About the book (from the publisher): Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her.
It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her; a grainy photo along with a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.
Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes – including murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…a discover that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target.
And now, that man on the train – the one smiling at Zoe from across the car – could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move.
My Review: I read Mackintosh’s first thriller, I Let You Go, and reviewed it here. I was very impressed by her writing, her skill with plot devices and characterizations, and especially with a twist I didn’t see coming. It was an amazing debut.
This story has a promising premise. What if you discover that someone took your photo without your knowledge and it is part of an ad that is suspect and perhaps dangerous? And then discover that even more women were also in those ads – some of whom had been attacked and killed?
Mackintosh has a gift for creating the daily lives of her characters as well as their relationships to each other. In this case, Zoe lives with her two young adult children and her boyfriend. They, along with her neighbors and her boss and her ex-husband, are fully fleshed out and we get a very strong sense of the daily rhythms of their lives. This is established at the same time that the tension slowly ramps up. It’s a very good balancing act and Mackintosh does it well.
While I enjoyed the novel, I did have some problems with it. The unmasking of the antagonist – which I won’t reveal – simply seemed too improbable for me. The bad guy/guys? I couldn’t swallow that choice. I do admire the way Mackintosh made it work within the context of the story but making it work involved some fancy footwork that didn’t quite mask the fact that it wasn’t believable.
In the end, I felt manipulated. Of course, a good thriller always manipulates us, but it has to do so with the reward being a denouement that, even while shocking, makes sense. The author’s job is to put enough valid clues in the story so that the reader can see, in retrospect, how everything worked toward that end. In this case, it didn’t.
So I was disappointed.
But Mackintosh is good at creating a little twist just when you don’t expect it. And there is one of those twists in this story.
All in all, I think you’ll enjoy it – with reservations.
About the author: Clare Macintosh spent 12 years on the police force in England and has written for The Guardian, Good Housekeeping, and other publications. A columnist for Cotswold Life and Writing Magazine, she is the founder of the Chipping Norton Literary Festival and lives in the Cotswolds with her family.
Thanks to NetGalley and Berkeley Publishing Group for an eGalley of this book!