A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay (2018)

a noise downstairs

L: 7/10

M: 8/10


Analysis from a rechargeable battery, dead and locked within a device you desperately need to charge:

Another guest pick, from a family member, to clear off some bookshelf real estate. As with the last, and the one prior, and the one past prior,  A Noise Downstairs has the overall feel of something mass-produced. Now, that isn’t always a bad thing. This is a case against that general misconception in itself. It is hard to describe the feeling when you read one of these. It’s like there was a general script, and all the dialog is fed through a book writing algorithm. With every sentence, I further contradict myself, as I thoroughly enjoyed this pick. To further fail and explain, I shall simply move on.

Linwood Barclay created a nice little thriller slash “whodunit” slash “didanyonedoanything?” The protagonist, Paul, deals with being in the wrong place, or maybe the right place, at the wrong time, and his memory is doing anything but helps out the situation. As he struggles to deal with a near-death event, several things stand in his way, even pushing him to the breaking point. Some red herrings are placed throughout, but the minimal cast of characters kind of limits the potential outcomes. All that said, the ending still twisted several times before unveiling the true sinister intents of almost all involved. One of the most shocking events of the book is the end of the main character, with the final chapters wrapping up the why, and then finally, the who.

I’m not sure that this entry would lead me to seek out more from Mr. Barclay, but I will continue to not shy away from these types of books and authors. They serve as great palate cleansers and great time killer on a cross country flight.

Analysis from your favorite socks that you can never find:

This book was a big surprise. Thought to be a quick vacation read type of book and just something off our normal radar, I didn’t expect much. I was mistaken. I immediately fell into the author’s rhythm and voice. Going in with lowered expectations allowed me to just pack my bags and be along for the journey. The story was original and complex without the added clutter of unnecessary characters or too many plot twists meant to lead you astray.

I often complain about books ending with a sudden force and neatly tied up loose endings on the last two pages, but again this book was a pleasant surprise. I felt the closure was fitting to the speed of the book. I appreciated the creativity and heaviness balanced with tender moments. Nothing felt recycled or wasteful.

I would say this is still a vacation author for me. I am not required to overthink or process, yet nothing feels dumbed down. His style is enjoyable and ideas clever. I’ll be grabbing more of his works in the future!


Barclay Linwood

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