Customer Reviews: The Intruders
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on April 25, 2008
I could not put Michael Marshall's latest down. He's created a multi-layered thriller involving a likeable protagonist plus a host of remarkable satellite characters who make you cringe & groan with curiosity & anticipation.
Set in the Pacific Northwest, the prologue of THE INTRUDERS starts with an apparently random home invasion, murder & fire. Then we meet Jack Whalen, ex-LA beat cop & a one-book author who's struggling to write another. Instead, he's sitting staring out at the forested panorama & remembering, for some odd reason, a high school classmate & how she didn't quite fit in & who, after trying to get the attention of the handsomest senior jock, committed suicide.
That morning, Jack's wife had driven to Seattle for a meeting at her ad agency. That's why, a couple of years ago, they'd moved up to this idyllic little mountain burg on the eastside of the Cascades from Southern California, where they'd met & married ten years before.
Then that very same jock, now 20 years older, calls Jack, wanting to see him. Gary Fisher brings a strange tale and Jack, with his beat cop instincts slowly coming alert, senses his visitor isn't telling him everything & some of what he's said doesn't ring true. But Jack has no time for Gary as he's just discovered his wife's cell phone has been found in a Seattle taxi.
On Cannon Beach in Oregon, a nine year old girl is struggling with nightmares, her parents' uneasy marriage, & something far more frightening: loss of memory & the arrival of a stranger as she's out on the beach wondering how she got there. When the idea that she's got to go somewhere sets her traveling, the people who help her along the way come to rue it as this nice, little girl with headaches has a killer's instincts.
THE INTRUDERS is a tale well-spun with lashings of deceit & determination, action & clues, body & mind invasions & chases, & other scary stuff. It's a thriller that has you connecting dots like mad, except, are you connecting the right ones? Unto the final page, you won't know!
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on December 9, 2008
I must admit, I was a little weary of The Intruders when I first saw it: a cheesy front cover, with an inside flap that promised only what any other mystery novel could offer. However, when I started reading the first chapter, I didn't want to stop until I'd finished it.

Marshall (who writes under several pen names, though is mostly known for the Straw Men trilogy) alternates between the stories a violent murder mystery, the ramblings of an over rational paranoid ex-cop whose wife may be missing, and the disappearance of a haunted little girl who acts nothing like a girl. What starts out as a series of random occurrences slowly forms into a solid mystery, and by mystery, I really mean mystery. The novel creeps along at a good pace, and the whole time there lingers the mixing tastes of a crime novel, a psychological thriller, and speculative fiction. I think for a novel to be a true "mystery" requires more than just a who-dunnit crime, or a highly intelligent detective; for a story to be a mystery, a writer must challenge his readers to uncover the state of reality, how horrific of a world the characters involved must live in. The world Marshall commits his novel to keeps the reader's attention by slowly unveiling possibilities that seem extra planar, or supernatural. Then, by diminishing his audience's reason, Marshall allows for a wide open thriller that presses on in relentless horror.

At times violent, touching, and just plain creepy, The Intruders is the kind of novel that causes your brain to twitch in confusing glee. A must read for fans of subtlety in general, though anyone who enjoys a good dark mystery will find what he or she is looking for here.
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on August 31, 2010
I read Marshall's Straw Men a few years ago, as well as its sequel, Upright Men, and I found them both to be filled with interesting ideas that went absolutely nowhere. And yet, everyone seemed to be seeing something I didn't, so I decided to give him one more shot with something away from the Straw Men universe. And I have to say, I'm glad I did. Describing the plot of The Intruders is a tricky affair - suffice to say it involves a young girl who runs away, acting strangely out of character, while another man tracks his missing wife and begins to discover that his life and marriage may not be what they've seemed. It's a complex story, and Marshall does a great job interweaving the various threads, building tension nicely and pacing the mystery better than he did in Straw Men (which blew its load in a massive exposition dump halfway through the book). The explanation, when it finally comes out, manages to explain a lot while leaving a lot of intriguing threads dangling in a nicely mysterious way, and the book's final ending is a perfect little touch. I've got a couple of niggling grumbles about the ending, which doesn't make quite as much sense as Marshall thinks it does, but the book leaves a really nicely creepy mood behind as well as some interesting ideas. It's a really solid, intriguing little thriller, and it makes me curious to see if it's a fluke or a sign of Marshall's development.
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on April 22, 2008
One doesn't know what is coming, or whether the author does either, but it's fun
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on March 14, 2008
I didn't like it AS much as some of the other books from Marshall (loved Spares, Only Forward and One Of Us), but still a darn good read. Really hated to see the protagonist slipping in thoughts of not having another book in him, hope that's not allegorical!

