Keith Miles is probably best recognised by readers under the pen name of Edward Marston. He writes several well-received historical mysteries spanning the 11th century through to the 19th century. His website is www.edwardmarston.com
Michael Marshall Smith is an award-winning author of sci-fi novels striped with horror. When he shortened his name to write The Straw Men, he produced a novel that was closer to mainstream crime fiction. Set in Pennsylvania, it opened with mass-murder in a fast-food restaurant.
We Are Here, written in the same vein, begins with a man being deliberately burned alive in a cheap motel. This prologue contains motifs that will recur time and again throughout the book.
David is a young author who finally gets a publisher and who travels to New York with his wife to seal the deal. His mood is euphoric until an encounter at Penn Station changes everything. A man who seems accidentally to bump into him, follows David and, as he is about to board the train, whispers two words – “Remember me.” David is even more unsettled when the man turns up again to make strange and startling demands that simply have to be obeyed.
In a parallel story, John Henderson, an ex-lawyer in NYC, is persuaded by his girlfriend to help a woman who believes she’s being stalked by a former-lover. When he follows the stalker, John unwittingly opens a Pandora’s box of ills and chills. Like David, he becomes uncomfortably aware of the forgotten, the shadow people who watch and wait for the moment to strike, to haunt, to bewilder and to terrorise.
Cleverly plotted and with gathering momentum, We Are Here is a horror story that creeps up stealthily on the reader before releasing its full impact. It’s not for the faint-hearted but is infinitely rewarding for those with stronger stomachs.