Sophie Greenwood has spent the past few years raising her daughter, Daisy. She doesn’t regret a day of it but when she is offered the opportunity to work for a company she had dreamed of being part of as a child, she doesn’t hesitate to say yes. The job is her ideal and her team seem friendly enough, apart from one person, Cassie an unbelievably ambitious young woman who Sophie doesn’t quite trust.
But Sophie is hiding something. She knows the family who owns Jackdaw Books, once having been best friends with Jasmine, the Granddaughter of owner, Franklin Bird. And something happened in the year they were together at University, something Sophie would rather remained buried and forgotten.
When strange things start to happen at work, and friends and family come under threat, Sophie begins to regret having taken the job at Jackdaw. Who is trying to hurt her and how far will they go expose the secrets of Sophie’s past?
‘The Devil’s Work’ is a highly suspenseful psychological thriller. From the chilling opening to the gradual revelation of Sophie’s first year at university, Mark Edwards ratchets up the tension with brilliant ease. You can see the slow unravelling of Sophie’s nerves as more and more unsettling things begin to happen to her, and the rising tension at home as her husband’s work life falls apart putting more pressure onto their relationship.
This is a chilling tale, both because of the truth behind Jasmine’s childhood and the targeting of Sophie by attacking the thing that she holds dearest – her family. With a number of characters who are not particularly trustworthy, suspicion quickly moves between several suspects, although it is Cassie who seems the most unstable, her manipulative nature and sociopathic nuances so brilliantly drawn.
The move between past and present in the narrative is seamless. It allows the reader to build a picture of the events Sophie refers to in her first meeting with Franklin Bird, of her friendship with Jasmine, as snippets of the past are told to us through Sophie’s eyes. Each segment falls into the current story in a way which informs the action, as something of the present day forces Sophie to remember what happened in her fateful first year at university. All of the clues are there, some more subtle than others, but all lead us back to a tense and dramatic conclusion.
The characters are beautifully crafted, the action just subtle enough that you can’t help but sometimes wonder if Sophie is really being targeted or if this is part of some mental breakdown created by accepting the job at Jackdaw which takes her back to an unresolved period in her life. Is Sophie herself the real root cause of the problems she endures?
There is an undercurrent of unease throughout and, as the picture of Jasmine’s past becomes clearer, a certain sense of shock at what she had to endure and at whose hands. I really enjoyed this book, finding it to be an easy read. And by that I mean that it drew me along, pulling me to its conclusion in under a day. It made my mind churn as I tried to work out what was happening, made me cringe (because I really hate bugs), but I never once wanted to turn away. From very early on I was totally invested in Sophie’s story, and keen to understand just why she had been chosen for such victimisation.
A chilling and suspenseful 5 stars.
My thanks to NetGalley and publishers Thomas & Mercer for my copy of ‘The Devil’s Work’ in exchange for my review.
The Devil’s Work is released on 13th September and can be ordered here: