Author: P S Hogan
Rating: 2 Stars
Dates read: 28 Jan 18 – 04 Feb 18
Publication date: 01 Feb 18 (digital) 31 May 18 (paperback)
Publisher: Transworld Digital/Black Swan
William Heming is an estate agent. He’s kept a copy of every key to every house he’s ever sold. Sometimes he visits them. He lets himself in when the owners are out. But what will happen if he gets caught?
What will he do next?
I received an e-ARC of this book courtesy of Black Swan and Net Galley in return for a fair and honest review. (I also bought the paperback version of the book post-release.)
I received a copy of this novel through Netgalley and was immediately excited. I really loved a good thriller, especially one that focuses on a new and interesting concept. For me, that’s exactly what The Intruder was offering. I’ve never read a book that tapped into a trusting world and relationships such as that of Estate Agent and client before, and I thought that the idea of someone having a copy of every single key to every house he has ever sold was equal parts creepy, intriguing, and potentially entertaining.
William Heming is a secretive and unusual protagonist, and it becomes clear very early on that he is going to be the negative influence throughout the narrative. Heming is a creepy, quiet guy who uses his position as an estate agent to gain the trust of his victims. He waits, sometimes days, weeks, months, even years, and then invades their personal, delves through their intimate things, and ultimately has an unknown level of control over the lives of others, the degree too which becomes more and more evident as the plot unravels.
The start of the book is gripping. The true depths of the depravity of Heming develops slowly through glimpses into his past and through windows into his present day routine; both the public persona and the hidden agendas. The start of the books carries so much promise, and although it’s not ‘enjoyable’ (the level of creepiness and uncertainty that the premise creates in everyday life is unsettling) it’s certainly engaging.
And then, suddenly, it’s not. The book just completely falls away about 20% through. The narrative begins to unravel and make less and less sense to such a degree that the main plot twist half way through disappears within the mundane. More accomplished writers might say there is a level of intent to this, but I couldn’t help but feel like it was sloppy writing. The side characters merge into one in a way, for me, that prevented me from following clearly who was who and who had done what, a big problem later in the book.
The Intruder is also written in first person. I am not a fan of first person fiction on the whole, but I do admit that in this sub-genre fiction there is a place for viewing the story through the eyes of the protagonist. It adds a certain level of unsettling knowing, and it carries the plot through the main points of the story. In this, first person perspective grated on me from start to finish and added very little to the story, detracting from knowing the other characters well enough to follow their relevance, and acting as a jumpy story telling medium. Yes, Heming is the archetypal unreliable narrator, but this is poorly executed by Hogan.
At the end of the day, there is nothing else to say other than I really didn’t enjoy it and wouldn’t recommend it. I have read similar fiction that I felt was well done, and for me, this was poorly executed.