The Magpies

The Magpies

Mark EdwardsMagpoos

Jamie and Kirsty have just moved into the flat of their dreams. Great new neighbours who all give them a warm welcome to their new home. Jamie and Kirsty think they have hit the jackpot with their new flat in London, but soon, hell opens its doors in the flat below. They send all their neighbours to the housewarming party, only two of which attend, their neighbour Brian and his wife from the second floor flat. From that very night the hoaxes begin, with someone ringing the emergency services about an alleged fire that Jamie supposedly rang.

A letter complaining about Jamie and Kirsty being too loud is put through the letterbox, but not before dead rats are left outside their front door. A recording of them having sex is posted to them with a complaint that their intimacy is too loud. Junk mail and falsely ordered packages and sent to them in their names. More hoax calls to the emergency services and pizza delivery places. Spiders (one of Kirsty’s worst fears) are let into the flat in hoards. While all this ensues back at the flat Jamie’s friend, Paul, is in a coma due to a Go-carting accident he has when a group, including Jamie, Kirsty, Paul, Heather (Kirsty’s bestfriend) and the downstairs neighbours. Kirsty also becomes pregnant, resulting in her and Jamie running away to Gretna Green to get married.

When all seems to cease another accident occurs in which Kirsty falls down the front steps leading up to the flats and ends up having a miscarriage, losing the baby. After losing the baby, events start flaring up again and Jamie, becoming obsessed with proving his suspicions, forces a gap between him and his new wife, causing her to leave and move back to her parents.

SPOILER!

It’s the Newtons! (but you knew that already didn’t you?) Just by reading the blurb it’s given away to you due to the mention of them. The only neighbours mentioned and it really isn’t necessary, you could have figured out that it was the Newtons in your own time by simply following the storyline as the story unfolds, this also deflates the tension, making it all the more dull. Along with this, the characters are generally lifeless, even the “psychotic” Newtons who take pleasure (that can be construed in any way you like) in destroying the lives of their neighbours and trying to kill their loved ones in the process. But even with Lucy and Chris Newton terrorising whichever poor soul may move into the ground floor flat you don’t really feel sympathy for the neighbours or intimidation and fear shown from the Newtons. They just appear to be empty and fairly irritating characters.

It is however a good plot, and well written for the most part (yes well written books usually have engaging characters but you can’t win ‘em all can you?). On the other hand, with the dull characters and slow pace (yes I know slow pace is usually used to build tension but the tension never seems to appear nevermind build), with the threats and harassment seeming nothing more than petty, the story appears farfetched. While some writing is well done and professional, at other parts it seems immature and desperate for the appro
val of the reader and to entertain but fails in doing so, adding more distance between the story and the reader, especially when it comes to the sex scenes (my god them sex scenes would give 80’s porn a run for its money). Instead of the subtle sexual context some horrors and thrillers have within them, this book just has uncomfortable, stereotypical teenage views (okay some people may like the sex scenes but we’ll affiliate them with the absurd scrawling of E L James for the time being shall we?) of what sex should be like and ends up taking away from the intimacy of a couple and the what could have been a very good story.

What seems to start as a good plot about the horrors of nightmare neighbours (this story is honestly like an episode on Nightmare Neighbours Next Door, which usually just makes me laugh, damn them re-enactments are top class!) became a tedious, tired story with no real suspense, surprises or closure (what happened to Lucy again? And the reasoning for the name is a stretch isn’t it? And makes no real sense).

In all, the story seems like a bizarre mix of mediocre Thriller and soft-core erotica so let’s call it, 50 Shades of Neighbourly Harassment (it seems a far more accurate title).

Awarded: 2 out of 5 Stars

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