The Intruders

The Intruders

by Michael Marshall

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061235030
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/30/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Michael Marshall is the author of the trilogy that includes The Straw Men, The Upright Man, and Blood of Angels, as well as the stand-alone novels The Servants, The Intruders, Bad Things, and Killer Move. He also works as a screenwriter for clients in London and Los Angeles, and is currently writing a television pilot set in New York City. He lives in London, England, with his wife and son.

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The Intruders

Chapter One

There was this girl I knew back in high school. Her name was Donna, and even that was wrong about her, as if she'd been mislabeled at birth. She wasn't a Donna. Not in real terms. She made you realize there must be an underlying rhythm to the universe, and you knew this purely because she wasn't hitting it. She walked a little too quickly. She turned her head a little too slowly. It was like she was dubbed onto reality a beat out of true. She was one of those kids you saw at a distance, toting a pile of books, standing diffidently with people you didn't realize were even at the school. She had friends, she did okay in class, she wasn't a total loser, and she wasn't dumb. She was just kind of hard to see.

Like all schools we had a pecking order of looks, but Donna somehow wasn't on the same scale. Her skin was pale and her features fine-boned and evenly spaced, faultless except for a crescent scar to the side of her right eye, legacy of some toddling collision with a table. The eyes themselves were inky gray and very clear, and on the rare occasions when you got to look into them, you received a vivid sense she was real after all—which only made you wonder what you thought she was the rest of the time. She was a little skinny, maybe, but otherwise slightly cute in every way except that she somehow just . . . wasn't. It was as if she released no pheromones, or they operated on an inaudible wavelength, broadcasting their signal to sexual radios either out of date or not yet invented.

I found her attractive nonetheless, though I was never really sure why. So I noticed when it looked like she was hanging outwith—or in the vicinity of—a guy named Gary Fisher. Fisher was one of the kids who strode the halls as if accompanied by fanfare, the group that makes anyone who's been through the American school system instantly wary of egalitarian philosophies later in life. He played football with conspicuous success. He was on the starting basketball lineup, played significant tennis, too. He was good-looking, naturally: When God confers control of sports spheres, he tends to wrap it in a prettier package, too. Fisher wasn't like the actors you see in teen movies now, impossibly handsome and free of facial blemish, but he looked right, back in the days when the rest of us stared dismally in the mirror every morning and wondered what had gone wrong and whether it would get better—or even worse.

He was also, oddly, not too much of an asshole. I knew him a little from track, where I had a minor talent for hurling things a long way. I'd gathered from the jock grapevine that a realignment had taken place among the ruling classes, principally that Gary's girl, Nicole, was now going with one of his friends instead, in what appeared to be an amicable transfer of chattels. You didn't have to be too keen an observer of the social scene to perceive a degree of interest in taking her place—but the truly weird thing was that Donna seemed to believe herself in the running. It was as if she had received intelligence from somewhere that the caste system was illusory and you actually could fit a square peg in a round hole. She couldn't sit at the same table at lunch, of course, but would wind up at one nearby, close to Gary's line of sight. She would engineer "accidental" bumps in the corridor but manage nothing more than nervous laughs. I even saw her a couple of Fridays out at Radical Bob's, a burger/pizza place where people tended to start the weekend. She would stop by whatever table Fisher was sitting at and deliver some remark about a class or assignment, which would fall to the floor like a brick. Then she would wander off, a little too slowly now, as if hoping to be called back. This never happened. Other than being mildly perplexed, I doubt Fisher had the slightest clue what was going on. After a couple weeks, a deal was done in some gilded back room—or the backseat of a gilded car, more likely—and one morning Gary was to be found in the company of Courtney Willis, textbook hot blonde. Life went on.

For most of us.

Two days later Donna was found in the bathtub at her parents' home. Her wrists had been cut with determination and only one testing slash on the forearm. The adult consensus, which I overheard more than once, was that it could not have been a fast way to go—despite a last-ditch attempt to hasten progress by pushing a pair of nail scissors deep into her right eye socket, as if that crescent scar had been some kind of omen. There was a handwritten letter to Gary Fisher on the floor, the words blurred by water that had spilled over the edges of the tub. Lots of people later claimed to have seen the letter, or a photocopy, or overheard someone saying what was in it. But, as far as I know, none of this was true.

