“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 am very excited to welcome you to the blog today as I have a real treat for us all. I am absolutely thrilled, chuffed to bits even, to be kicking off The Devil’s Work blog tour! And in true damppebbles style, I have a fabulous guest post to share with you, you lucky people.
So without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Mark…
The Worst Jobs I’ve Ever Had
The Devil’s Work is a psychological thriller set in the office from hell. Sophie returns from four years raising her daughter to start her dream job at a publishing company. But almost immediately, weird things start to happen and Sophie wonders if she has made a terrible mistake…
We’ve all had that feeling, haven’t we? Wondering if we made a big mistake accepting a job. A lot of the jobs I’ve had in my life felt constantly like a terrible error on my part, or a practical joke the universe was playing on me.
It started when I was still at school. During the summer I took a job in a food-packing factory. Some days I wheeled huge baskets of shredded onions and carrots across the factory floor. Other days I removed labels from wet jars (that was the most fun task). Or I sat at a conveyor belt watching cornflakes stream past, picking out the black ones. I was a goth at the time, with long hair and traces of eyeliner from the night before. The full-time staff really respected my individuality and called me Rambo. Or something much ruder that rhymes with front.
Still, I was earning £100 a week. A fortune!
I left home at nineteen and got a job at Perfect Pizza. The boss was a megalomaniac who acted like running the franchise of a fast food outlet made him Hastings’ answer to Donald Trump. But we got free pizza. I literally lived on it for two years. I had spots the size of pepperoni and my skin took on the same greasy sheen as the rubbery cheese we used. All the girls loved the scent that clung to me.
One summer, I spent a week working on a farm, picking broad beans. I laboured on my own in the middle of a field, somewhere in deepest Sussex, filling crates with beans while the farmer had sex with his attractive, younger farmhand in the barn. He lived in a caravan on the outskirts of the farm because his wife had caught them scaring the sheep. When he sent off my beans to the greengrocer they were rejected because they weren’t big enough, so the farmer refused to pay me. The greengrocer was my stepdad.
It didn’t get much better when I left university. I wanted to work in publishing but lived in Hastings where there was only one large employer: the Child Support Agency. I spent the first year there on the call handling team, talking to angry, upset people all day, every day; former couples who loathed each other. Or people who’d once shagged behind a skip who didn’t even know each other. Once a year, the anti-CSA brigade would turn up and parade around the building holding coffins and chanting ‘CSA staff are scum’.
It’s the only place I’ve worked where everyone was actively and openly looking for another job. I kept myself going by writing after work and praying for a book deal. After a few years of almost vomiting with stress every Sunday night, I jumped out of the frying pan straight into the fire: I got a job in the customer service department of a rail company.
Now, instead of being shouted at by angry parents I spent my days being shouted at by angry commuters. Blocked toilets, rotting pigeons, rude ticket inspectors – you name it, someone was furious about it. Again, I kept writing in my spare time, telling myself that sooner or later I would be a full-time novelist.
I was saved from day job hell by the dotcom boom of 2000. An internet start-up took me on and suddenly, at the age of 29, I knew what I wanted to do if I couldn’t be a full-time writer. Over the next ten years I built a career in internet marketing, apart from a year teaching English in Japan, another job that had its nightmarish moments.
And now, twenty years after I first put pen to paper, I have the best job in the world. No, not a hitman, tracking down all my former bosses and people who yelled at me about the 07:39 from Tunbridge Wells to Charing Cross. I’m a writer. I sit at my desk all day and make my characters suffer like I did. Including poor Sophie.
Her job really is the job from hell. But you’ll have to read the book to find out why…
Thank you so much for this great post, Mark. Sounds like you’ve had some truly awful jobs before becoming a full-time writer. I’ve been trying to decide what the worst job I’ve ever had is. It’s a close call between answering the phone for the doctor’s out of hours emergency service (listening to people vomit isn’t all that pleasant) or the bar job which lasted one night after I after I was pulled over the bar by a customer who fancied a peek down my blouse…it was a classy bar! 😁
I read a fair few books every month and I enjoy them (you’ll already know this if you’re a regular visitor to the blog). They’re great books. But this book, The Devil’s Work, felt like the book I have been waiting to read for a while. As I progressed through the story I wanted to punch the air and shout ‘YES, this is the one!’.
