- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: HQ Fiction - GB (18 June 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0008238707
- ISBN-13: 978-0008238704
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 240 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 380,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I Know You Paperback – 18 Jun 2018
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Praise for I Know You:
‘Draws you in and doesn’t let you go. Gripping, chilling and twisted.’ Judy Finnigan
Praise for Annabel Kantaria:
‘Twists and turns abound’ Hello! Magazine
‘Compelling…fans of Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty will enjoy this’ Candis
‘A clever, tense thriller’ Heat
‘A gripping debut. You won’t be able to put this down’ Bella
'A compelling tale of marriage, deceit and unfinished business' Amanda Brooke
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I KNOW YOU is an intruiging psychological thriller that predominantly revolves around the use of social media, and while there have been a few books in this genre centring on the topic, this one does it rather brilliantly. It shows us how we allow complete strangers to know almost every aspect of our lives without actually knowing anything about who is following us. It really makes you stop and think about just how much we share online.
I wasn't sure what I would think of it when I started as it is a bit of a slow burn to begin with - with Taylor being somewhat #DesperatelyAnnoying with her constant need to post absolutely everything online - but it does begin to build and hooks you in before you know it. It's not action-packed but it is rather compelling.
Taylor is the main protagonist and having recently moved from her native USA to the UK with her husband Jake, the story revolves around what has become her somewhat mundane life. She misses her family and friends back home, but eager to make new friends in Croydon, she joins a walking group where she meets Simon, a strange man and a loner who is the sole carer for his elderly father, and Anna, also new to the area and also expecting whose husband is away for months at a time. Trying hard to become Anna's new best friend, Taylor takes on (what I thought) the almost "stalker" persona that the internet so easily provides by searching her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - friending her immediately - and even googling her home address, mapping out the directions from her own house to Anna's door. When you hear it like that, it does sound rather creepy. But Taylor is desperate for friends, and her desperation really comes across in the early pages which I found a little irritating at times but then I realised that I am familiar with that same need. I meet a new friend, I search them on Facebook as well - not to be creepy but tokeep in touch. So I get it. Just when it is actually put down on paper (or Kindle) it really does look desperate.
However, Taylor has made a big move across the world away from what she knows to somewhere she doesn't know - in an effort to save her marriage. You see, shortly before the move Taylor discovered Jake had been cheating on her, so the move back to Jake's native UK was an attempt to help save their marriage. Added to that, Taylor is also pregnant with their first child. So it is a chance for new beginnings all round.
Soon after moving to the neighbourhood Taylor also meets exuberant Sarah from down the road and her rather snobbish friend Caroline, who she discovered went to primary school with her husband Jake. Given Jake's history Taylor begins to wonder just how well they knew each other and if she should be worried. The fact that Jake spends a lot of time away from home for work only adds to her growing worry. This only intensifies when Jake and Sarah start spending a lot of time together on the "pretense" of planning her birthday dinner. Then throughout the said dinner, Sarah drunkenly makes a continual play for Jake in front of the horrified guests, with Jake seemingly oblivious to her overt flirtations, everyone's discomfort and Taylor's humiliation. Is he having an affair with Sarah?
Then Simon starts to get creepy and turns up at her place with gifts for her baby. Isn't that just too weird? Anna doesn't like him from the off and tells Taylor so but Taylor feels sorry for him. Still, his job is a forensic hacker and he can find out anything about anyone online, so it's no mystery as to how he found Taylor's address.
Then Anna starts getting strange phone calls, and gifts being left at her door, and she begins to get the sense that she is being watched. One day she rings Taylor in a panic telling her that someone has been living in her shed. Taylor races around to support her friend, but upon inspection of the shed herself, she wonders if Anna isn't just imagining things being alone in her house all the time. She offers to have her come and stay with her for a while. It's that night that Taylor goes into labour and Anna stays with her throughout until the birth of her son. Sadly Jakes misses the whole event.
Taylor is thrilled to meet her newborn son, whom they name Joseph (Joe), but in the weeks after appears to suffer from post natal depression. Plans are made for her to take Joe to the US to meet her parents but they go awry when he and Anna disappear from the airport and Taylor begins to realise that maybe her friend's paranoia about someone watching her all this time was not just paranoia but very real.
Who has taken Anna and Joe? Where are they?
I KNOW YOU is mainly told from Taylor's persepctive throughout though every few chapters we are privy to the somewhat nasty thoughts of a mystery person, written in a kind of manifesto to Taylor which she is not yet privy to. But as the story unfolds we realise that someone is not who they seem. But who is this person? And how do they know her?
I love the way the story is written and how it all unfolds. The threat Taylor is under and the person watching via her social media. So who has it in for her? Although the "manifesto" of sorts that is also being written alongside the story, it doesn't indicate at first just who it refers to but I guess it is clear that the recipient of that rage and those words is in fact Taylor - but there are a number of candidates for that role as we try to work out just who it could possibly be. There is also an undertone that I clicked onto right away - that every player in the story is either expecting or maybe wanting a baby - with a couple having a tragic baby past. So it could be anyone...couldn't it?
