Initially, L. J. Hurst worked in the backrooms of the media industry. He now divides his time between work for an international scientific publisher and a rather more British independent bookseller. In years past he was a regular attendee at the Shots on the Page Festivals from whence Shots Mag sprung
THE INTRUSIONS is the third in Stav Sherez’s Carrigan and Miller series.
Carrigan and Miller are detectives in the Metropolitan Police, nominally part of a team, but each suffering their own demons and frequently having to work independently. In Carrigans’s case he is carrying the extra weight from an earlier case, described in the previous ELEVEN DAYS, in which he used some extra-judicial investigations in order to discover the truth; for which an unattractive superior is hounding him now using the cover of an internal complaint. This persecution looks as if it will raise its head again very soon, and in a much worse way.
What are the “intrusions” of the title? In one immediate sense it is the girl who bursts into the police station saying that her friend has been kidnapped. Miller begins to investigate the grotty clubs and back alleys of London where the girls went in search of a good time. When a dead body is discovered, drained of blood, but on a floor absent of blood - Carrigan becomes involved. When the two detectives realise that the missing girl and the murder victim are one and the same they realise they have a case of horrifying complexity, and previous victims.
The victims are young women, world travellers passing through London, living in cheap hostels to keep their costs down, but still with sometimes expensive tastes in drink [and probably in drugs]; the part-time unskilled work they take cannot keep them. Carrigan and Miller begin to visit the hostels, clubs and job agencies; wondering why a murder victim would have smashed laptops piled in her wardrobe until their IT experts put them onto the horrific effects of internet trolls, stalkers and intruders. Intruders these days do not enter a hostel room through the door or the transom; they might be there permanently in the little camera eye of a tablet or laptop. Their view is another of the “intrusions”.
A computer stalker, though virtual is still an intruder. Carrigan and Miller know that their killer must be physical as well as digital; someone who can handle a knife, drain blood, clean up a crime scene. It is someone who has been where the victim has been, and given that the victim and potential victims are world travellers, the killer must also be a traveller. A group photograph of a Pacific beach in which the victim appears, and from which another girl is now missing suggest that something must link these girls together. Carrigan and Miller find only more death as they research.
By chance, THE INTRUSIONS arrived within a week of Chris Carter’s THE CALLER, and although set thousands of miles apart they share a common motive and revelation when the case is ultimately solved. Stav Sherez, though, adds a little tweak: his killer’s motive is probably twisted and there is another previously unsuspected death in the background, too. Chris Carter’s Los Angeles seems clean and his characters bathed, yet THE INTRUSIONS, set in a London that is mostly horrible, in which the police are constantly stumbling and sliding on something horrendous on the ground, and stepping in something worse, sending them sideways in their investigation.