The Devil's Work
By Mark Edwards
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.
I love the sense of foreboding in Mark Edwards novels, the way he leads the reader one way and then pushes them in a completely different direction. I like that this book contains flashbacks from the main characters life as well as chapters set in the present.
The prologue of the book begins with the following eerie paragraph:
“I lie in bed, scratching at the cold wall, waiting for the sounds of footsteps. I knew he would come today, that there was nothing I could do about it. All I could do was hope, pray, that today’s treatment would be psychological. A test. Questions. I can’t face anything else, not today.”
Chapter 1 introduces us to Sophie Greenwood. It is Sophie’s first day in her dream job at children’s publishing house Jackdaw Publishing. Sophie feels conflicted because she is leaving her daughter Daisy for the first time since she was born but at the same time she feels excitement and can’t wait to start.
Her immediate boss, Simon Falstaff introduces her to the rest of the team: Matt, Tracey and Cassie. A chance encounter on her first day unnerves her and Sophie begins to wonder if actually it wasn’t such a good idea to work here in the first place.
As the novel progresses Sophie’s life quickly unravels and a series of mysteries pop out. Is one of her colleagues deliberately sabotaging her work? What happened to her predecessor? And why does Sophie increasingly have the idea that someone is out to get her?
The flashbacks in the novel were based on her time at university and her friendship with a girl called Jasmine.
I found I couldn’t read this book quickly enough, I wanted to know what happened next immediately and work was definitely an interruption.
I loved the description of Sophie’s dream to work in publishing and the magical feeling she got from reading her childhood favourites, a feeling I recognised.
“Sophie had been reading their books since she was Daisy’s age. When teachers asked what she wanted to do when she grew up, while her friends said they wanted to be pop stars or doctors or cops, she’d said she wanted to write books. Specifically, books bearing the distinctive purple jackdaw logo – with its short beak – that set it apart from a crow – on the cover. ..She would create books, work with them, sell them and inspire children to enter magical worlds.”
Also, the description of the library certainly made me wish I had one that size, I could almost picture it.
Bookcases stood between every cluster of desks, stuffed full off and young adult novels and children’s encyclopaedias. Books were piled on top of and beneath desks…there was a library in the basement containing many of the books Jackdaw had published in its 165-year history, including valuable first editions and original manuscripts.”
The description of an incident at university was one of the most disturbing elements in the book, that and one of the things pinned to Sophie’s door, and both will stay with any reader for a long time after finishing the book, I won’t ruin it with a spoiler though.
All in all this one of the most disturbing books I have read but I loved it!
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