I can’t remember the last time I read a book as genuinely twisty-turny and as gripping as The Intrusions by Stav Sherez.
It’s the third novel in the crime fighting adventures of Detectives Jack Carrigan and Geneva Miller but don’t let that put you off. Yes this book references events from the previous books, specifically an internal investigation into whether Carrigan broke the law when investigating a case involving the Catholic Church, but Sherez – with much skill and only a smidgen of exposition – contextualizes everything so you never feel out of the loop.
The crime that’s front and centre at first has a familiar serial killer vibe until it becomes an episode of Black Mirror (“Shut up and Dance” if you want specifics). It’s a generalisation to say that novels, TV and films that deal with the internet, social media and throw around insidious terms like The Dark Web and Ratting paint the new digital age as the coming of the anti-christ. And while hacking is an actual thing, and while – as recently illustrated – other countries can manipulate the elections of first world countries without ever leaving home, rather than panic and forecast doom Sherez treats this as the new reality.
The Intrusions, for all its brilliant pacing and wonderful character work – I do love Miller and Carrigan – is one of the more mature novels I’ve read about the current digital age. It’s dangers, its undermining of people’s privacy and the murky ground that law enforcement finds itself in as it battles these issues. It’s not a positive portrayal, but it’s also not ill-informed or sensationalist. The book is worth reading just for that.