Leading off Whodunit? this month is a book that is not strictly a whodunit: Michael Marshall's devilishly clever The Intruders. It starts out normally enough: Jack Whalen, a best-selling author, faces writer's block after the success of his first book. He is an ex-cop, a man who left the force under a cloud: no conviction, but clearly no exoneration either. Nowadays he stares out the window and chain-smokes, awaiting the glimmer of an idea for his next book. Then, out of the blue, he receives a call from an old friend, someone he hasn't seen since high school. The man offers just enough information to drag Jack out of his self-imposed retirement to investigate strange goings-on with regard to a billionaire's will. So far, well within the boundaries of a whodunit, right? Then things get weird, and weirder still, with far-out tales of body-snatchers and mind control; what's a pragmatic ex-cop to believe? For fans of Stephen King as well as those of, say, Robert Crais, The Intruders is a tautly crafted page-turner of the first order.

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