The second sentence of “Those Who Trespass” describes Ron Costello, a correspondent for Global News Network, on assignment in Martha’s Vineyard and struggling with a “basic human need, the need for some kind of physical release.” Costello spots a pretty camerawoman at a party, happily notes that she’s had too much vodka, and approaches her with “intense sexual hunger.” Costello is “universally loathed” at his network, O’Reilly writes, but Costello doesn’t mind: “His energy was directed toward getting as much as he could of what he wanted.
As Nicholas Lemann noted in a piece about O’Reilly, from 2006, for this magazine, the feud between Michaels and Costello in “Those Who Trespass” is based on O’Reilly’s experience at CBS, in the eighties, during the Falkland Islands War.
He is blacklisted from the network, and spends the next decade plotting his revenge.
Over the course of the investigation, she becomes attracted to both O’Malley and Michaels; when she sleeps with Michaels, she silently marvels at “Shannon’s stamina.” On the whole, “Those Who Trespass” is a not a bad potboiler: a love triangle between a detective, a killer, and a journalist; a cat-and-mouse game through a series of four murders, culminating in a large explosion.
In one scene from the novel, a psychologist surmises that Michaels’s career was the source of “his feelings of omnipotence and grandiosity.” He continues, “Because Michaels was a success on television, it reinforced his opinion that he was a very special human being.