A Noise Downstairs

A Noise Downstairs A novel by Linwood Barclay

I am on a roll with my suspense novel picks, as of late. After recently reading and very much enjoying “The French Girl” (see our October book blog for a review) I was in the mood for more. I’m happy to say I found a great read in the book, A Noise Downstairs, by Linwood Barclay.

From the author’s website:

""An Indie Next Pick for August. A Barnes & Noble Best New Mysteries Selection. One of Crime Reads Most Anticipated Summer Crime Reads and Thrillers.

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….”."

If you’re a fan of the works of Stephen King, this book will probably appeal to you. The possessed typewriter in A Noise Downstairs is very reminiscent of Kings “Christine”. As King did in that book, Barclay does a great job of giving his machine all the insidious traits that continually ramp up the suspense. In my opinion it’s not quite up to par with King’s classics, (which is why they are classics!) but it’s definitely an intriguing, suspenseful read and will keep you turning the pages.

A few chapters in I had decided that I knew how the story was going to end, and I’m proud to say I was correct. While that would usually really bother me and make me want to put the book down, this story was very well written and, despite the fact that I thought I had it figured out, I enjoyed reading on, not just to satisfy my curiosity as to whether or not I am a super sleuth, but just because it was so very interesting.

Barclay gives exquisite descriptions of the scenes and settings in this story, so as you read on, you can place yourself right there, along with the other characters. He also does an excellent job of making the main character, Paul, very likable from the get-go. I truly felt for this “normal guy with a normal life”, and what he was experiencing. I was very much hoping that he’d be able to go back to his normal life in the end.

A Noise Downstairs is a quick read, but that doesn’t keep it from packing quite a punch between it’s covers. In fact, as with the mysterious and frightening messages the typewriter leaves for Paul, in many ways, this story writes itself.

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