News spread fast. People went through the motions, and there were outbreaks of crying and prayer, but I don't think any of us were shaken to our core. Personally, I was not surprised or even particularly sorry. That sounds callous, but the truth was, it felt like it made sense. Donna was a weird chick. A strange girl, a dumb death. End of story.

Or so it seemed to most of us. Gary Fisher's reaction was different, and at the time it was the most surprising thing I had ever seen. Everything was new and strange back then, events backlit by the foreshortened perspective of a fledgling life. The guy who did something halfway . . .

The Intruders. Copyright © by Michael Marshall. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Intruders 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall this was a good read, but it had some problems. It's a fast paced book when following Jack Whalen. But it tends to slow down quite a lot when Marshall switches to other Characters. I loved Jack as a main Character, even though he is a flawed hero, which is done to death. It's a good thriller with just the right pacing throughout most of the book and keeps you turning the page. I really liked the book, but cant give it more than three stars. This has mainly to do with my opinion on what a thriller is, a fast paced book with some surprises. Yes The Intruders is wonderfully fasted paced, but I found myself knowing what was coming at the end of the book by the time I was halfway through it. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fast paced thriller.
rwakeland More than 1 year ago
Michael Marshall Smith, who writes under several different pen names, has been known to write in several different genres, including horror and science fiction, though his most famous novel, The Straw Men, is a modern suspense/thriller classic. With The Intruders, Smith brings back what he does best: the subtle diversions man creates to convince himself he has control over reality.

The Intruders follows Jack Whalen, a retired cop who believes his wife may have gone missing on one of her business trips to Seattle. Whalen is a sensible, rational man who has some issues that border on paranoia, but he tries to carefully work through difficult situations. Then, a little girl goes missing from her family, and though she is aware that she is going somewhere, she can't help but feel a little outside of herself.