So where does social media come into it, you say? While my review hasn't said much about it rest assured it does play a big part. Taylor lives her life through social media, hashtagging everything and everyone, to the point that Jake often referred to her need as some kind of addiction. The sense you get when reading the "alter chapters" is that this person has picked up everything about Taylor's life online, so that when it comes to the reveal near the end, Jake is mortified to discover just how much of their lives Taylor DID post online. Is nothing sacred? he screamed at her. And that is what role social media plays in society today. No, nothing is sacred anymore. Anything and everything is free game.
I honestly didn't know what I would think of this book but it turned out I really enjoyed it. I guessed a few bits along the way, and mis-guessed others, but that's half the fun of reading this genre. It is difficult NOT to give too much away because so much does take place.
I KNOW YOU is a slow burner to start with but when it picks up pace, it really picks it up. You won't want to put it down!
I was a little disappointed in the ending, but then again I asked myself, how would it have ended otherwise? With so much damage done, how could anyone pick themselves up after that? So I guess the ending was appropriate for this story, even if a little disappointing.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I didn’t like this book for many reasons, but the worst aspect, and what I couldn’t stand anymore: the main character speaking 100% like a lifelong Brit, when she was supposed to be a born and raised American (from California and hadn’t been in England long). It was just ridiculous; she simply wouldn’t sound that way. It’s lazy on the part of the author, and is so distracting to me. Oddly enough, it really didn’t even matter for us to know where the character was from anyway, just that she was new to the town in the story.
The rest: juvenile (silly) actions, dialogue, and scenes. Boring. No real connections to the cliched characters. Predictable. I didn’t make it to the end, but would bet money I can correctly guess what happens.
I don’t enjoy leaving bad reviews, but always appreciate hearing all sides myself ... and especially for the price of this book. All of this said, it won’t keep me from checking out other works by this author. But, please — don’t do characters from the USA if you’re going to have them talking like Hyacinth Bucket!
That picture you posted?
I’ve seen it.
That location you tagged?
I’ve been there.
I know everything about your life . . .
And I’m going to destroy it.
A recent transplant from sunny California, life in the London suburbs is not what Taylor Watson expected. Far from the West End shops and city lights she imagined, she finds herself pregnant and lonely, with a husband frequently away on business and only social media to keep her company. It’s only after Taylor joins a book club and a walking group, that she finally starts to make some real-life friends.
Before long, Taylor’s hanging out with Anna, Sarah, Simon, and Caroline but, as her pregnancy progresses and her friendships blossom, a sense of unease develops. Nothing’s ever quite as it seems on the surface, and it soon becomes clear that Taylor’s new friends have secrets. One appears to be after Taylor’s husband, another’s always putting her down, and then there’s the question of Simon. Could he have feelings for Taylor?
But far more worryingly, one of the group’s not being too careful what they post on social media—and another is watching all too closely. Who’s stalking who . . . and why?
“I Know You” by Annabel Kantaria plays on every fear you could have about social media and the way we as a society naively post so much of our lives, giving away information even when we’re careful. Very early in the book, there’s a paragraph that mentions Instagram location services and Google Maps street view (which I’ve used) that made me think, ‘Yes, anyone could find anyone really with just a little bit of scrolling and searching.’ These tools can be great, but they can also invite some unsavory characters into our lives.
The story here is well-written. There’s enough switching between Taylor Watson’s perspective and the “stalker.” Taylor tells the story in the first person, and we know from the very beginning that something happened. We just don’t know what.
We are introduced to a variety of people who could be the stalker, including Taylor herself. The author does a good job of cloaking the identity. The story is fast-paced. I was about 75% of the way through when I realized we were getting a little too close to the end and I was worried we weren’t going to get a great ending. But that was really when we reach the big reveal in the story, and we get a great race to the conclusion.
There was one thing about the story that really bugged me, outlined in the spoiler below. It may not bug everybody, but it’s what put me at 4 stars instead of 5. The only issue is that if this element were not in the book, the “whodunit” perspective would not have been as good.
I would definitely recommend this book. I received an advance copy from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review.
SPOILER: The main character in this book, Taylor, is from California, and she and her husband Jake moved to the UK for a fresh start after Jake cheated on her. What bugged me is that Taylor doesn’t speak like an American. She uses words like “queue” instead of “line,” “mum” instead of “mom,” and “tuts” instead of I don’t know what. When a character is supposed to be American, it really bothers me when they don’t sound like one. In this case, if Taylor sounded American, we would KNOW she isn’t the stalker, so I get it, but it still really bothered me as a reader.
So maybe I have read a few too many thrillers, since I have read hundreds of them at this point. Maybe I should not expect to be shocked and awed anymore by the plot twists. Okay. I can understand that and review the book despite this.
Characters: I was really bored by all the characters expect the anonymous stalker. I really liked the creepy aspect it added to the book. However, it didn't carry over to the rest of the characters that felt boring and guarded. I wanted to know more abut them, build more of a personality. The constant gas lighting was just too much for me.
Plot: I was a flight attendant. I am now pregnant. I am not from here. I want to make a new friend. Hi new friend. Lets hand out. -- I needed more.
Logic: I can't go into details without spoilers so I will have to be vague. I found it to not be believable. You would know more about the people that are in your life. I don't think the police would have hendled it in that way.
Intrigue: I was bored through out the entire book. I predicted the plot line from the beginning and hope that even if I was correct that the character development would have made up for it.
Overall, I would give this one a pass. It is not horrible but it is dull and predictable.