Written by Stav Sherez — Madison Carter is in hysterics in the Bayswater police station as she reports the abduction of her friend Anna Becker. Initially, DS Geneva Miller isn’t sure whether to believe her. Madison is rambling and clearly on narcotics, but something Madison says piques Miller’s interest – that the man who took Becker said he would return to ‘claim’ Madison too. She also says the same man spiked her and Anna’s drinks three days prior. Madison and Anna are backpackers, currently staying in a local hostel.
Miller’s partner DI Jack Carrigan isn’t inclined to believe the strange story… though that could be down to their his current workload. He has plenty of issues distracting him, including an audit and internal investigation into his conduct during a previous case. However, Miller persuades him because she thinks Madison might have been murdered. Too tired to argue, Carrigan agrees.
She’s right. The next day a corpse is found in an abandoned house, laid out in a specific manner, her blood seemingly coating every surface. It is the missing Anna. Investigation at the scene shows an area where Anna’s blood did not hit – in the shape of a person. The detectives conclude someone cut her jugular and stood naked in the spray before dressing Anna in clean clothes.
Carrigan and Miller head to the hostel and check out the room Anna and Madison were staying in. They find Anna’s passport – her photo has been neatly clipped out. The killer has taken a trophy. In the alley Anna was abducted from, the pair find a vial which they suspect held the substance used to dope the women. Analysis finds it to be a cocktail of drugs which would have a significant and long-lasting mental impact on whoever ingested it.
Anna was working long hours as a cleaner to pay for her stay in the UK, and had many clients. But she quit two weeks before her death, apparently because her mental state began to decline. As Carrigan and Miller dig further they find a wave of online abuse targeted at Anna. Digitally stalked and hacked, she wasn’t alone in her suffering. Carrigan and Miller expect the killer will strike again, and soon…
Third in the Carrigan and Miller series, the Intrusions is a good crime read. Geneva Miller, stands head and shoulders above the other characters, taking ‘damaged’ to a new level. Drink and drugs imbue her life, she is constantly on the edge, but she’s also a brilliant detective and it is her intuition that takes the case forward in leaps and bounds.
Carrigan, in comparison, plays it straight (though he will bend the rules to catch the perpetrator). He too is on the edge, but in a different way. Internal affairs are all over him and a psychiatrist brought in to help on the case previously had an affair with Carrigan’s wife. It all makes for fascinating background and colour.
Another strong point is that Stav Sherez manages to deliver a compelling story about a serial killer without so much melodrama and gore. It is hard hitting without being over the top. London itself is a key backdrop and the online abuse angle is something a little different too. All in all, a good read and a series novel that works perfectly well as a standalone.
Faber & Faber
CFL Rating: 4 Stars