This month Criminally Good Book Club voted to read The Magpies by Mark Edwards, a psychological thriller about neigbours from hell! If you read along with us this month or have read this book previously we’ll be discussing this book on 2nd July over on Instagram.
From the back cover:
When Jamie and Kirsty move into their first home together, they are full of optimism. The future, in which they plan to get married and start a family, is bright. The other residents of their building seem friendly too, including the Newtons, a married couple who welcome them to the building with open arms.
But then strange things start to happen. Dead rats are left on their doorstep. They hear disturbing noises, and much worse, in the night. After Jamie’s best friend is injured in a horrific accident, Jamie and Kirsty find themselves targeted by a campaign of terror.
As they are driven to the edge of despair, Jamie vows to fight back—but he has no idea what he is really up against . . .
The Magpies is a gripping psychological thriller in which the monsters are not vampires or demons but the people who live next door. It is a nightmare that could happen to anyone.
Jamie and Kirsty move into their flat on Mount Pleasant Street – oh the irony – as they find living in that flat anything but pleasant! I really enjoyed this book, events didn’t move at a breakneck speed but the campaign of hate against Jamie and Kirsty was psychologically thrilling. It was one thing after another designed to break their spirits; at first, I wasn’t sure what to make of this one but as thing after thing kept happening I began to reach my wits end too – my heart going out to Jamie and Kirsty as I imagined what I’d do in their situation. Some of the things they experienced were just awful – I really feel I should let my neighbours know how grateful I am that they are kind people.
As mentioned, I was really enjoying this book and it was on course to become a solid four star read until the ending – the last 50 pages were so disappointing. The first event that initiated ‘the reveal’ frustrated me to know end – it was so typical and cliché. Usually I can look past these clichés but this one has been so overdone that I had to skim read this bit. I thought it lowered the standard of the book because all that I’d read before was unique and gripping. As the reveal came and the ending drew closer, it all felt rushed and clumsy. I was so disappointed, I dropped a whole star on Goodreads and rated this book 3 stars – it really was such a shame because up until this point, the characters and the plot were fantastic. Kirsty and Jamie were great characters, both likeable and you just wanted the best for them – Edwards did a wonderful job showing how this systematic campaign of terror affected the couple.
Once the cliched moment had passed, the finale was actually very clever but again, I thought it failed in its delivery and perhaps could have been spread over more pages. In a book that focused on a very detailed hate campaign, I felt the conclusion was missing this same level of detail. I would read more from Edwards as he definitely has a talent for psychological thrills that provoke emotion in the reader but sadly, the ending of this one just spoilt the story for me.
Reviews by other book club members: