The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

Highly addictive thriller alert! My review of ‘The Devil’s Work’ by Mark Edwards

on September 17, 2016

Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

thedevilsworkmarkedwardsThe Devil’s Work. Mark Edwards. Thomas & Mercer. 13th September 2016.

It was the job she had dreamed of since childhood. But on her very first day, when an unnerving encounter drags up memories Sophie Greenwood would rather forget, she wonders if she has made a mistake. A fatal mistake.

What is her ambitious young assistant really up to? And what exactly happened to Sophie’s predecessor? When her husband and daughter are pulled into the nightmare, Sophie is forced to confront the darkest secrets she has carried for years.

As her life begins to fall apart at work and at home, Sophie must race to uncover the truth about her new job…before it kills her.

Mark Edwards is an auto-buy author for me, as he’s my all-time favourite psychological thriller writer. You know that anxiety you experience when an author you like releases a new book? You worry “What if it’s not as good as their last?” I never feel that way with Mark Edwards, because I’m always confident I’ll adore everything he writes.

I swear to God, Mark must sprinkle MSG on his books because they are like crack to me. This one was no exception – I read it in two sittings, and only took a break in the middle because it got to way-past-my-bedtime and I reluctantly realised I should probably give the whole ‘sleep’ thing a go…

This novel is the story of Sophie – a woman who has been out of work for some time raising her daughter Daisy, but whom out of the blue is head-hunted for her dream job; a marketing role at Jackdaw Books, a publishing house she has wanted to work for since she was a little girl.

The story unravels in two strands – a present day narrative, which follows Sophie as she begins her  too-good-to-be-true new job, and a flashback narrative which takes us back to the year 2000 and Sophie’s university days. The link between these two strands is Jasmine, Sophie’s best friend from university, who also happens to be the granddaughter of Franklin Bird, 85-year-old head honcho of Jackdaw books.

In most novels which chop and change between past and present, there’s usually a narrative I prefer and am more eager to get back to, but in this case, I was equally fascinated by both. The book was perfectly paced, and the tension so well executed, that once each of these narratives got going, I spent the entirety of my reading experience on the very edge of my seat, anxiously anticipating whatever sinister thing lay in wait on the next page.

The main thrust of the novel revolves around Sophie re-entering the world of work, and rapidly coming to regret it. Sophie’s assistant Cassie is the reason behind Sophie’s fear she’s made a terrible mistake – it’s clear the woman has it in for her; she undermines her manager at every turn, and all of the evidence points towards Cassie being the reason behind Sophie’s predecessor’s mysterious departure (a woman named Miranda whom nobody has seen or heard from since she abruptly left the company).

Sophie becomes increasingly concerned about Cassie’s behaviour – is she just unfriendly and jealous of Sophie’s more successful position, or is there something more sinister at play? As more and more unnerving things begin to happen at Jackdaw, Sophie’s anxiety about Cassie only intensifies. But is Sophie really in danger, or is she simply overworked and paranoid?

One of the things I love most about Mark Edwards’ books is that his protagonists are always so relatable. Mark’s author bio says that he ‘writes about scary stuff happening to ordinary people’, and that’s such a perfect description of what he does. I never find it difficult to put myself into his characters’ shoes, and that’s what makes his books so scary – it’s creepily easy to imagine something like this happening to you.

Cassie isn’t the only shady character in this book; I didn’t trust anyone in Sophie’s past or present, because honestly, everyone in this novel is SHADY AF:

There’s Guy, Sophie’s husband, whom she got together with whilst he was married to another woman, and whom I had a hard time believing had changed from his cheating ways…

There’s Franklin Bird, head of the company and twinkly-eyed Grandfather figure, who unnervingly asks Sophie, upon first meeting, whether she has any dark secrets…

There’s Jasmine – intense best friend from Sophie’s university days, who doesn’t want anyone knowing about her connection to Jackdaw books…

There’s Liam – intense bad boy crush from Sophie’s university days, who also happens to be Jasmine’s boyfriend…

And then of course there’s Sophie herself. It was constantly running through my mind that Sophie’s paranoia about Cassie could all be in her head. That she was cracking up. That SHE might prove to be the biggest psychopath of them all.

It wasn’t just the characters who had me on high alert throughout this novel. There was something shady about the company itself. From the elite top floor of the building, where the doors were always firmly locked, to the mysterious basement library, inaccessible by elevator, that nobody seemed to be allowed to visit without special permission, there was something decidedly off about Jackdaw books.

