Monday, February 27, 2017

Review of The Intrusions by Shav Sherez (Faber & Faber, 2017)

DI Carrigan has taken to munching pills to keep his demons in check – his mother is in a coma and having crossed the Assistant Chief Constable six months previously he’s under criminal investigation for misconduct.  When DS Miller comes to him about the possible abduction of a backpacker, he dismisses the concern.  Miller, however, is convinced that there has been foul-play, which is soon confirmed by the discovery of a body.  Anna, an aspiring German actress, disappeared from an alley behind a bar after her drink was spiked.  Her Australian friend, Madison, was also drugged but made it back to the Bayswater hostel they were both staying at.  The killing has all the hallmarks of a serial killing given the two women were initially stalked and the ritual nature of the murder.  As Carrigan and Miller slowly scrape together and pursue clues they discover an online world of hacking and psychological torture and control.  Convinced that the killer will claim another victim, and aware that Carrigan could be removed from the case at any minute, they struggle to make headway both online and in the real-world. 

The Instrusions is the third novel in the Carrigan and Miller series.  Unlike the first two, which had strong political foci, this outing is a more straightforward police procedural tale that pits the wits of the two main protagonists against a serial killer preying on female backpackers and also their bosses.  At first it seems that Sherez has strayed from the political edginess that set the series apart into typical crime fiction cliché territory.  However, the novelty in the tale is the contemporary nature of how the killer stalks and intimidates his victims through the internet, initially without them even realising their lives have been captured, and then ensnares them in a nightmare world of psychotropic drugs that lengthens time and heightens awareness of their suffering.  Sherez uses this scenario to great effect, creating a high-tension, psychological drama that has the reader sitting on the edge of their seat.  The result is shocking, gripping, and scares as much for the tale as the possibilities for how such stalking could affect the reader in real-life.  While there are a couple of twists, the storyline got a little linear towards the end I felt, and while tense the tale ended quite quickly.  Nonetheless, The Intrusions is another strong addition to what is becoming one of my favourite series.

1 comment:

Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

A book I'm very much looking forward to.