We Are Here by Michael Marshall (Mulholland, Feb. 25th, 2013)-New York City is a seething and vibrant mass of humanity, and in the shadows, those that are unseen lurk. However, they’re tired of being invisible, and the time has come to do something about that. This is the basis for WE ARE HERE. The book primarily follows John Henderson and his live-in girlfriend, Kristina, and new author David, and his wife Dawn. If you’re familiar with Michael Marshall’s previous work, you’ll recognize John from 2009’s BAD THINGS. John has a bit of a past, and is still reeling from the death of his young son, and his subsequent divorce from his wife and estrangement from his other son. However, he’s happy with Kristina and although it’s clear that they could use some new surroundings, things are good. When Kristina asks John to look into something for her new friend Catherine, the structure of their lives begins to waver. Catherine believes someone is stalking her, and it soon becomes apparent that something untoward is happening. Is it someone from her past? A scorned lover, or a stranger? As John and Kristina investigate, they discover a group of people living on the fringes, or so they think, but they seem like so much more than just forgotten people. They are indeed more, and a man called Reinhart is intent on exploiting them, but to what end?
If it seems as if I’m being vague, there’s a reason for that. I don’t want to give too much away because to do that would be to spoil what makes this novel such a good read. Michael Marshall is a pro at weaving the fantastic with the mundane, and We Are Here is no exception. It’s hard not to get invested with John and Kristina, and by the time you get to the final revelations, you’re thoroughly entrenched in their lives, as well as the lives of David, Dawn, and even the “others.” In fact, the “others” are just as vivid as the main characters, and indeed, Michael Marshall could write an entire book, or books, just about them, easily. Although We Are Here is certainly an effective suspense novel, it’s also about how our lives intersect in myriad ways, on a daily basis, even if we’re not quite aware of these encounters and their consequences. There’s also a bit of observation about how social media has separated us while seeming to bring us closer. Marshall is also very, very good at ramping up the creep factor and although We Are Here is a slow burn infused with creeping dread, the payoff (at least for me) was very worth it. If you haven’t tried anything by Michael Marshall, but enjoy John Connolly’s work, and subtly creepy reads, I urge you to give this one a try.