Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Magpies by Mark Edwards

Reviewer: Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit & Crimson Shore (

What we thought: This is a spooky house novel with a sinister theme. When young couple, Jamie and Kirsty, move into the flat of their dreams, it’s a perfect start to their life together. Even the neighbours seem nice and welcoming. But then there’s a gradual change in atmosphere. Dead rats on the doormat. Downstairs neighbours who dislike noise. And within months things take a sinister twist, and Jamie and Kirsty find themselves in real danger.

This is the first book I’ve read by Mark Edwards and I was impressed on many levels. He has a talent of twisting the dial, so that tension and fear levels are ratcheted up just a little at a time without you even noticing. As the drama increased, Edwards handled the breakdown of the main characters very well. It was almost painful to see the destruction of their relationship, and you read every page with mounting dread, almost unwilling to find out what happened next ... but unable to stop reading.

I also thought the characters worked really well. Jamie and Kirsty were solid, real, if a little unremarkable, as lead roles. And I liked how the supporting cast were given just enough peculiarities to always stay in the reader’s mind as potential suspects.

Often in psychological dramas, I find the ending something of a disappointment, almost as if the author has run out of ideas and steam once the climax is over. Here, all the loose ends and potential questions were answered, and I ended the book satisfied with the conclusion.

I really enjoyed this book. An interesting twist on a well documented storyline. Definitely one I’d recommend if you like tense thrillers.

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Mark Billingham, Ian McEwan, Stephen King.

Avoid if you don’t like: Creepy neighbours, night time scares, intense drama.

Ideal accompaniments: Comfort food (chips or chocolate) and lots of vodka to settle your nerves

Genre: Thriller.

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