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A Noise Downstairs
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Archive: Other Books > A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay - 4 stars

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Ellen | 2137 comments Paul Davis is a good guy; a good guy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Driving home late one night, Paul sees Kenneth Hoffman, a fellow professor at West Haven College, driving erratically down a dark country road. Paul's concern that Kenneth might be ill causes him to follow his colleague. When Kenneth pulls over to the side of the road, Paul stops his car and approaches a visibly distraught Kenneth. Kenneth tries to keep Paul away from his vehicle, but Paul clearly sees two bodies wrapped in heavy plastic in the back of the car. As Paul turns to confront Kenneth, Paul is hit violently with a shovel and that is the last Paul remembers of that evening.

Months later, Kenneth is now in prison serving time for a double murder. Paul is slowly recovering from his near fatal head wound. He certainly would have died had a police car not happened by the scene shortly after the attack. Paul and his second wife Charlotte, a real estate agent, live a quiet life on the Atlantic shore. Nightmares, paranoia and forgetfulness plague Paul on a daily basis. His sessions with an kind, understanding psychologist, Ann White, have helped somewhat but Paul feels that he needs to confront his fears and document what he remembers of that fateful night. Knowing that her husband has always wanted one, Charlotte buys Paul an old Underwood typewriter at a garage sale. He is thrilled with the gift and hopes it will be his muse as he tries to sort out his memories. "Chit, chit chit, chit....". That is the sound that awakens Paul in the middle of the night. The typewriter. When Paul rushes into his office there is no one there and the typewriter is silent. Night after night Paul hears the sound; Charlotte never does. When he leaves a blank sheet of paper in the typewriter one night, he is awakened by the clicking keys and is horrified to find a message on the paper - a plea from the two women that Kenneth killed.

Charlotte and Dr. White are concerned that Paul is becoming delusional. The only explanation can be that Paul is doing all of this himself but not remembering it. Paul is positive he has done no such thing but if it is not him, he is too frightened to speculate about the messages.

This is another great thriller from the very capable Barclay. I really felt for Paul and his terrible situation. His feeling that he was losing his grip on reality was so sad. Some of the final reveal I had figured out but the book went somewhere I definitely did not expect. It's a good one.

LibraryCin | 8335 comments You must jump on Barclay's books as soon as they come out!? Every time you review one, it's a new one to me! Although, there are probably still quite a few I haven't gotten to that are older.

Ellen | 2137 comments I actually do a request for purchase at work as soon as I hear of a new one. One of the nice benefits of working in a library.

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