I See You by Clare Mackintosh is some next-level misogynistic nightmare stuff. The premise here is that when you are a creature of habit – which I 100% am – it is pretty easy to stalk and find you. And when you cannot quite face the world every day – relatable – so you block it out by putting headphones in and reading books in public and staring at your stupid phone like it holds the secrets of life… well, you’re just making it easier. Does this sound familiar? Because it sounds like every day of my life.
I See You focuses on being watched, but not by a single psychopathic weirdo, not the normal terrible idea of stalking that we all live with already, but by a sophisticated system of technology and surveillance which watches your every move and offers your life and predictable habits to the highest bidder. It is a terrifying concept. Also, I kept thinking “I bet this already exists” which has been making me so frightened that I actually walked into a Trader Joe’s without headphones yesterday and interacted with other human beings on purpose. Please don’t murder me, thank you.
The book focuses on Zoe Walker, who sees her picture in the chat line section of a newspaper one day while on her commute. She has no idea where it came from, and the accompanying website and phone number hold no clues. Also, her family members don’t quite believe her – they assume this is just someone who looks like her. The next day the advertisement shows a different woman, a new woman every day, and now that Zoe is paying attention, she begins to see some of these same women in other areas of the paper as they turn up dead or are raped or beaten.
Zoe starts to understand that someone knows exactly where she lives and works and most of her moves in between. While the police are working the case – at least they believe her in a reasonable way – things rev up to a pretty interesting conclusion.
The ending is a bit of a stretch, and I was slightly let down until the Epilogue and then I was 100% back in. I don’t normally love these types of crimes against women books – the world holds enough of this for all of us without having to delve into fiction – but this was pretty creative and surprising. I did not read Mackintosh’s debut novel, I Let You Go, but everyone else on Goodreads seemed to love it even more than this, so I will go back and check that out.
I See You – Grade B