I have not done much reading lately as I have been preoccupied with a venture of mine for the past few months. And about three weeks ago, I started experiencing tunnel vision in my right eye, the second time this has happened in my life. Though my right eye vision has improved, I am still having a mild vision distortion which makes reading a bit stressful after a while. But when I started reading Clare Mackintosh’s “I See You”, I was so spellbound that I managed to finish reading it in a day despite my vision problem.
Zoe Walker, a forty-something mother of a teenage daughter and a teenage son, is flicking through the evening paper on her journey home when she notices something familiar about the grainy photograph of a woman in the classified ads for seedy escort services.
There’s no caption, just a website address – findtheone.com – and a premium-rate phone number. Feeling uneasy, Zoe shows the ad to her family when she gets home – but they are convinced that it is just someone who looks like Zoe. Her anxiety subsides.
Next day, Zoe sees a similar ad, but with a picture of another woman. The woman is discovered strangled shortly afterwards in north London. Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including rape and murder.
Zoe contacts the police and Kelly Swift enters the story. Officer Swift, a disgraced detective, has been demoted to a dreary job in traffic policing after she whacked a child molester during an interview – and yearns for a chance to redeem herself.
It’s quickly established that findtheone.com will – for a hefty premium – provide subscribers with minute details of specific women’s daily commute including what they wear, where they sit on the train, which ticket machines they use at the station and ends with a suggested rating: easy, moderate, difficult.
The author weaves an intense, cleverly crafted psychological tale, throwing enough teasing red herrings to leave us vaguely suspicious of everyone in their lives. In Zoe’s case, her boyfriend isn’t all he says he is, her kids are a handful, her ex-husband is devoted but odd and her boss is a monster. But there are also constants: her best friend, café owner Melissa, is a rock who helps keep her grounded.
The person spying on her speaks to us, the reader, in italicised chapters. They are deeply creepy.
‘I See You’ has me inhaling with my heart in my mouth, unleashing my deepest fears. It is unsettling and truly scary towards the end where I felt like I was standing on the edge of a precipice with my hair standing on ends. And when I thought I have my fill of shocks, I was caught unexpected by the revelation in the middle of the last page of the novel.
A most satisfying read!