is there, Zoe slowly starts to suspect someone is following her every move, especially as more attacks against women are reported across London.  Swift must overcome personal demons to help solve the case.

I See You is a rip-roaring psychological thriller. Despite the initially slow beginning, the twists come thick and fast with the reader guessing the culprit until the very last chapter. It is very clever with Mackintosh leaving hidden clues (plus a good few red herrings) for the reader to pick up; I want to reread it just to spot them. When you think you know who is behind the crimes and why, Mackintosh will throw another bombshell that takes you down a completely different route. In that regard, the novel is a lot of fun despite the dark storyline.

The plot involves various crimes, including the rape and murder of women, which Mackintosh sensitively handles. They are never glamorised or exploited for cheap shocks. Instead, she looks at different responses individuals have, and how each person moves forward after dealing with a traumatic event. The aftermath is equally explored as the crime itself. This could be due to the fact that Mackintosh did work for the police for a number of years so understands the processes in dealing with the care of those targeted and helping them recover – regardless, I still appreciated the fact that the women weren’t just portrayed as victims, but were able to continue their lives. The characters of Walker and Swift were also well-written; they are flawed and have these different moments of strength and weakness,  making them compelling main characters.

Mackintosh’s previous work also shines through during the police procedural scenes. She clearly knows her stuff which makes those passages a joy to read. It was really fascinating going behind the scenes and seeing how different departments operate; as someone who doesn’t read a huge amount of police procedurals it was incredibly eye-opening, and a genre I’m now interested in exploring.

I know I’m late to the Mackintosh hype train, but I really enjoyed I See You. It was a great, end of your seat thriller, filled with plenty of plot twists and interesting characters to keep you going.  Definitely a writer I will be searching more of.

I See You is published by Sphere and you can find more information here

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