Sophie makes the monumental decision to return to work after 4 years at home with young daughter, Daisy. She manages to land her dream job at Jackdaw Books, a hugely successful children’s publishers. It isn’t long before she starts to wonder if returning to work was a big mistake. Strange things start to happen and one of Sophie’s team members is behaving…oddly, but Sophie is new to Jackdaw and she doesn’t know if Cassie’s behaviour is normal. Then Sophie’s freelance journalist husband makes a catastrophic social media blunder which results in no one wanting to employ him and daily Twitter abuse. It’s the beginning of a spiral that could send Sophie to the very edge. Will Sophie be able to work out what’s going on before it’s too late for her and her family…?
Bloody marvellous piece of writing! I absolutely loved this book and it’s on my list of favourite reads for 2016 (maybe of all time). I am a fan of Mark’s previous books having read The Magpies (before I started blogging) and more recently Follow You Home (click here to read my review). So you can see why I leapt at the chance to review The Devil’s Work. The author’s way of making a seemingly normal situation suddenly turn sinister is so engrossing! I’m going to say it, I couldn’t put it down (I had to, I have two young children, but that’s not the point!).
I really liked Sophie. She’s so unassuming and well, normal. If I met Cassie in real life I think I would want to thump her (not condoning violence here or anything, mind you!). Simon, the boss, I found to be weasley and the kind of manager I have encountered several times during my working life (but never want to see again). All in all, a great mix of characters that brought out a flurry of emotions in me.
Being a little on the bookish side, I really enjoyed the fact that it’s set in the publishing world. I’ve always fancied a job in publishing…maybe not so much now!!
The story alternates between the present and the past, with some chapters dedicated to Sophie’s time at University and her friendship with BFF Jasmine and Jasmine’s boyfriend, Liam. I’ve always been a fan of this time-travel method and Mark Edwards uses it to brilliant effect in building the tension. There are moments when you will gasp out loud and moments when you plead the character to not do what you think they’re going to do.
Would I recommend this book? Well, that’s a daft question. Without doubt, YOU MUST GET YOURSELF A COPY OF THIS BOOK. It’s brilliant, simple as that really. If I could give this book 6 stars I would but I can’t so it’s 5 stars from me, a very easy 5 stars. Terrifying, full of suspense and the build of tension is totally engrossing. Love it!
Five out of five stars.
Many thanks to Rachel at MidasPR, Thomas & Mercer and Mark Edwards for providing me with a copy of The Devil’s Work in exchange for an honest review.
The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards is published in the UK by Thomas & Mercer on 13th September 2016 and is available in paperback, eBook and audiobook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |
Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to ordinary people and is inspired by writers such as Stephen King, Ira Levin, Ruth Rendell and Linwood Barclay.
His first solo novel, The Magpies (2013), reached the No.1 spot on Amazon UK and has sold 300,000 copies to date. This was followed by What You Wish For (2014),Because She Loves Me (2014; also a No.1 bestseller in the UK) and Follow You Home(2015).
He also co-writes with Louise Voss. Their novels are: Killing Cupid (2011); Catch Your Death (2011); All Fall Down (2012); Forward Slash and a series featuring Detective Inspector Patrick Lennon, starting withFrom the Cradle (2014) and The Blissfully Dead (2015). Read more about Voss & Edwards.
Mark grew up on the south coast of England and starting writing in his twenties while working in a number of dead-end jobs. He lived in Tokyo for a year before returning to the UK and starting a career in marketing. He now writes full-time and lives in the West Midlands, England, with his wife, their three children and a ginger cat, Billie, who was named after an actress from Doctor Who.
When he’s not writing or looking after children, Mark reads a lot, devours TV box sets and spends far too much time on Twitter and Facebook, where he loves chatting with readers. He also wishes he had more time to do the activity he loves most: karaoke.