The Magpies Paperback – November 26, 2013
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'Mark Edwards achieves what other writers yearn for, by creating characters that genuinely feel like real people, individuals you know personally–and then puts them into the scariest of situations so that we cannot help but suffer with them. Edwards takes the places that should feel safe and subverts them, shifting the ground beneath our feet, until we’re left clinging to the book, hoping against hope for a positive conclusion. There’s something deeply unsettling about The Magpies – and that’s exactly as it should be.' —Elizabeth Haynes
'The Magpies is absorbing, claustrophobic and terrifying. Read this book! Then get a top notch alarm system fitted in your house.' —Helen Fitzgerald, author of The Cry
'A spectacularly gripping novel, full of intrigue, mystery, fear and suspense.' —Kim, The Book Worm
'The narrative arc pulls you in and refuses to let you go until you've found out how it ends.' —Lloyd Paige
'You simply need to know what is going to happen next, even if you are shouting at Jamie and Kirsty just to get the hell out of there! I highly recommend this book; it is a thrilling and hugely entertaining read.' —Jonathan Hill
'The Magpies is a cunningly-crafted piece of psychological crime fiction which burrows into the brain with a plentiful supply of ‘what if’ moments that’ll have you concerned about your own closest neighbours.' —Keith B. Walters
About the Author
Mark writes psychological thrillers. He loves stories in which scary things happen to ordinary people and is inspired by writers such as Stephen King, Ira Levin, Ruth Rendell, Ian McEwan, Val McDermid, and Donna Tartt.
Mark is now a full time writer. Before that, he once picked broad beans, answered complaint calls for a rail company, taught English in Japan, and worked as a marketing director.
Mark co-published a series of crime novels with Louise Voss. The Magpies, his first solo, topped the UK Kindle charts for three months when it first released. Since its success, the novel has been re-edited and published by Thomas & Mercer. Mark is now writing his next spine-tingling thriller to be published in late 2014.
He lives in England with his girlfriend, their three children, and a ginger cat.
He can be contacted on
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Soon after moving in, odd things seem to be happening to Jamie and Kirsty. It starts with packages being delivered to them that they didn’t order, the fire department showing up claiming they made a call, and dead rats left on their front porch. Things quickly escalate and the “pranks” escalate. It’s not long before they are in the middle of a war with their neighbors. Jamie is determined to fight back and not let his neighbors scare him off from his perfect apartment, however Jamie doesn’t know just how dangerous his neighbors might be.
Mark Edwards has always written books I’ve loved, and this one was no exception. I have feeling that this review might be shorter than my usual reviews, because I don’t want to give too much away!
What I will say is that this book was unique in the sense that it was a super creepy thriller that relied on no twists and turns in the book. Everything is very straight forward and predictable, however the book still manages to keep the reader in suspense and on the edge of their seat. I really enjoyed that aspect, especially after reading a few books lately that all had lots of twists and turns. It was nice to not be constantly guessing.
Overall, I loved the book and rated it 4/5 stars. I do feel like there were a few minor things that had some loose ends, however in the edition of the book I read, Mark Edwards wrote an Afterword and answered some of the common questions he gets about this book, which happened to be the same questions I had about the loose ends, so that worked for me and I didn’t have any issues with that. The major plot points were wrapped up nicely. I’d definitely recommend The Magpies for fans of Mark Edwards as well as for fans of the thriller genre who are looking for something without any shocking twists that still manages to keep you gripped until the very end!
Top international reviews
For me the characters Chris and Lucy didn’t provide the level of menace and glee expect from a psychopathic duo as they were described at the end. These two characters were lost in the background and I didn’t get any inclination into their lives or pleasure for the abuse I would expect from manipulative minds. We get an understanding what they did and how they achieved this at the end, but was in my opinion too late for any tension and suspense; ending in a flare and abruptly.
To me it seemed Jamie and Kristy were in denial of the extremity of the problem and just let it go. Answering letters from Chris and Lucy in writing seemed like an easy way to avoid confrontation, but is this how people react if their private lives are being recorded onto a CD? Also, if you think someone is creeping around your flat when you are out – why not change the locks?
I expected more tension and suspense and at least the occasion sympathy for Jamie and Kristy. Yes, I did feel sorry for them but at the same time I was not satisfied with their response to the harassment. They let this go on too long, perhaps like the book it was too long for the story.
To me this was more like a unfortunate mundane every day story rather than a gripping psychological thriller.
I felt that the manner in which the book was written was intended more for the older teenager, rather than the more mature readers, particularly the sex interludes which were over descriptive and not the least bit entertaining.
I have read, and enjoyed, a couple of other books by this author, but cannot recommend this one.
This tale follows the lives of Jamie and Kirsty, a couple who have just moved into a new flat.
Everything is going swiftly when they meet their downstairs neighbours, Chris and Lucy Newton.
Having just moved out myself recently, I'm glad to have seemingly sane neighbours.
I really enjoyed this book, and the author makes his characters feel so alive and real based on his own life experiences.
I will be reading more.
The most frightening aspect of this creepy tale is that the evil neighbours are outwardly normal folk . They are in fact successful and popular on the surface with their psychotic urges well hidden.
Their are a couple of points that I found strange: why not confide in the other neighbours and when hard evidence at last presents itself why not use it to convince the police to act. I don't wish to spoil the suspence by adding to these points, but their are a few more issues needing elaboration.
This is however a fast flowing, gripping thriller from first to last page which I read in two sessions. I had no choice, it was that good.
I was keen to read this novel as I've had my own experience with a couple of disagreeable neighbours - both times men in their mid-sixties - one who posted horrible anonymous letters through my front door when my daughter was a baby and most recently, an old guy, who loves to do DIY in the early hours of the morning, plays ridiculously loud irish music late at night, and has an overgrown plant at the front of his terraced house that grows wildly and winds it way rather tightly around my telephone line which runs down the side of my house. They are little things, but after a while, bit by bit, it starts to grind you down, and you do start thinking of what action you can take to put a stop to it, especially when written notes don't seem to hit the spot - so I completely empathised with the couple in this story who have to cope with the enigmatic strange neighbours that live in the flat downstairs.
This happens to so many people, so it shouldn't surprise me when I read in the notes that the author, Mark Edwards, based the story on his own real life experience, as the writing and what the characters go through does feel very authentic - although he's obviously raised the stakes for this dark thriller.
It was also a little spooky to read towards the end - without giving plot spoilers - that one of the nicer characters goes to live in Reading and has a daughter called Isabel .. because I live in Reading and have a daughter called Isabel. Just a coincidence, but it was still a little spooky when your adrenaline is pumping away.
Definitely a must-read if you love a gripping easy to read story that takes you right inside the characters heads. I will definitely be reading more of Mark Edwards books
This type of psychological thriller is a first for me, I tend to go for the detective type mysteries, or real life fact based stories. I’m still deciding whether to purchase the 2 follow up stories in this trilogy. Yes, I want to delve further into how and whether Jamie managed to turn his life around, but do I want to be further disturbed with the outcome?
I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who's had such an experience, or someone who, like me, is now afraid of moving home incase I come across a dreadful neighbour!
I also thought the story was a bit slow; I guess this was an attempt at building tension, but I kept turning the page hoping for something to happen only to be let down. This also added to my overall anxiety around the subject - the more the tension built, the more anxious I started to feel and I just wanted to get the whole thing over with. I don't often abandon books so I felt the need to continue purely to find out how things ended.
Jamie and Kirsty are a young couple who have just moved into their first home together. Things start out great, but soon start to slowly change.
I personally found this story scary, I too have suffered with disturbing neighbours in the past, so couldn’t help but compare my situation.
The storyline is great though at times a little slow for me, there were a few occasions I felt I was having to force myself to read so I could get to a good part.
Everything about this book is subtle. Little hints are given throughout the story but not enough to know for sure what is to come. It keeps you guessing all the way through which is what compelled me to carry on reading.
This is my first thriller book and I will definitely be taking a closer look at the genre.
This book is the first in the Magpies series and my gosh how gripping and compelling a read it is! All the characters are so credible and the story line leads the reader to shout out to the characters 'don't! bad choice!'. So many layers, just when the reader thinks they know where the book is going the author takes them down another route. Even at the very end! I look forward to the second book in this series (it is out I just haven't personally purchased it as yet).