I Know You by Claire McGowan
|I Know You by Claire McGowan|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: A before and after, now and then thriller about someone who has a run of bad luck when it comes to discovering bodies? Or does she….?|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 412||Date: October 2021|
|Publisher: Thomas & Mercer|
|External links: Author's website|
Then: Casey returns from a walk with the baby, Carson, and comes across three bodies, almost a whole family taken down.
Now: Rachel is out for a walk with her dog, Brandy, when she comes across a body in the woods.
Then: Casey, a British teenager working as a nanny in LA, is shaken and scared. As you would be.
Now: Rachel, who volunteers at a dog shelter, is shaken and scared. As you would be, and even more so if this wasn't the first time it had happened…
It's 20 years later. Casey has been cleared of the murders of the family she worked for, and let out of prison. She's returned home to the UK and after a failed relationship, has relocated to the north where no-one knows her and she can start again. Changing her name and erasing her past are a small price to pay for freedom, and she relishes the anonymity of it all. Finding the body in the woods is a shock but at first it doesn't change anything. She has nothing to do with it, and no-one will think she does. After all, Rachel hasn't been in this situation before, even if her alter-ego has.
As the story unravels, though, it soon becomes clear that she's not been as off the grid as she thought she was. Someone out there knows who she is, what she did (or was accused of doing), and how guilty that makes her look. With Rachel adamant that, once again, she is being unfairly accused of a crime she didn't commit, it's a race against time to clear her name and bring the true culprit to justice.
This book weaves back and forth between the past and the present, with two tales unrolling simultaneously. We meet Casey, out of her depth caring for two children in a busy LA household, holding on to the dream of becoming an actress herself but also quickly discovering why they call it la-la land. And we get to know Rachel, a quiet friend of the animals with a slightly sticky personal life that's about to get even messier.
This is a gripping story about the falsely accused, and the sheer amount of unfairness of it all. The settings contrast in a beautiful way – hot southern California vs the grim women's prison vs the gentle nature of the Lake District. Rachel and Casey don't seem exactly the same person, but then I'm not the same person I was 20-odd years ago. You change, and things change you, especially things like being sent to prison.
I didn't know how the story would, or could, end. All the way through I was happy to take Rachel at face value (though I was less sure about Casey) but still, that didn't mean the police and the press and the neighbours would see things in the same light. I struggled to see how it could all get tied up neatly at the end, but I was pretty happy with the outcome. I read this book in the blazing sun but it would be just as good for a wintery day, cosy in front of a fire, as it's pure escapism. It's easy to get on with, straight-forward to follow, and constantly drops titbits that keep you guessing about who is telling the truth.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review and I'd also like to recommend another of the author's books The Push by Claire McGowan for more mysterious crimes.
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