I See You – Clare Mackintosh


Published on 28 July 2016 by Sphere and available here

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, no website: just 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 . . .

I See You is an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning psychological thriller from one of the most exciting and successful British debut talents of 2015

My thoughts

‘I Let You Go’ was a huge success for new author Clare Mackintosh. It was truly excellent and highly original. I was expecting great things from her with ‘I See You’. There has been a lot of buzz about it all over the place…

The story itself is set in London, with the London Underground featuring prominently. We follow an average forty year old woman, a commuter living in London with her family. Think girl on an underground train. She finds what looks like HER picture, in the sleazy classified section of a newspaper. There are links to a website and a phone number. Zoe contacts the police, but is not really taken seriously. Zoe keeps an eye on the classified section of the newspaper and starts to see a pattern emerging. Soon it is clear. Someone is targeting passengers on the Underground for their own sinister pleasure and gain. Only Kelly, who works with the British Transport Police, seems willing to listen to Zoe.

The highlight of ‘I See You’ was its atmospheric portrayal of the London Underground. Mackintosh really captures the feeling of claustrophobia and of bodies packed tightly together, in the heat. I shuddered at the description and I don’t really mind the Underground. I was impressed too, with the descriptions of the police operations in the Underground and above. I wanted more of that.

Overall I found this to be pretty average for a psychological crime read. Not what I was expecting AT ALL, from the author of ‘I Let You Go’.

We get bombarded with too many details about Zoe’s dreary domestic life, her work and her daily traumas. It slowed down everything, to a snail’s pace. Zoe wasn’t engaging enough to appeal to me. Although I enjoyed some of the scenes in the Underground, where she was wary and fearful. She mostly behaved like she was forty going on sixty. I craved action and tension. This was a great idea; a concept of high drama in the Underground, with murder and danger thrown in. Stalking with technology, technology working against us! Evil in our midst. The problem was that all felt contrived and unsatisfactory, with little to impress a seasoned reader of crime. I wanted to believe in it all. I just couldn’t. Kelly was the stronger, more believable character. It is a pity, we did not get her as the main focus of the story.

Overall, this was a massive disappointment to me. I think it might appeal more, if you haven’t read ‘I Let You Go’ and go into this without any expectations. I feel it is a very average psychological drama, that fails to deliver anything extra-ordinary. See what you make of it, for yourselves!




About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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13 Responses to I See You – Clare Mackintosh

  1. I read I Let You Go recently and was really impressed. Seems the execution of this one is not great, to bad. I’m sure I will give this a go just to see for myself.

    • Christine says:

      It’s getting lots of great reviews. I do seem to be in the minority, with not really thinking it’s THAT good. Definitely see for yourself.

  2. Jackie Law says:

    A negative review is at least as helpful to readers as a positive, especially when reasoning is so well explained.

  3. Annie says:

    I feel the same way, the other one was awesome, this one was a bit of a disappointment, especially the ending-

  4. novelgossip says:

    Bummer, I too have high hopes for this one as I loved I Let You Go.

  5. Sounds like a good premise that isn’t executed very well.

  6. suzigun says:

    Second book syndrome?

  7. crimeworm says:

    Yes, possibly a rush job to cash in on? Or an old piece of work, resurrected? I shall approach with caution!

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