A NOISE DOWNSTAIRS is a standalone thriller by Linwood Barclay.
Paul Davis, a college professor, sees one of his colleagues, Kenneth Hoffman, driving erratically, so he decides to follow him to make sure he is OK. When Paul finally catches up with Kenneth, he makes a terrible discovery, then Kenneth tries to kill him.
Now 8 months later, Kenneth is in prison. Paul has almost recovered physically and is seeing a psychologist, Anna White, to help him deal with his mental trauma. Paul’s wife Charlotte has been very supportive. She has encouraged him to write about his experience and bought him an antique typewriter as inspiration.
But once the typewriter is in the house, Paul starts to hear typing in the middle of the night. Then messages start to appear on the typewriter. Paul becomes convinced that the typewriter is the one that Kenneth used to make his murder victims write notes and that the murder victims are trying to communicate with him through the typewriter. Either that, or he is writing the messages himself without knowing that he is doing it. He, Charlotte and Anna all fear that he is losing his mind.
As Paul tries to discover what is going on, he only becomes more confused and his life starts to disintegrate.
The end of the story is very dramatic.
This novel was an absolute page-turner. I was completely engrossed in Paul’s life and problems and some of the twists in the novel were very hard to predict. I saw Gabriella’s role fairly early on, but Charlotte’s role came as a complete surprise.
There were some excellent characters in the story. I particularly liked Anna’s other patient Gavin and Anna’s ageing father (with dementia) Frank.
I’ve yet to come across a Linwood Barclay novel that I didn’t enjoy and I’m hoping to read more soon.