I loved that this book was set in a publishing house (and in the Young Adult Literature Department, no less.) I work in the marketing department of a publisher, so the setting was one I felt at home in, but Mark Edwards took that familiar place and made it creepy as all hell. And I was thoroughly impressed by it!

There are plenty of twists and turns in this book, and I was constantly making guesses, only to be thrown a complete curveball a few pages later. There were so many subplots at play, all of them dark and mysterious, and I loved how this book kept me guessing (and failing to uncover) how they all linked together. The ending was in no way predictable and I was genuinely shocked. It was genius-ly constructed.

If you’ve never read any Mark Edwards’ books, please do pick this one up – I promise you’ll be so hooked you’ll curse your alarm clock the next morning (in a satisfied, I’ve-read-a-great-book kind of a way, obv.)

Also, make sure you check out the rest of Mark’s back-catalogue, because all of his books are fantastically thrilling and very creepy indeed!

16 responses to “Highly addictive thriller alert! My review of ‘The Devil’s Work’ by Mark Edwards

  1. Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads says:

    Great review! I’m definitely adding this one to my TBR.

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thank you! 🙂 Ooh yes please do, it was a great book and very addictive! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did if you decide to pick it up. I really recommend all of his other books too!

  2. Ooh wow- that’s so cool that you work in a marketing department of a publishing house! And this book sounds really good- I’m looking for a good thriller!

    • mudandstars says:

      It was fantastic- if you’re looking for a good thriller, I really recommend this one, and any of his other books! And ahh thanks, yeah it is a fun job 😊 but technically this won’t be true in 6 weeks as I’m leaving to do something totally different. Im moving to London in Jan, so I’m taking some time off beforehand, doing a college course, learning to drive, and then either carrying on with part 2 of the course or job hunting. 😊

      • Awesome!! I have been looking for a good thriller lately- so this will fit the bill perfectly!! Oh really? That’s cool 🙂 I’m a Londoner so

      • Pff I was half finished with that reply and hit send! I shouldn’t be allowed near technology. I was gonna ask what you’re doing next that’s totally different? 😉 And also was halfway through saying London’s a cool city :p

      • mudandstars says:

        Haha! London is indeed cool – my boyfriend lives there at the moment, so I will be moving in with him in Jan. What part of London are you from? I’ll be moving to West Brompton (near Earl’s Court). Aand what I’m doing next is a college course in Counselling. Just an intro course to start with (in Oxford) during November, and then if I enjoy it I will carry on with the next part of the qualification in London. If I decide it’s not what I want to do, I guess it’s back to delightful old job hunting. But I just wanted a break to figure out what I want to do with my life to be honest = try out a few different things, and also to do some writing, which I’ve really neglected over the past few years.

      • Ahh cool- wow that’s amazing! Good for you!! That’s an incredible thing to do!! Either way, it’s awesome that you’re giving it a go! haha I understand that for sure! I’m always looking for at the next thing I can do (and I’ve only been out of uni a year!)

      • mudandstars says:

        Thank youuu 🙂 Yes I’m really excited now! And I don’t blame you – I think it’s great to try out all kinds of different things, until you find something that’s right for you. And in the years after you leave uni is the best time to do it (although it’s never too late to try something new!) 🙂

      • You’re welcome! 🙂 Yes definitely!! 🙂

  3. Ive never read a Mark Edwards book! Apperantly I’ve been living under a rock because his name doesn’t sound familiar… Must be because I don’t read much in the thriller genre. Great review!

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thanks! I’m not sure how well known he is outside of the UK but he’s has quite a lot of success in the UK Amazon charts. If you are looking to read more thrillers, I definitely recommend his books – I’ve loved all of them!

  4. I’ve been looking for more thrillers and this one sounds so interesting! Adding it to my TBR. Lovely review. 😊

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thank you 🙂 I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did! If you like thrillers, I definitely recommend his other books too – I read so many thrillers and some of them can be a bit samey and predictable but his never are, and always have really interesting concepts 🙂

  5. Codie says:

    Such a great review! You mentioned everything, whilst keeping it a complete mystery! I’ve actually never read a Mark Edwards book either, however this sounds like a Lifetime movie – some of them are good – so I’m interested 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks so much Codie! 🙂 I always struggle to review thrillers as I’m always scared I’ll give something away, so I’m glad to hear it worked! Ooh I really hope you do give Mark Edwards a go, I’m a huge fan of his books, and they’re always really interesting concepts and so much less predictable than the average thriller. I’m intrigued – what’s a Lifetime movie? I don’t think we have them in the UK, but they sound fun! 🙂

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