When I started reading The Intruders the first thing that struck me was the writing. Michael Marshall is talented and this book, his second, is one of the best books I have ever read. Not one of the best books I’ve read this year or in the past five; I mean ever. The writing is tight, and yet it flows so smoothly, giving you the picture perfectly. His characters are beyond three-dimensional, they are breathing. I took long lunches all week because I literally could not put this book down.
Jack Whalen is an ex-cop living in an idyllic little town with his wife Amy in Washington state. He seems lost right from the start, wondering if maybe he has it in him to be or do more. He had a book published almost a year ago and has been working on a new one except that there isn’t a new one. Then an old high school acquaintance, Gary Fisher, shows up out of the blue and confronts Jack with the story of two people who were murdered.
Gary is convinced that Jack can help him solve the mystery of what happened. Although Jack refuses to help him at first it becomes apparent that recent events in his personal life are somehow, in some inexplicable way, tied to these murders. His wife goes on a business trip and disappears only to resurface a few days later as if nothing has changed. Once again Gary approaches Jack with evidence that his wife is tied to the murders and Jack agrees to look into it.
Then Madison, a nine year old, girl goes missing from under her not-so-attentive mother‘s nose. She has blackouts and cannot remember how she came to be in a place all alone and so far away from the beach house she last remembered. It is as if something or someone inside of her is directing her, moving her forward toward a destination she knows nothing about.