A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

Book Description:

Published: July 24, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The New York Times bestselling author of No Time for Goodbyereturns with a haunting psychological thriller that blends the twists and turns of Gillian Flynn with the driving suspense of Harlan Coben, in which a man is troubled by odd sounds for which there is no rational explanation.

College professor Paul Davis is a normal guy with a normal life. Until, driving along a deserted road late one night, he surprises a murderer disposing of a couple of bodies. That’s when Paul’s “normal” existence is turned upside down. After nearly losing his own life in that encounter, he finds himself battling PTSD, depression, and severe problems at work. His wife, Charlotte, desperate to cheer him up, brings home a vintage typewriter—complete with ink ribbons and heavy round keys—to encourage him to get started on that novel he’s always intended to write.

However, the typewriter itself is a problem. Paul swears it’s possessed and types by itself at night. But only Paul can hear the noise coming from downstairs; Charlotte doesn’t hear a thing. And she worries he’s going off the rails.

Paul believes the typewriter is somehow connected to the murderer he discovered nearly a year ago. The killer had made his victims type apologies to him before ending their lives. Has another sick twist of fate entwined his life with the killer—could this be the same machine? Increasingly tormented but determined to discover the truth and confront his nightmare, Paul begins investigating the deaths himself.

But that may not be the best thing to do. Maybe Paul should just take the typewriter back to where his wife found it. Maybe he should stop asking questions and simply walk away while he can. . .

Review –

While it was wholly compulsive and difficult to put down, A Noise Downstairs doesn’t become an action driven plot for the first 30-40% of the novel; it takes its time in a slow burning suspense while becoming acquainted with the characters, which is a style of writing I love. You get a lot of the set up from the synopsis, but initially we find our main narrator Paul caught in an unexpected exchange with co-worker Kenneth. Unfortunately, Paul has decided to follow Ken to inform him that he has a tail light out, things escalate, and Ken attempts to murder Paul. We are then thrust forward eight months after the incident, where Ken is in prison, Paul is spending time recovering with the help of his therapist, Anna, and his second wife, Charlotte, and things are tense. Paul thinks it will be cathartic to write about his experiences in hopes of working through his PTSD, so Charlotte surprises him with an old Underwood typewriter she found at a yard sale. The thing is, Paul starts hearing the typewriter in the middle of the night, and what unfolds is a tale of “Is he delusional or is someone out to get him?” in the most suspenseful format.

It’s like reading a Twilight (the television show) episode with a bit of Gaslight (the movie) thrown in and a bonus of several twists.

Great read.

 

The Fallen (Amos Decker #4) by David Baldacci

Book Description:

Published: April 17, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks. Cryptic clues left at the scenes–obscure bible verses, odd symbols–have the police stumped.

Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are in Baronville visiting Alex’s sister and her family. It’s a bleak place: a former mill and mining town with a crumbling economy and rampant opioid addiction. Decker has only been there a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene.

Then the next killing hits sickeningly close to home. And with the lives of people he cares about suddenly hanging in the balance, Decker begins to realize that the recent string of deaths may be only one small piece of a much larger scheme–with consequences that will reach far beyond Baronville.

Decker, with his singular talents, may be the only one who can crack this bizarre case. Only this time–when one mistake could cost him everything–Decker finds that his previously infallible memory may not be so trustworthy after all…

Review –

While on what’s supposed to be a low-key vacation, Amos Decker accidentally finds all kinds of trouble in The Fallen, the latest novel in David Baldacci’s  Memory Man series.

Amos, star agent of an elite FBI task force, and his partner, Alex Jamison, head to Baronville, Pennsylvania to visit Alex’s sister, Amber, and her children. Decker struggles to connect with his partner’s family. Only little Zoe, the six-year-old with an old soul, gets him to open up a bit when Amos admits to himself while sipping a beer on the back deck that when it comes to catching killers, “it’s really the other thing I’m good at.”

Decker tries to relax, at least until he notices the neighbor’s lights flicking next door, followed by sparks shooting through the window. Upon investigating things, he finds the reason for the flying sparks — blood from a corpse has begun soaking into exposed electrical wires.

It turns out that the dead body is one of several recent homicides to hit Baronville over the past few weeks. With the local police unable to make any headway on the open cases, Decker and Alex call off their vacation, roll up their sleeves, and get to work.

It doesn’t take long for the duo to realize that nothing about the small Pennsylvania town is quite what it seems — as Baronville has struggled since the local mill closed and an opioid addiction broke out among the town’s people.

After chasing several leads, an attempt is made on Decker’s life. But rather than scaring off the large FBI agent, Amos now knows he’s barking up the right tree. . . he just needs to stay alive long enough to reach the top and expose the real bad guys, and does he ever !!!!

I love the character of Amos Decker and I love this series!