Michael 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.