Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Review: A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

Title: A Noise Downstairs
Author: Linwood Barclay
Published: July 2018, William Morrow
Format: ARC Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Publisher

The New York Times bestselling author of No Time for Goodbye returns with a haunting psychological thriller that blends the twists and turns of Gillian Flynn with the driving suspense of Harlan Coben, in which a man is troubled by odd sounds for which there is no rational explanation.

 College professor Paul Davis is a normal guy with a normal life. Until, driving along a deserted road late one night, he surprises a murderer disposing of a couple of bodies. That’s when Paul’s "normal" existence is turned upside down. After nearly losing his own life in that encounter, he finds himself battling PTSD, depression, and severe problems at work. His wife, Charlotte, desperate to cheer him up, brings home a vintage typewriter—complete with ink ribbons and heavy round keys—to encourage him to get started on that novel he’s always intended to write.

However, the typewriter itself is a problem. Paul swears it’s possessed and types by itself at night. But only Paul can hear the noise coming from downstairs; Charlotte doesn’t hear a thing. And she worries he’s going off the rails.

Paul believes the typewriter is somehow connected to the murderer he discovered nearly a year ago. The killer had made his victims type apologies to him before ending their lives. Has another sick twist of fate entwined his life with the killer—could this be the same machine? Increasingly tormented but determined to discover the truth and confront his nightmare, Paul begins investigating the deaths himself.

But that may not be the best thing to do. Maybe Paul should just take the typewriter back to where his wife found it. Maybe he should stop asking questions and simply walk away while he can. . . .

My thoughts: This was my first Linwood Barclay book and I can tell you with absolute certainty it will not be my last...especially if all his books are as good as this one. OMG...I devoured this one, reading it in one sitting!

This book starts with a bang and never really lets up. As soon as I read the prologue, I knew I was hooked, but the best part is that the whole story kept me glued to the pages - there was never a part that my interest waned...not one part! This book was so addicting and fast-paced, it was hard not to want to read it in one sitting.

I really liked that it was told from multiple perspectives. This helped to not only round out the story, but also add to the intrigue. You have Paul's perspective, who is dealing with major PTSD after his attack. But then there is his wife, Charlotte and also his therapist, Anna. I have to say, as much as I liked Paul's parts, I really liked Anna's parts - she had so much going on in her own life that you could not help but sympathize with her. I also loved that as much as Paul was trying to move on from all that had happened to him, you couldn't help but question his reliability at times. Was what was happening with the typewriter really happening or was it all in his head?

Of course, the typewriter plays a big part in this book and I have to say, this brought back fond memories of my own times with typewriters. Yes, I am old enough to have taken typing classes in high school - I actually took 2 or 3 - they were some of my favorite classes because I was so good at typing! Oh the frustrations of having to load a new piece of paper after making a huge mistake...and how comical Paul's son's comments were about the typewriter.

I loved the twists that came in this book - and while I did guess one of them - I didn't guess them all. I just had an inkling about the first twist and as soon as it was revealed, I was like "Ah ha...I was right!" But in no way did it detract from my enjoyment of this book...in fact, it only heightened it...I needed to find out how it happened and then of course, that was only the first of all the twists to come into play. I definitely did not see the others coming.  It was like the first of a series of reveals that just kept coming and it was mind-blowing, to say the least!

This book is certainly going down as a favorite of mine and I will definitely be checking out Linwood Barclay's back list. Have you read his other books? If so, what do you suggest I pick up next? And for those looking for a fun, addicting thriller, do yourself a favor and pick this one up - you'll be in for a treat!



  1. I'm really looking forward to this one. Have read several of Barclay's books. You might try TRUST YOUR EYES. It's about 5 or 6 years old, but it was really good. Barclay was writing 'bad things happen to regular people' books long before the current 'domestic noir'.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion...I'll look into this one. And I hope you get to read this one, soon - it's so good!

  2. All of Linwood Barclay's novels are riveting and well written. Humor as well as excellent portrayal. I have read all of his series and standalone novels.


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