What begins as random occurences in The Intruders slowly folds in on itself, but in a way that keeps you guessing until the very last chapter. I thought I was picking up a crime novel, but about halfway through the book, I wasn't sure what genre the author was really going for. The Intruders constantly hints toward science fiction and horror, but in a way that is subtle enough to be left open for interpretation. Though it's an excellent crime novel, I believe fans of the old pulps will find this novel more entertaining than fans of the modern series authors.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Former LAPD cop turned author Jack Whalen and his wife advertising executive Amy left Southern California to live in the Seattle suburbs. One seemingly uneventful day high school sports friend Gary Fisher calls from Chicago to ask Jack to do him a favor. The lawyer says he tracked Jack from his book and would like Jack to investigate the brutal murders of thirty-seven year old Gina Anderson and her son Joshua in their Seattle home the house was trashed and the husband a lecturer at the nearby community college vanished.---------------- Jack agrees to take the case, but when he calls his wife who is in Seattle on business, the hotel desk clerk says she has not checked in and she fails to answer her cell phone. Concerned he travels to Seattle to find Amy has vanished.---------------- In Portland, a nine years old girl also disappears, but is found a few miles away. She shares visions with Jack, who digs deeper into a cesspool in search of his wife. Soon all three scenarios will connect at the heart of Jack¿s soul.---------------- THE INTRUDERS affirm Michael Marshall¿s winning of the Philip K. Dick. Award (see THE STRAW MEN) as this action-packed thriller filled with twists will keep readers on the edge throughout. Jack is a wonderful beleaguered hero who starts off by quickly realizing he don¿t know jack even about himself and as he investigates realizes each new clue proves he knows even less than he thought. The audience needs to set aside plenty of time as 392 pages is a one sitting suspense read.--------------- Harriet Klausner
MarkFL More than 1 year ago
I've read thrillers. But this novel blew my mind! Thinking outside of the box is here! And it will scare you, thrill you and make you think! Nothing but "new" and original story telling here! What really got me going with this story is...could it be true? It was a blast to read in any case! Burrrr! shivers !
ClarkP More than 1 year ago
This book far surpassed my expectations. It was intense and creepy. I really had no idea how the book would end, which kept me turning the pages to find out. I was hooked from the first chapter, and it was a wild ride until the end. Overall, The Intruders is an excellent book. It is well worth your time to read this one.
stephenaturton on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I'm really not all that into his thriller/airport fiction stuff, but I'll keep reading it in case it shows any of the aceness of his quirky scifi books from the 90s.I've started reading this one, it's better than The Straw Man books.
tundranocaps on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Very good book, makes me happy to see Marshall back to form.Be advised, this book contains supernatural elements, if that sort of thing bothers you.
ennui2342 on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Everything Marshall writes is a pleasure to read, and this thriller doesn't disappoint. As usual his writing moves at a pace, with short chapters dense with fascinating characters and vivid locations which jump out of the page. As is his tendency, what seems simple at first develops into a backdrop of conspiracy with a tinge of fantasy/sci-fi underpinning it all.Highly recommended, I just wish he'd go back and apply his talent to some more pure sci-fi as Michael Marshall Smith.
mrhig on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The Intruders is about people not acting as they usually would. About the actions we cannot explain, decisions we've made that we can't come to terms with - it's just not something we normally do.It's apt then, that Michael Marshall is really masquerading as somebody else. He used to be Michael Marshall Smith, began writing out-there sci-fi action, then decided to go the Iain Banks route, and write under two identities. Michael Marshall Smith would write the futuristic sci-fi; Michael Marshall would write the "real-world" thrillers.Except "The Intruders", Marshall's latest novel, isn't really a "real-world" thriller. It's pretending to be, but it's actually something else. The Smith part of Marshall's writing personality begins to creep in around the edges. And it's that, if anything, that saves the book.The story begins slowly - Jack Whalen is an ex-police detective, living with his marketing-executive wife in a little town in Oregon. Nowadays, he's a struggling writer, unsure of how to follow up the reasonable hit that was his first book. His writer's block finds an easy way to distract him from work, when a childhood friend shows up on his doorstep with a mystery for him to solve. It has a personal stake; the friend hints that Jack's wife, Amy, is somehow involved. Jack, irked and with growing frustration that he is not being told all the facts, begins to realise that his wife has been very distant of late. She's started smoking again, now wears bright-pink nail polish, and exhibits a number of other new habits, all of which are beginning to tell Jack that Amy is not the woman she once was.How right he is.Feeling guilty for doing so, Jack begins to investigate what Amy may or may not be telling him about her work, and a whole other life that she seems to be living in secret. Gradually, the job his childhood friend has for him and the mystery of his wife begin to merge into one confusing jumble of illicit photos, enigmatic text messages, a man on the run and others out for blood. And we find that Amy isn't the only one hiding secrets under the surface...Alternating chapters tell the tale of a confused young girl on the run, as well as the people she runs into along the way, and the disturbing impressions they get of her. The contents of these chapters are confusing. That, of course, is part of the mystery, and you do get the impression that all will be explained later on. Indeed it is, but being confused every other chapter begins to grate after awhile.Something makes me think that reading this book in one long session, possibly over a few nights, would work really well. When reading it over the course of a month, however, you begin to forget about things you have already been told. When names are brought up again later in the book, instead of thinking "Aha! I remember who that is!", you think "Who?", and find yourself flipping back to earlier in the book to work out just who that person is.Despite these downsides, from around halfway through the book, the strands of story begin to join together, and the central mystery begins to reveal more of itself, becoming vastly more intriguing as a result. The overall concept itself is fantastic - when it is eventually revealed, it makes perfect sense as a great idea, and you wonder why you hadn't considered it before. Marshall Smith's greatest asset in his science fiction has always been the overall concepts behind each book - each time, something banal and utterly ordinary is given a bizarre twist. He deals in mysteries that typically only children would wonder about, adults having come to accept as a rite of adulthood that some things defy explanation, and that we will never truly know how the world works."The Intruders", then, begins as a by-the-numbers thriller with a number of twists and turns, and is reasonably enthralling as the story unravels itself. Once you reach the halfway point, however, the story really picks up, takes a turn into the unexplained and the supernatural, a
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TWTaz More than 1 year ago
For me, this book was just okay. It started out strong and drew me in immediately, but then it steadily went downhill. It just seemed to plod along, and by the time the explanation is revealed as to what's going on, I really didn't care much. I did like the character of Jack, and there were some exciting parts, but they were too few and far between for me.
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jnababe More than 1 year ago
I found it tough to get through this one. It just wasn't interesting or exciting enough to keep my attention.
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ckodin More than 1 year ago
I was intrigued at first but it became too weird and unbelievable. Needed alittle more mystery, less sci-fi.
adventureag More than 1 year ago
it started out very good but then seemed to drag a bit. I like the suspense roller coaster ride books and this book seemed to have got stuck on the track.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm glad I only paid four bucks for this... to me there were too many characters which got confusing towards the end...overall, okay but nothing special