Review: Michael Marshall – We Are Here

we-are-here-by-michael-marshallMichael Marshall is a favourite writer of mine. I’ve been reading him for years, both under this name and the sci-fi novels written as Michael Marshall Smith. His books have become increasingly popular and his latest one, We Are Here, was published in March in the UK. Marshall’s books are difficult to slot neatly into a genre. I suppose that they’re a mixture of thriller and supernatural malignity, but what makes them so enjoyable is that they’re fast paced reads that engage the reader’s imagination.

David is an author who is about to publish his first book. On a trip to see his publisher with his wife Dawn, a man bumps into him and tells him to ‘Remember me’. In a parallel narrative ex-lawyer John, who is now working in a restaurant, agrees to help a friend of his girlfriend Kristina who thinks she is being stalked. But his attempts to discover what is wrong leads him to disappearing stalkers, strange messages that appear in their apartment and the discovery of a world that remains hidden from ordinary people.

This is a difficult book to sum up without giving away too much of the plot. There is a strong sense of menace throughout the book as David and John separately attempt to discover what is behind the strange happenings. Their partners play a less proactive role in the action but the women are the target for malevolence which can make it quite a scary read. It can, occasionally, be difficult to distinguish between the two couples because, although they are at different stages of their life, the male characters in particular have similar personalities.

The pace, as I would expect from a Marshall book, is excellent with heart stopping chapter endings which makes it difficult to put down. The sense of ‘otherness’ that the author does so well is given a twist in this book, mainly I suppose to distinguish it from The Straw Men trilogy. There’s an interesting character in the priest, Father Jeffers, who brings a realism to what could be an overly fantastical concept. I know religion in crime fiction isn’t to everyone’s taste but I liked it here.

We Are Here is book that will satisfy all  Michael Marshall’s fans and hopefully appeal to those new to his books. They are always a good read and this one engages you to the typically catastrophic conclusion.

Thanks to Midas for my copy of the book. The author’s website is here.

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24 thoughts on “Review: Michael Marshall – We Are Here

  1. Sarah – Interesting… I’m not usually one to reach for a supernatural kind of thriller or a sci-fi thriller, but this one does sound intriguing. And when they’re done well, parallel narratives can be every effective. Maybe I’ll give this one a go.

  2. Sarah, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I was previously a fan of both MS and MMS, but I didn’t enjoy a couple in the late noughties, so stopped reading him. I think it was The Intruders I didn’t like. TBH – I don’t think I’ll revisit him.

      • Hmmm….I’m too easily open to being persuaded.
        I think maybe he just hit a bit of a dip as far as I was concerned, but a couple of average-ish books probably isn’t grounds for me writing him off forever, particularly when I’d enjoyed the previous 6 or 7.
        I’ll put it on my maybe pile!

  3. I won a copy of this in a giveaway and had no previous knowledge of the writer’s work. I really enjoyed it, but I definitely felt the menace..at one point I had to put it away until daytime as in my very quiet house at night I felt the hairs on my neck stand up…

    • Hi June. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I know what you mean by the hairs on the back of your neck. I hope you’ll read more of Marshall’s work which is very enjoyable.

  4. Oooh, I am really in the mood for reading books with a hint of the supernatural at the moment. I’ve never heard of this author under either of his names. This one sounds very interesting.

    • If you’re in the mood for the supernatural I think any of the books written under either name will work for you. I actually like the MMS books a lot but they are more sci-fi. Can I also recommend F G Cottam who writes very good supernatural thrillers too.

  5. I have never heard of this author under either name. Sounds very interesting. I will definitely look into his books. I sometimes like sci-fi but usually not paranormal, but I won’t know with these unless I give one of them a try.

  6. Great, another new author!!! I read several supernatural mysteries last year as my “seventh continent” in the Global Reading Challenge. It will be good to read more.

  7. My ex was a real fan of the MMS books and I read a couple…did enjoy them I think. But I’m not really one for supernatural things. Still I’ll put this one in my revisit list for the second half of this year. My schedule up until about the end of June is pretty heavily booked with ARCs and judging panel books and what not 🙂

  8. Pingback: The Best of April’s Reading | crimepieces

  9. Did you notice that we met John and Kris in one of his previous novels, Bad Things? John makes a couple of references to that story too (like the kid that died). We Are Here can be seen as the sequel to that book. 😉

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