by Clare Macintosh
You do the same thing every day.
You know exactly where you're going.
You're not alone.
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: just a website, 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 listened to the audiobook version.)
I See You moves along at a fairly brisk pace (though there are parts that could've been edited down), and if it's formulaic and a bit of a stretch when it comes to believability, I still think this crime thriller has reasonable entertainment value.
I found some of the characters (Zoe's kids, mainly) annoying, at times, and after a while the narrator's voice patterns for certain characters (particularly the daughter) grated on my nerves-- but on the whole, I enjoyed the listening experience.
Taken for what it is-- a mass-market thriller-- it is perfectly readable. Nothing amazing, but a solid three stars for me.
Specifics (with SPOILERS):
-- I always have a hard time believing in "bad guys" who have successfully hidden their evil natures from their close friends and family for years. We've all heard stories about serial killers (and less violent psychopaths) who manage to blend into society for decades, but (perhaps naively) I still have a hard time accepting that there are no red flags... In any case, it seems very strange and unlikely to me that friends and family wouldn't have noticed something "off" about either Melissa or Zoe's son, whose name I simply cannot recall (a side effect of my only hearing his name instead of seeing it in print).
-- Zoe really has rotten luck. Not only is her next-door neighbor/best friend a well-disguised loon, but her own son turns out to be even worse-- eager to mete out death to his mother and sister!
-- I'm afraid I had to roll my eyes over Melissa's motivation against Zoe. She complains that Zoe's a self-centered whiner who doesn't now how good she has it (two kids, left an ex-husband who still loves her, lives with an adoring boyfriend)-- but a fair chunk of her anger seems to be over the fact that she (Melissa) never had kids of her own. ...Yeah, wishing you'd had kids can be enough to turn you into a willing accomplice to rape and murder, apparently.
-- How many reprobate men are there in London, anyway? I mean, I'd like to think that there aren't that many men who'd be interested in availing themselves of the services of such a creepy website. The whole set-up seems very unlikely. These clients aren't getting a whole lot of value for the money, considering that searching for, selecting, and stalking the victim isn't exactly boring busywork, from a predator's perspective. Even a busy murderer-on-the-go probably wants to choose his own "special projects" from as deep a pool as possible (unless he's more of an opportunistic, spur-of-the-moment type monster-in-human-form, in which case, the website still wouldn't seem particularly useful).
-- In skimming reviews, I keep seeing the author's first book mentioned, usually in favorable comparison to this one (as in, "after how great that was, this was a let-down"), so I'll be adding that other novel to my to-read list-- because even with its faults, this was an entertaining listen. If the debut novel is something more unusual, consider my interest piqued.