Although there is nothing showy or even stylish about his prose, Mr. Marshall (whose other credits include The Straw Men) tells a nerve-racking story full of bizarre twists. That it initially offers so little only adds to its later surprise value. The Intruders, which seems like such a ploddingly literal-minded title for a book that begins with a home invasion, turns out to signal a sci-fi horrific strain, one that guarantees puzzling questions about the characters' true identities and motives…Mr. Marshall recalls Stephen King's ability to set a story in the world of the commonplace, then suddenly jolt it into a more hellish realm. He also has some of Mr. King's ability to rivet attention with eerie surprises. It's not necessary to believe this book's spooky underlying premise to be caught up in the campfire-tale power of its action.
The New York Times
Bestseller Marshall (The Straw Men) outdoes his own high standards with this potent blend of suspense, paranoia and just plain creepiness. Jack Whalen, a former L.A. cop, is pursuing a new career as a writer in an idyllic small town just east of Seattle when weird things start to undermine his pursuit of the American dream. First, an old acquaintance from Jack's childhood suddenly turns up with a strange tale about a double homicide; then Jack's wife, an advertising executive, disappears briefly on a business trip. Is he going crazy, or is she leading some sort of secret life? And what about these disturbing spells he keeps having, these fleeting sensations of otherness, in which his own existence is unfamiliar to him? Meanwhile, down the coast in Portland, a nine-year-old girl having similar visions has gone missing. As Jack investigates, he stumbles onto a secret much darker than he ever could have anticipated. Marshall ingeniously threads these strands together into a provocative and supremely intelligent thriller that reads like a cross between Andrew Klavan and Philip K. Dick. (Aug.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Making his hardcover U.S. debut, British thriller writer Marshall (The Straw Men) introduces readers to Jack Whalen, a former LAPD officer who wrote a book about crime scenes in Los Angeles. He and wife, Amy, now live in Washington State, where he's attempting to write another book while she pursues a successful career as an ad agency executive. Jack's feeling that something is not right in his marriage is confirmed when he tries to contact Amy at her hotel during a business trip and there is no sign that his wife has ever checked in. The same day, he gets a visit from an old high school friend who asks him to investigate a home invasion and murder in Seattle. As Jack struggles to discover the truth about his wife, he is drawn into something far larger and more mysterious than he could ever have imagined. Readers will find it very hard to put down this well-written and somewhat spooky novel. Strongly recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ4/15/07; Marshall also writes sf and horror under the name Michael Marshall Smith; out this month is The Servantsfrom Earthling Publications.-Ed.]
Potent, character-driven thriller about personality manipulation and brainwashing. Marshall (The Straw Men, 2002) ignites his exciting narrative in a clever, back-handed fashion with a gruesome double murder followed by an initially baffling flashback to the suicide of a girl named Donna. It all comes together when successful Chicago lawyer Gary Fisher calls up Jack Whalen, a former high-school acquaintance who offered some words of comfort after Donna killed herself over Gary. Why does Fisher want to see him? Because Whalen used to be with the LAPD and is now a writer living in Seattle, where that double murder took place. Its victims were the wife and son of Bill Anderson, an inventor linked to an estate Fisher's law firm is handling. Fisher convinces Whalen to investigate the case further. After all, the writer's not getting much work done while worrying about the strange behavior of his wife Amy. An advertising exec who travels frequently, she's been failing to turn up in places she's supposed to be or disappearing altogether for no discernible reason. She's also been frequenting a bogus storefront office in downtown Seattle in the company of other oddly acting characters. Meanwhile, a missing nine-year-old girl whose memory has been erased turns up at various places in Seattle, including Amy's advertising offices, displaying a new and strangely mature personality. All of these changeling personages have contact at some point with a dangerous creep who calls himself Federal Agent Shepherd. Marshall uses Fisher's and Whalen's personal histories to give some chilling psychological depth to his spooky portrait of disgruntled obsessives forming secret societies to search for "hiddentruths."Subtle, satisfying-and really scary.