Book Review

A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

a noise downstairs

A Noise Downstairs is my first Linwood Barclay novel, but it won’t be my last, as I absolutely loved this novel.


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…

I found A Noise Downstairs to be a little different to most thrillers, in the best possible way.  This is the story of Paul Davis, who is recovering from a brutal attack eight months earlier.  Whilst therapy has helped, he still experiences lapses of memory, and suffers from horrific nightmares.  His wife, Charlotte, suggests confronting the experience head on as a way of dealing with the attack, and Paul begins to research the crime his co-worker, Kenneth, committed and that Paul unwittingly stumbled into.

They are two puzzles main puzzles here, and I found both of them riveting.  Firstly, there is Kenneth’s attack on Paul and the two bodies he was disposing of (no spoiler here – it’s all in the prologue and the blurb).  And then there’s Paul’s experiences as he conducts his investigation.  I won’t go into the details of this, as it would be all too easy to move into spoiler territory, but things take quite a strange turn and Paul, having exhausted all other explanations, comes to a rather odd conclusion, and one not shared by those around him.  I found myself questioning Paul as a narrator, much as those around him begin to have doubts, and I loved trying to work out what was really going on.

Whilst I did puzzle out some elements of the novel, something happens about two thirds of the way in that completely knocked me for six.  THAT I did not see coming!  And, if some of my guesses were right, there were other elements that I missed completely, leading me to conclude (once again) that anything I figured out was more luck than judgement.  Either way, I absolutely loved this novel, and found it to be incredibly suspenseful.  The short chapters make it all too easy to read “just one more”, and I could have happily read this in a single sitting had real life not so rudely interrupted.  A Noise Downstairs is a brilliantly written character driven thriller, and I can’t recommend it enough.

A Noise Downstairs was published on 12 July by Orion.  Many thanks to Rebecca Gray for the review copy.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


    1. Do it! I read quite a lot of thrillers, and this one stood out as having something a little different 🙂

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