I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
After reading I Let You Go by Mackintosh, I was excited to get my hands on a copy of another one of her books. I Let You Go had been a tear-jerker…. but also had a major twist that absolutely blew me away. I couldn’t wait to see what new tricks this author would have up her sleeve!
Zoe Walker is a simple woman. She takes the exact same route everyday to go to work and returns home to her family, where she takes care of her two children and spends time with her loving boyfriend. Her life is incredibly ordinary – and she is happy that way. One day, she is reading her regular London newspaper while riding the tube when she chances upon an advert in the classifieds section. The strange thing is the advert is using a photograph of her. There is no explanation for this advert either: simply a website, her grainy image, and a phone number. When Zoe takes it home to her family, they laugh it off and think it’s just a picture of someone who looks similar to Zoe. But the next day, the exact same advert shows up with the photo of a different woman. And Zoe soon discovers a horrible connection between the pictures of these women and their fate afterwards. What started off as mere coincidence soon begins to appear as the work of a stalker, someone who is keeping track of every move being made by these women – and by Zoe.
Just as before, Mackintosh creates a story that seems unbelievably real. And the reason that this author is able to achieve this is through the way she creates such realistic characters. Every single person in this book has just the right amount of flaws and positives to make them come alive; I could easily see these people existing in my world. This is the author’s strength and she uses it to full advantage to make this story come alive. And the story really got under my skin. It is all about the vulnerability of women to stalkers and predation in public areas, and the experiences that these women go through is something I myself have experienced; many times, when riding the subway to go to school or home, I would see someone staring at me, sometimes see them following me. And I felt completely helpless. I thought that if I said something, people would look at me as if I was crazy, because there was no way I would be able to prove that this was actually happening to me. The author did a great job of highlighting this issue, racking up the tension and making my heart pound with every encounter. I could understand Zoe’s paranoia and her reckless desire to get to the bottom of this. The ending of this story was definitely a twist, but it wasn’t as strong as it could have been; after having read I Let You Go, I was expecting something a bit more sensational. However, the novel as a whole was really engrossing and I definitely enjoyed the thrills it brought. Overall, another strong story from a rising thriller writer!