Book recommendation: The Straw Men

Earlier in the summer, I started watching Intruders on BBC America.  It immediately hooked me because (1) Glen Morgan, from The X-Files, is a writer/executive producer on the show, and (2) it was weird.  Like, really weird – I had no idea what was going on for quite awhile.  It was also genuinely creepy – not in the kind of way where something jumps out at you, but an uneasy creepiness that stays with you and pops into your head at 2 a.m.

Anyway, I found out it was based on a book by the same title by a man named Michael Marshall Smith, who also writes as Michael Marshall.  I decided to try this author out by reading The Straw Men.  That was a good decision on my part.

How do I even explain what this book is about?  There are basically two simultaneous primary plotlines:  one follows an FBI agent and a former cop as they try to track down a serial killer whose made his first abduction in years.  The other follows an ex-CIA agent whose parents died suddenly and under mysterious circumstances.  Amazon labels The Straw Men as a thriller, in the categories of “serial killers” and “conspiracies.”  It’s so much more than that.  Like Intruders, there is a subplot lurking under each of the main storylines that just makes you feel uneasy.  When everything comes together at the end, it’s wonderful.  More than that, I was impressed at the depth of the characters.  I love psychological thrillers and crime dramas, but let’s be honest – characters tend to be somewhat cliched and often fairly shallow.  This book was different.  By the end of it, I wanted to know what happened next in the plot, but I also just wanted to keep following these characters around.

Luckily, Mr. Marshall wrote two more books in the Straw Men series, so that will be my next endeavor.

If you’re interested, you can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Straw-Men-Michael-Marshall/dp/0515134279.  Highly recommend.

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