When Jamie and Kirsty move into their first home together, they are full of optimism. The future, in which they plan to marry 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 an 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.
The Magpies by Mark Edwards was published by Thomas & Mercer in November 2013, and is the author's debut novel.
There's been a huge social media buzz about The Magpies and Mark Edwards' writing. My copy has been on the shelf for a long time, I decided that it was high time that I got around to reading it, and I read it whilst on holiday in Corfu.
The prologue sets the scene for this quite frightening and chilling story of everyday folk living in what appears to be an ordinary, run of the mill flat.
Jamie and Kirsty were over the moon when they managed to buy their dream home at a knock down price. Things begin well, their neighbours are friendly and welcoming and this really does feel like the place that they will stay. They will marry and have a family, They will be happy.
At first, the Newtons, who live in the garden flat below seem quite easy going, although they didn't turn up for Jamie and Kirsty's housewarming party ... although the fire brigade did .... a hoax call is not the best way to begin life in a new home.
That hoax call is just the beginning of what becomes a total and all consuming nightmare for this young couple. Dead rats, an army of spiders, letters of complaint, numerous orders for pizza and a terrible accident involving Jamie's best friend. As much as they don't want it to be true, it becomes clear that the Newtons downstairs are not what they seemed.
Dark and twisted, The Magpies is a compelling read. Mark Edwards throws up horror after horror for his lead characters, and has created the real neighbours from hell in the Newtons.
Fast paced and entertaining, The Magpies is a book that has the reader frantically turning the pages to see what will come next. There are times when the story becomes just a little bogged down by detail, and I would have liked more depth to the main characters, but these are minor points and do not detract from what is a spine chilling story that really could happen to any of us.
A great debut, I look forward to catching up with this author's more recent books.
Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to ordinary people and is inspired by writers such as Stephen King, Ira Levin, Ruth Rendell and Linwood Barclay.
His first solo novel The Magpies (2013), reached the Number One spot on Amazon UK and has sold 300,000 copies to date. This was followed by What You Wish For (2014), Because She Loves Me (2014, also a Number One bestseller in the UK) and Follow You Home (2015).
He also co-writes with Louise Voss. Their novels are; Killing Cupid (2011); Catch Your Death (2011); All Fall Down (2012); Forward Slash and a series featuring Detective Inspector Patrick Lennon, starting with From The Cradle (2014) and The Blissfully Dead (2015).
Mark grew up on the south coast of England and started writing in his twenties while working in a number of dead-end jobs. He lived in Tokyo for a year before returning to the UK and starting a career in marketing. He now writes full-time and lives in the West Midlands, with his wife, their three children, and a ginger cat, Billie, who was named after an actress from Doctor Who.
When he's not writing or looking after children, Mark reads a lot, devours TV box sets and spends far too much time on Twitter and Facebook, where he loves chatting with readers.
For more information about Mark Edwards and his books check out his website www.markedwardsauthor.com
Find his Author page on Facebook
Follow him on Twitter @mredwards