#ThrowbackThursday ~ A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay #PsychologicalThriller

Paul Davis is on his way home late one night when he sees the car in front has a cracked tail light and is being driven erratically.

Realising it’s his colleague, Kenneth Hoffman, Paul decides to try to get Kenneth to stop, not sure if he’s drunk or looking for somewhere particular. Then Kenneth’s car pulls off onto the pavement. Paul pulls up behind him, ready to offer assistance, but instead makes a shocking discovery which earns him a blow to the head that nearly kills him.

The story then picks up eight months later. Hoffman is in jail having pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder. Paul is still recovering, seeing his therapist, Dr Anna White, regularly to help him move forward and live as normal a home life as possible. Returning to work seems a long way off considering the nightmares, memory lapses and PTSD like symptoms, among other things. Paul considers writing about his experiences, hoping attempting to put it into words and trying to determine what drove his former colleague to murder, might help him come to terms with what has happened. But things escalate when his wife surprises him with an old style typewriter, hoping it will encourage his creativity while giving him something to focus on.

A Noise Downstairs is initially character driven while we become acquainted with the main players, starting slowly after the prologue and building gradually, then taking off at a fast sprint with much more action. It’s mostly told from three perspectives – Paul, Charlotte, his second wife and Anna. The diverse and intriguing characters are crafted beautifully, the atmosphere throughout is palpable as the reader is hooked into the story, always with a sense of suspicion and impending doom. Paul invites sympathy, he’s had such a rough deal and it’s not getting any better as he begins to question his sanity and second guess everything that’s happening. The scenes are set perfectly and the pacing keeps the suspense high.

There’s a good selection of suspects, several complex threads that pull together as the plot thickens, clever and unexpected twists, a particular one that threw me completely, and a dramatic ending. A fantastically twisty thriller that was hard to put down.

51dr-v2jeflEVERY STEP…
Paul Davis forgets things – he gets confused, he has sudden panic attacks. But he wasn’t always like this.


Eight months ago, Paul found two dead bodies in the back of a co-worker’s car. He was attacked, left for dead, and has been slowly recovering ever since. His wife tries her best but fears the worst…


Therapy helps during the days, but at night he hears things – impossible things – that no one else can. That nobody else believes. Either he’s losing his mind – or someone wants him to think he is.

Just because he’s paranoid doesn’t mean it’s not happening…

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