Perhaps the best review I can give for Linwood Barclay’s A Noise Downstairs is my Goodreads status updates:
July 31, 2018 – Started ReadingAugust 1, 2018 – page 222 60.33% “I feel like [potential spoiler redacted]. My money’s on [potential spoiler redacted].”August 1, 2018 – page 239 64.95% “Ok that was creepy.”August 1, 2018 – page 263 71.47% “Ok that was unexpected…”August 1, 2018 – page 280 76.09% “There’s something about [potential spoiler redacted] I don’t trust. What’s up with [them]?”August 1, 2018 – page 283 76.9% “I knew it! 😡”August 1, 2018 – page 284 77.17% “OMG WHAAAAAAT???!!! 😱 oh no no no nooooo… 😭”August 1, 2018 – page 329 89.4% “Oh wow…”August 1, 2018 – page 331 89.95% “Sh*t. Mistake to read this in bed, especially when I have a typewriter of my own…”
In case you couldn’t tell: I absolutely loved this book. I’ve been a fan of Barclay’s work since No Time for Goodbye, and so I don’t mean it lightly when I say A Noise Downstairs is his best work yet. More than any of his other books, this one grabbed me almost immediately and never let me go.
The book is about Paul, an English professor who witnesses a colleague trying to cover up a double murder — and almost gets murdered himself. The murderer is arrested, and called the “Apology Killer,” because he made his victims type up apology notes on a typewriter before cutting their throats.
Eight months later, he’s still working through his trauma with a therapist, and his wife Charlotte gives him an antique typewriter to cheer him up. Except the typewriter itself turns out to be another source of stress, as Paul could swear he hears the clickety-click of its keys late at night, when everyone else is asleep. Is Paul losing his mind, or could this be the typewriter used in the murders, haunted by the spirits of the victims?
A Noise Downstairs is a mindfuck of a psychological thriller. It’s creepy and atmospheric, and it’s also a fast-paced page turner. Barclay does a great job of taking us along with Paul’s journey. Like Paul, we end up rethinking our perception of things over and over again, and far too quickly to really keep up and take a breather. I absolutely loved this book, and highly recommend it.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.