Source: Review Copy
Publication: 9th January 2020 from Head of Zeus
Is he who you think he is?
Kate used to be good at recognising people. So good, she worked for the police, identifying criminals in crowds of thousands. But six months ago, a devastating car accident led to a brain injury. Now the woman who never forgot a face can barely recognise herself in the mirror.
At least she has Rob. Kate met him just after her accident, and he nursed her back to health in his high-tech modernist house on the Cornish coast. When she’s with him, the nightmares of the accident fade, and she feels safe and loved.
Until, one day, she looks at Rob anew – and knows, with absolute certainty, that he has been replaced by an impostor. Is she right? Have her old recognition skills returned? Or is it all in her damaged mind?
I wanted to read The Other You because I really enjoyed J.S. Monroe’s Forget My Name. I wasn’t disappointed. J.S. Monroe has a strong flair for capturing a distinctive crime that you won’t easily forget and then building a novel around it that has the reader questioning and second guessing the plot all the way down the line.
Kate was a highly skilled super recogniser. Working for the police and gaining high profile results when she had a car accident. Now she is recovering, but her skills at recognising have gone. She has ditched her loser boyfriend, Jake and is now living with her handsome partner, tech mogul Rob in a beautiful Cornwall home where she feels safe and cared for. Until one day she looks at him and is convinced that he has been replaced by an imposter.
Capgras syndrome is a recognised medical condition causing an irrational belief that someone the sufferer knows or recognises has been replaced by an imposter. Has Kate’s injury caused this syndrome or is something more sinister going on?
Monroe takes the reader on a thrilling journey, constantly asking us to evaluate what we are reading and test it against our understanding. I loved the twistiness of the plot, the constant need to recalibrate our understanding and the short punchy chapters that help keep the pace fast and the prose lively.
I’m always interested when a writer takes an original concept and demonstrates just how it can be achieved and Monroe’s creepy scenario is sufficiently plausible to make his plot truly chilling and completely addictive.
Told from the perspective of three principal characters, – Kate’s former boss Wiltshire Police’s DI Silas Hart; Kate’s ex-boyfriend, Jake, and Kate herself, Monroe builds up narrative strands which build the tension and enable the reader to become invested in their progress, as the narrative becomes ever more compelling and propulsive.
The themes are fascinating; from the rise of technology, to the way the brain works to notions of instinct over reason.
Verdict: A fascinating premise beautifully conceived and executed makes for an original and chilling novel that is part thriller and part police procedural. Unmissable.
J.S. Monroe read English at Cambridge, worked as a foreign correspondent in Delhi, and was Weekend editor of the Daily Telegraph in London before becoming a full-time writer. Monroe is the author of six novels, including the international bestseller, Find Me.