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The Intruders

Review

The Intruders

I
first stumbled across Michael Marshall in one of those gift shops
you find in bigger hotels. I wandered over to the paperback
“section” --- it was a wall mounting, containing slots
for nine titles --- and I noticed the name “Michael
Marshall” on a copy of THE STRAW MEN. I went to grade school
with a Michael Marshall, so I picked up the book to see if perhaps
it was the same gentleman. They turned out to be different people
altogether. But I was so intrigued by the premise of the novel that
I bought it, read it and quickly sought out the remainder of the
author’s bibliography.

THE INTRUDERS is Marshall’s latest work, combining his
trademark elements of unpredictability, craftsmanship and sterling
characterization to provide an addicting, thrilling read that never
disappoints.

If you’re paranoid at all, you’re going to get your
instincts jumpstarted within a few pages of reading THE INTRUDERS.
The story deals primarily with Jack Whalen, a man who is unsettled
by the feeling that his world is slowly, almost imperceptibly,
changing. Whalen is an ex-LAPD patrolman who retired from the
force, wrote a book of some nominal success and now lives with his
wife Amy --- a successful marketing executive --- in a small rural
community a few hours removed from Seattle. Their world seems to be
financially and emotionally secure. But, as Marshall slowly
reveals, there are tiny cracks around the foundation of the Whalen
family --- not necessarily fissures or yawning chasms, but cracks
nonetheless.

When Amy turns up missing during what would otherwise be a routine
business trip to Seattle, Jack immediately begins to investigate,
only to discover that her disappearance is more a misunderstanding
than anything else. That’s not the end of it, however. Jack
notices that his wife is doing little things --- acquiring new
habits, listening to different music --- that she has never done
before. Taken together, they portend the arrival of something far
beyond anything that Jack can imagine.

In the meantime, events occurring that appear far removed from
Jack’s world will jeopardize his very existence. A mysterious
stranger breaks into a house, brutally murders a woman and her son,
and sets the house on fire. A young girl, walking alone on a beach,
is approached by a polite man and shortly thereafter leaves without
explanation, even as her demeanor begins to change. And Amy? She
just gets more and more bizarre.

As you’re reading, you will probably find yourself wondering
just how Marshall is going to tie up such apparently disparate
elements into a cohesive story, and to what ultimate end. What
Marshall does, however, is not only create a chilling tale that
will keep you awake at night, but he also provides a possible
answer to a question that has puzzled individuals for hundreds of
years: What, precisely, makes us what, and who, we are?

Those familiar with Marshall’s body of work wish that he
would write more frequently. But when he publishes a novel of such
quality as THE INTRUDERS, one remembers that any book of his is
worth the wait, no matter how long it may be.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011

The Intruders
by Michael Marshall

  • Publication Date: August 1, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0061235024
  • ISBN-13: 9780061235023