Noise Downstairs
by Barclay, Linwood

Battling PTSD and depression after accidentally stumbling into a murder scene, a college professor begins writing his novel on a vintage typewriter that he comes to believe is possessed and somehow linked to the crime he survived.

*Starred Review* Several months ago, college lecturer Paul Davis was nearly murdered by a close friend after he caught the friend in the act of disposing of the bodies of two dead women. Now Paul is still struggling to recover from a serious head injury-not to mention trying to come to terms with the fact that his friend, now in prison, is a murderer. He's experiencing memory lapses, nightmares, depression, and-most troubling-the repeated feeling that someone, apparently the ghost of one of the dead women, is trying to communicate with him through an old typewriter. Is there something paranormal going on? Or is Paul being gaslighted? If so, by whom? The imprisoned killer's son or wife? Paul's own wife, or his ex-wife? This could be Barclay's most structurally intricate novel (and he's written a string of very good thrillers, including Trust Your Eyes?, 2012), an engagingly convoluted, thoroughly suspenseful story. Barclay takes a lot of risks here, too-there are several points where the story could have fallen apart, where a single too-obvious clue might have pulled readers right out of the action-but he does a masterful job of layering on the mysteries until we're almost frantically turning the pages, impatient to find out what the hell is going on. A beautifully executed thriller. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

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