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WE ARE HERE by Michael Marshall

WE ARE HERE

By Michael Marshall

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-316-25257-7
Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

In this thriller by Marshall (Killer Move, 2011, etc.), people are being stalked on the streets of New York but not in the usual fashion. The stalkers are part of a strange underworld of rejected "shadow people" who disappear as suddenly as they appear.

First-person narrator John Henderson, a former lawyer now working in a restaurant, discovers that the shadow people are not easy to tail. He has been asked to determine who is stalking his girlfriend Kristina's friend Catherine. In a parallel plot, told in the third person, small-town teacher David is bumped by a stranger in Penn Station and insinuatingly told, "Remember me." David, who has come to New York with his wife, Dawn, for meetings about the publication of his first book, can't shake the stranger or the strange feeling that he knows him. Soon enough, David becomes embroiled with members of the underworld, who are named for their designated roles: Cornerman, Fingerman, etc. Kristina is followed, traumatic events from John's past are alluded to, and a significant pregnancy points to the future. Is this book a ghost story? A Stephen King–style shocker? An allegory about the neglected underclass? Marshall takes so long to reveal the most basic details, and his writing can be so obtuse, readers may lose interest by the time they find their footing. But in the final third, Marshall puts the pieces together to unsettling effect. It helps that John and Kristina, who share an East Village apartment, are such a winning duo.

Though laborious at times, Marshall's novel rewards the reader's patience with its edgy storytelling and ambition.