After absolutely falling in love with Mark Edwards’ most recent novel Follow You Home earlier this summer, it seemed like a no-brainer to add his previous works to my never-ending reading list. In The Magpies, Jamie and Kirsty move into their dream first home in London. However, their excitement is quickly thwarted as their neighbors, Chris and Lucy Newton begin to torture them with various hoaxes that drives them to an absolute state of despair.
As was the case in Follow You Home, Edwards develops a beautifully organic relationship between Jamie and Kirsty that endures the mundane, the traumatic, and everything in between. However, what I loved about The Magpies in particular is that it is grounded in reality. When you think of a psychological thriller involving neighbors, you typically expect the neighbors from hell to be depicted as Disturbia-esque psychopathic serial killers who have torture chambers in their basement. While this choice is entertaining, it is not very believable. However, by making the Newtons the most ordinary of couples and Jamie and Kirsty so relatable, Edwards made this tale all the more gripping because the reader recognizes that this madness could happen to anyone, including themselves. Moreover, this novel is perfectly paced. Edwards has a truly remarkable ability to make the reader feel the paranoia that the characters were experiencing as they struggled to process what exactly they were up against as well as the desperation, as Jamie unraveled towards the end of the novel.
I do, however, have mixed feelings about the ending. Initially, I was disappointed by the lack of a twist that occurred however, after reading Edwards’ letter to the reader, my disappointed subsided a bit and I had a better understanding of his creative choice. That being said, I’m still not sure how I feel about an ending that requires a bit of reassurance from the author for the reader to accept it. Ultimately, while I respect the realism of the ending, I don’t think a small twist would have destroyed the integrity of the story. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I would encourage everyone to curl up with this page-turner this fall and prepare to never want to live in close proximity to others ever again. 🙂
4 out of 5 stars