Review: The Magpies by Mark Edwards

When Jamie and Kirsty buy a dream flat together everything seems like it is going to be happy ever after, but when unwanted parcels, junk mail, and fast food they didn’t order start arriving they slowly come to realise that everything isn’t quite right. For a start their downstairs neighbours, the Newtons, seem like an odd couple, but despite this they try to form a friendly bond with them. However, after a very suspicious accident leaves Jamie’s best friend in a coma they realise that the Newtons aren’t just odd they are bad and dangerous with it. As their relationship with the neighbours from hell goes from bad to worse, and their own relationship starts to fall apart, Jamie and Kirsty come to understand that their dream flat is actually a nightmare.

As part of a writing partnership with Louise Voss, Mark Edwards has had considerable success: their novels Catch Your Death and Killing Cupid were both big bestsellers. The Magpies Edwards’ first novel without Voss, is already a huge hit, and seems certain to stay in the Amazon Kindle UK bestseller chart for some time (at time of writing it is No. 1). But is it any good, I hear you ask? Well, yes, I certainly enjoyed it.

A creepy prologue sets the reader on edge and pays off later in the tale. Edwards’ prose is smooth and reads well, and the characters of Jamie and Kirsty are well-rounded. Edwards’ handling of the narrative is equally as smooth and the escalations in the story are done nicely. I wasn’t all that happy with the transformation of Jamie’s friend, Paul, following the accident; he changes from a likeable character to an arsehole very quickly. Of course, some people do have complete personality changes after major accidents, but the way it was handled felt like a minor stumble. The ending also felt slightly rushed, to me at least, which is a shame because it seemed like the set-up was in place for something a bit more grand. Still, these are minor quibbles, because overall The Magpies is a good tale, well told.

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