I’ve just finished two great books in quick succession by British author, Mark Edwards, ‘The Magpies’ and ‘Because She Loves Me’. Both are well written, fast paced psychological thrillers examining the horror in the everyday, which keep you guessing throughout.
The Magpies tells the tale of a young couple, Jamie and Kirsty, who move into their perfect flat in North London, ready to start a life together. Their little bubble is soon burst as they meet various suspicious neighbours and then odd things start to happen; hoax pizza deliveries, hoax calls to the fire brigade, targetted junk mail. Soon things get much more sinister and they’re living in a paranoid state of fear over their ‘neigbours from hell’, as the book reaches a dramatic conclusion.
Because She Loves Me is the second book by Mark Thomas and, in his words, was written as a ‘companion book’ to The Magpies. Indeed it refers to characters from the first story several times.
In this book we meet Andrew Sumner, who is undergoing hospital treatment for a detached retina (ouch). As he’s leaving he meets Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Summers; a beautiful, intelligent redhead. They begin a relationship that soon becomes intense and then, when ‘bad luck’ seems to befall his close friends and family and Charlie’s obsessive and jealous behaviour rears its ugly head, Andrew (and we) begin to wonder if the two are connected.
Both books have a section at the end in which the author talks about the inspiration for the stories and his focus for both books is very much the horror in the everyday. The notion that the threat comes not from something monstrous like a vampire or demon but from your neighbours or the person you love.
A lot of the events are ambiguous, where there can be more than one explanation for something, so just as you think you know where the stories are going you realise you’ve been wrong footed and have to start working things out again. They are both great page turners with well written characters and plots that keep you guessing. I highly recommend them and will be looking out for future books from this author.