The fastest selling crime novel of 2015 according to the Sunday Times was I Let You Go written by Clare Mackintosh. It was a huge success. In as little as a year later, Clare's 2nd book, I See You, will be speeding its way on to our book shelves faster than you can say.. Publisher Pressure!
A debut novelist that's able to churn out a new book a year later after their first success, will often produce a load of garbled heavily rushed tripe. This is a common curse that inflicts modern culture including movie sequels and even record albums. Where they all fail is in that they don't have a back catalogue, a natural continuation of a story that has been worked on for years, a multitude of tales to tell or it's the people that write the cheques that start applying far too much pressure and you're left with a book that has no soul. The Beatles, love them or hate them, had written a huge catalogue of songs before becoming famous, thanks to hours upon hours of gigging and writing, writing and gigging. Stephen King, a man that thinks all watches are called a Timex, has thousands upon thousands of stories written, all long before the success of The Stand.
From the first few chapters of I See You, Clare Mckintosh eliminates any past judgements you might have on the dreaded "2nd Book", at least that is for the first few chapters.
The plot focuses on the feared reality of personal paranoia and actual private invasion. It is clear that Clare has used her background in policing to add as much realism as possible. Normally I find myself bored by the jargon and over baked details of the policing world in most crime novels. Clare however, keeps things simple and easy to understand, which certainly helps with the flow of the book.
Nevertheless, some of the chapters after the middle are clunky; shortly after the story begins to take its turn, Mckintosh loses me slightly as there is little to no sub-text to ponder due to the basic story structure of; put them up and knock em' down! The characters are all very plain and normal, which might appeal to a few readers that want to relate to their own lives, but I wasn't in awe of them, I wasn't trying to work them out, towards the end of the book I was skipping pages.
So for the above reasons you could call the book a page turner? The story although basic is still a lot of fun and great to try and figure out what is happening to Mckintosh's simply characters', but this isn't anything you've not read before. The plot echoes that of Enemy of the State and the characters' are never challenged enough that you care about their fates and the plot isn't solid enough that you care about the outcome. The characters' were clearly designed last, as they are simply there to drive the plot.
As I read the book I noticed that I was sharing something with the writer, I was rushing it, wanting it to be done and over. This story that Clare has written wasn't a labour of love, but rather that of a product of pressure. She clearly has some tremendous skills as a writer and I could tell as I read it she loves writing, but she definitely didn't enjoy writing this book.
They'll most likely turn this story into the next ITV crime drama and have James Nesbit dressed in drag as Zoe, his most challenging character to date!
I See You, is published by Sphere and available to buy 28th July at all good bookshops.
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