I do have a suggestion; if you're a "happy" person and like to read "happy happy" books, Michael Marshall is probably NOT for you. His characters/story lines are dark, the segues can be hard to keep up with, and you'll probably have to read the book at least twice to pick up on nuances you missed.

The Intruders is no different in this regard, but that's why its so much fun to read! If you like to be mentally twisted up in a book, Marshall's writing will accomodate you. He often comes across as being a great deal more about the sidebars/interactions/thoughts/situations than his actual endings.

So, if you are looking for black and white/easy reads, he(and this book) is probably not going to be your cup of tea.

This is coming from someone who likes both, so not slamming one genre over another. However, from reading a few of the reviews it seems like it might be good to say this upfront.
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on August 11, 2013
A really interesting story with a touch of supernatural elements. Leaves you thinking whether what Marshall presents as his hypothesis for the book cannot actually be the truth.
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on November 15, 2010
This is my first read from this author. Based on other reviews, it looks like I should have started with another of his titles.

All in all I didn't really enjoy the book. Why? Well, many reasons.......

First off, the book constantly changes perspective. That in itself need not have been a problem, but the author spoils things by having the central character written in the first person. It is really odd reading first person text, and then the thoughts and ideas of other characters written in the third-person. Actually I'm being kind, it was in fact VERY ANNOYING.

Secondly, the author goes on and on about the locations in Seattle. On and on and on. This street intersects with that street, which travels down to the water, and intersects with another street... blah blah blah.

Thirdly, while the central plot is interesting enough, it's not fully developed. yet the book runs at almost 500 pages. 500 pages of a book, but they plot feels tacked on the end. And even then it's not dealt with with any finality.

Which brings me to me fourth complaint. This book reads like a screenplay for a episode of Lost, or The Event. You know the idea - throw in a lot of "events" that don't seem to add up to anything.... and then in a final episode try to tie it all up...... Which doesn't make a very interesting novel.......

The writing is good at times. The interior monologues contain some interesting stuff. However, it pretty much failed for me overall. The books needs an edit, and the writer needs to investigate his central premise (which was interesting enough) rather than trying to confuse everyone all the time.

My last complaint were all the tributes printed all over the covers.... really, does anyone believe them?
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on June 4, 2013
If you are a lover of supernatural thrillers, you will enjoy this book. Filled with mystery, action, suspense, and a good storyline, The Intruders by Michael Marshall will entertain you; though it is not a keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller, it will keep you wondering how everything will work out.

The main character, Jack Whalen, is an ex-cop who becomes involved in puzzling out what is happening to his wife. At first, he does not believe in bizarre explanations, looking for a connections and probable causes. Mr. Marshall skillfully describes Jack Whalen's decent into the improbable. In the end, will you believer in the intruders?
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on April 1, 2012
There is a lot to like in this book. He has a great writing style and as always in his work there is a very intriguing premise that really compels you to keep reading. The action scenes are handled well, the dialogue is realistic and people generally behave in ways that you would expect them to.

But like many of his books the story tends to decline towards the end and never really lives up to the premise. The hero is perhaps a little too similar to the heroes of his other books and some of his thoughts and speech sometimes seem to be exactly the same. It was also a little contrived as well especially at the end.

Despite the flaws I still enjoyed reading it and it was far better than most other thrillers.
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on January 8, 2013
This is a good, solid supernatural suspense thriller that was written before an avalanche of the genre hit the market. The operating premise is an excellent one---a bunch of dead people come back and inhabit the bodies of the living. Its weird and creepy but leads to some exciting and suspenseful moments. The last action sequence is a bit long, but overall this a a good book to curl up with by the fire on a snowy night.
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