Can You See Her? is the latest book by SE Lynes, and probably the hardest to review. This is a psychological thriller that gets right into the head of the main character, Rachel, until you are living and breathing her, and truly feel as if you’ve climbed through her ear and are now perched inside her brain, listening in to her every thought. It’s told mainly in the first person.
Rachel’s big problem is her thoughts get so confused sometimes that she doesn’t know what’s going on. We’ve all been there: walking into a room and forgetting why; trying to have a conversation with someone and wondering if you’re invisible because they barely acknowledge you; trying to remember when and why you put the hunting knife in your back pack…
Actually, scratch that last one, that’s just Rachel.
This wonderfully-drawn, in-depth, totally realistic character is all at sea as she tries to work out what led her to kill several people, and we’re led down the path with her as she tries to link memories and imaginings, sift fact from fiction. It’s a story of a woman struggling with huge changes in her life, not least The Change, which seems to have triggered a breakdown in the emotionally fragile Rachel. She takes you by the hand and you travel the twists and turns of her mind, all the time wanting to hug her and tell her everything will be all right, even if you’ve got a horrible feeling it really, really won’t be.
I always love this author’s work, but honestly, this one…this one…it blew me away. It’s brilliant. I had no idea what had happened, the plotting and slow unfolding of the story was absolute genius, and that of course kept me hooked,. But far more than that, what kept me turning the pages was the incredible characterisation, the uncomfortable, claustrophobic feeling of being in Rachel’s head, of her heartbreaking confusion and conclusions shored up with her self-deprecating humour that had me laughing out loud; her bravery at trying to face her truth. I wept for her and with her. I wanted to give her the biggest hug. I still do. I think the biggest compliment any author can give another is this: I wish I’d written it.