The Intruder by P. S. Hogan reviewed

The Intruder Book Cover The Intruder
P. S. Hogan
Random House
February 1, 2018

He has the key to hundreds of houses.
Maybe even to yours.

A gripping, sinister, deeply unsettling novel from the most sociopathic narrator of 2018. Meet Mr Heming...

William Heming is an estate agent. He’s kept a copy of every key to every house he’s ever sold. Sometimes he visits them. He lets himself in when the owners are out. But what will happen if he gets caught?

What will he do next?

I liked the first chapter of The Intruder by P S Hogan. Heming, the estate agent, came over as an interesting character in this first person story. He is a local estate agent and has made copies of the keys of all the houses he has sold. He revisits those houses when he feels like it. It is obvious that there is more to this story than meets the eye. However the basic premise really appealed to me. It is clear from the start that this is neither voyeurism nor sexual.

The book time switches between the present and earlier events in Heming’s life. The back story here and its gradual reveal did have some tension/edginess to it for me. At the back of my mind was often the question “I wonder what will be revealed next?”. In general the writing has a very “matter of fact” style to it and I didn’t find that this created any tension in the story generally. Around halfway through this does change – “matter of fact” becomes facts of the matter. This change in tempo and story did make for a better read as far as I was concerned.

I felt that the real edginess that there could have been didn’t come through all that well.
Heming was mostly unlikeable to me however he was interesting. He is a strange and damaged character but that worked ok for me. I guess he was credible as that rather strange character.

I think a problem I have with this book is the publisher’s “extra” on the title. I have real doubts this will be “the creepiest, most sinister thriller” I’ll read this year. For the most part it didn’t seem particularly creepy. I guess it was sinister at times. If I were to judge this book solely on this extra I’d probably feel a little disappointed. That would be a pity because this is not a bad story and very easily readable.

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review