The Intruders | Louise Jensen

Author Louise Jensen with her new book The Intruders that we review


Oh. My. Word. I’m not even sure I can say I enjoyed The Intruders, as I felt continually terrified while reading it. It is blisteringly good, opening with incredible drama that immediately grips the reader; I had to give myself breaks from reading for my heart rate to slow down.

What works so brilliantly is the setting. I’m used to Louise Jensen creating compelling, twisty plots that are a real rollercoaster of a read, brimming with hooks and cliffhangers. The Intruders has all those elements, but it also has a setting that drives the narrative and is every bit as important as plot and character.

There are aspects in the creation of Newington House that made me think of Daphne du Maurier, of Shakespeare and of Edgar Allen Poe – and yet they are uniquely Louise Jensen too. I found the events and descriptions there cinematic, creepy and very unnerving. The appeal to the senses is interwoven with such dexterity, it feels as if we’re actually present in the house.

The Intruders: Book review & Synopsis

The plot races along, and with a theme of nature and nurture – along with the concept of family – the structure of events reminded me of linked strands of DNA; past and present binding the two aspects together.

The characterisation is so interesting, too. The developing relationship between Cass and James feels as if it is imbued with danger, and carefully placed references to red imagery add to this threatening sensation. Their pasts are gradually revealed, and the exploration through them of how we become who we are is both riveting and disquieting.

The end of the novel is not only as dramatic as the opening, but it brings into question every belief we’ve held, both in this story and in the universal concept of right and wrong. Louise Jensen truly makes her readers think.

Creepy, compelling and utterly convincing, this is Jensen at her very best. I loved The Intruders and urge you not to miss it, but be prepared to feel unsettled and often afraid. Not for the faint-hearted, this is fast-paced, terrifying and absolutely brilliant.

The Intruders by Louise Jensen is out on April 11, 2024 (HQ, PB, £9.99) and available from Amazon.

Read more fiction reviews by Linda Hill including A Lesson In Cruelty by Harriet Tyce, Every Move You Make by C.L. Taylor, Every Smile You Fake by Dorothy Koomson, The Happiest Ever After by Milly Johnson and The Memory of Us by Dani Atkins.