REVIEW: A NOISE DOWNSTAIRS, BY LINWOOD BARCLAY

 

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: Every page of A Noise Downstairs grabbed me, as it recounted mysterious events that could all be in Paul’s mind…or from the supernatural. Or Paul himself could be sleepwalking, doing the things himself. The click-clicking of a vintage typewriter cast an eerie aura upon the events, adding just the right amount of creepiness to the tale.

Every event kept me guessing and wondering, even suspecting the numerous people in Paul’s life. I suspected his wife; I suspected his ex-wife; and even his therapist, at one point. Then there was an odd patient that had done similar things to other people. Could he somehow be sneaking into Paul’s home and doing these things?

Who could Paul trust? Who would have the most to gain by gaslighting Paul? Or was Paul so far off the rails that he needed to be locked up? Just when I thought I had it all figured out, every twist and turn afterwards stunned me, as the pieces finally came together rapidly, leaving me shaking my head. It turned out that nothing was as it seemed, and there were so many unexpected curve balls that I was breathless by the end. A brilliant 5 star read.

***

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