Monday, September 1, 2014

Intruders by Michael Marshall

Longtime followers will know by now that I've got a pretty big BBC addiction going. I guess I'm actually an official Anglophile, all things considered. Anyway, as a fairly longtime reader of Michael Marshall Smith's work I was really excited to see that one of his books was getting the small screen treatment! And it was one that I hadn't yet read.

Intruders, starring John Simm and Mira Sorvino, premiered Saturday, August 23, just after the new Doctor Who and I was determined to read the book first. I did succeed in part, reading enough to get me beyond the storyline of that first episode before tuning in. But I have to say this, the newest trailer for the show included a pretty big spoiler for readers, in my opinion.

I won't tell you what it is because if your curiosity is piqued and you'd like to read the book first you'll discover that part of the magic in Marshall's storytelling is the mystery surrounding what's really happening in the story.

Jack Whalen is surprised when an old schoolmate shows up on his doorstep asking for help. Jack, an ex-cop, feels the man's excuse for dropping by is fairly thin - a woman and her son murdered in Seattle and a connection to an estate being settled. It seems clear to Jack that the husband did it, so he shares his opinion and sends his old peer on his way. Before he can ponder over the visit any further, Jack becomes aware that something strange is going on with is wife. In an attempt to find out more, he follows her trail to Seattle and soon becomes part of an investigation that seems to tie directly into the murders. But things are more bizarre than Jack could ever imagine and while he searches for answers a little girl who's not quite what she seems is making her own way to the city, leaving a trail of bodies in her wake. 

I finished reading this one just before the second episode aired and it's really difficult not to compare the two. On the one hand I did love the fact that the real plot is kept closely hidden up until the end of the book. On the other hand the end plays out so quickly that I rather like the fact that the show is leaving more hints along the way.

In the grand scheme of Michael Marshall Smith's work I don't think The Intruders is going down as my favorite. It's maybe middle of the road in that it was fun and it was definitely compelling but the end didn't live up to my expectations based on the build of the story itself or the author's other works. I can't say yet whether I'll actually end up preferring the book or the show since there are still more episodes to come, but so far I think I'm finding the show just a bit more satisfying. Unusual to be sure.

Rating: 3/5

(Michael Marshall Smith writes under both that name and Michael Marshall. The Intruders was pubbed under Michael Marshall.)

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