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 –

This one is a must for your TBR if you are looking for a fast-paced story that is easily read in any setting and impossible to put down. If you’re new to this author,(as I am)then know his writing style is very similar to Harlan Coben’s, meaning there are usually many plot lines that start out removed from each other but are slowly brought together toward the end for the big reveal.

While it was wholly compulsive and difficult to put down, A Noise Downstairs doesn’t become an action driven plot for the first thirty to forty percent of the novel; we take our time in a slow burning suspense while becoming acquainted with the characters, which is a style of writing I’m quite partial to. Ok, except for that first section, which perfectly hooked my attention. 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.

The plot is told mostly through three points of view: Paul’s, Anna’s (the psychiatrist), and Charlotte’s (Paul’s current wife). Also sprinkled throughout the story we learn about Paul’s ex-wife, her new husband, Paul’s son, Anna’s father, and Kenneth and his family. Everything pretty much branches off from these particular head points, and there are side plots galore. Maybe a few people will find it unnecessarily confusing, but I thought it was tastefully done and added to the intrigue. Which side plots would turn out to be connected to the main? Which were red herrings? Which were unrelated but still vital to the story’s characterization? This was all present and kept me, a seasoned mystery fanatic, busy, preoccupied, and flustered in the best way possible.

I thought I had it all figured out, and I was both right and wrong. I LOVE IT WHEN THIS HAPPENS! Let me explain (minus the spoilers). If you are an expert detective while reading novels of suspense, or if you’ve even simply read a few, you’ll probably think you know where this is going. And you’d be right, EXCEPT… Here’s the thing, I had the who, the why, and some of the how figured out. There are only so many options to what’s going on with the dang typewriter, so naturally many readers will come to that conclusion on their own. What I loved was that the author gives us all this, and it’s a red herring in and of itself.  I won’t tell you exactly when this happens, because I don’t want you to be expecting it, but it’s not at the very end. And then come the waves of reveals my friends… WAVES! How exciting is it to keep receiving twists, both big and small, time after time until the last page is turned? The first twist that I hadn’t personally figured out knocked me completely off balance when it happened. It’s been awhile I’ve read a book where the author chose to use this particular plot element and it was beautifully done.

Fantastic read!

When Ashes Fall by Marnie Mann

Book Description:

Published: January 15, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

It’s been said that you can’t love two men at the same time.
You can’t split your heart, soul, and body in half.
But I’m here to tell you, you can.
Dylan Cole is like ice, sharp and unpredictable, the thunder inside a tumultuous storm.
Smith Reid is warmth, soft and gentle, perfect like a sunny day.
Both are mine.
But I can have only one.
There are two sides to this tale.
I’m here to tell you mine.
If you think this story is about a cheater, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Review –

In a few words… this book was breathtakingly beautiful. A look at life in the most devastating of times but also in the beautiful. The sun-filled days, the soul mate love, the love that helps you to move past the pain and live again. I was captivated, I was emotional, and my heart broke for the heartache and devastation but was built up again by the strong friendship and love between two best friends, the eternal love of one man, and the new love from the man who would one day help Alix heal.

I’m so excited to be introduced to a new author who I look forward to reading more from. In these days where it’s so hard to find good stories, Marni Mann has written something unique and exceptional and unforgettable that I will think about it for days.

I know I’m not saying much, but go in blind, read it, trust that you will get an amazing story you will fall in love with because When Ashes Fall is pure romance, it’s healing, and it will leave on mark on your soul forever. 

Fantastic read but you will need a box of Kleenex!

If I Run (If I Run #1) by Terri Blackstock

Book Description:

Published:

Format: Audio/Audible

 

Casey knows the truth.

But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

Review –

After finding best friend Brent Pace stabbed to death in his apartment, Casey Cox knows she will be the prime suspect and needs to make a decision quickly. Armed with thousands in cash that her father gave her for emergencies, she hops on a bus out of Shreveport, Louisiana, and becomes Grace Newland after purchasing the identity illegally.

Back in Shreveport, war-weary vet Dylan Roberts attends Brent’s funeral and is hired by a family friend in the police department to bring Casey home for questioning. As Dylan tries to determine Casey’s motive for murdering her friend, “Grace” is trying to establish a new life in Shady Grove, Georgia, thanks to Miss Lucy, an elderly woman she met on the bus. Sleuthing online from afar, Casey uncovers evidence that Brent had information pertaining to her father’s murder. Unsure who to trust as evidence begins to point to corrupt detectives, Casey digs into her family past to figure out what really happened to her father a decade before.

Dylan, just a few steps behind Casey, is skeptical of her involvement in Brent’s death. Will her questioning end up costing Casey her life, or will Dylan track her down in time to save them both? The author  is masterly in navigating the suspenseful fugitive plot, using the alternation of Casey’s and Dylan’s chapters to ratchet up the tension. Crisp dialogue and unexpected twists make this compulsive reading, and a final chapter cliffhanger leaves things poised for a sequel. 

I really enjoyed this story but the cliffhanger was a surprise because I didn’t know about the sequel. I plan on reading or listening to it as soon as I can find it.

Crazy Beautiful by Lucia Jordan

Book Description:

Published: April 18, 2017

Format: Free Digital Book

Valeri Huntington has her dream—a publicist for one of the top firms on the east coast. Nevertheless, she can’t help but feel like something is missing. A long list of men has been left in her wake because they just can’t seem to measure up or she finds a way to rationalize her way out of anything before it gets too serious. The one relationship she did have ended roughly and left her picking up the pieces up of her heart for months. After that breakup, she vowed to throw herself into her work and that’s where she’s been ever since. The night she ran into Dallas McCormick she was left feeling like she’d been hit with a ton of bricks. The reclusive man that lived in the mountains was somewhat of a legend. He’d outright insulted her and pissed her off like no one ever has, and yet, her body burned from a desire that she had no idea even existed.

Like a magnet, she was pulled to him and she had no idea why. Dallas McCormick was not the man everyone created rumors about. However, there is no denying that there is a dark shadow that looms over him, and it’s one that could very well put Valerie in harm’s way.

Review –

This is the first book in the Crazy Beautiful series and although it was good, I don’t plan to read the others. There was a bit of chemistry between Valeri and Dallas but it wasn’t the combustible type and it’s too predictable. Dallas is ex-military and suffers from PTSD and that’s what puts Valeri in harm’s way at the end of the book. The reader knows that everything is going to work out fine in the end so why spend money just to confirm that?

It was a short pleasant read. Great cover though!

 

 

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher

Book Description:

Published: October 3, 2013

Format: Audio/Library Book

Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl, Ashlee Parker. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary, the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.

Review –

This book  is told from the alternating points of view of Emily and Damon, either of whom could have everything to lose depending upon the outcome of the mystery.

Emily’s father suffers from PTSD after a horrifying incident during his military service, and is rendered largely unable to assist in his own defense, leaving her to try to prove his innocence. Damon was the last person to see Ashlee alive, but suffered from either a drug- or stress-induced memory loss that evening and doesn’t know what happened. Emily and Damon each feel that the other is the key to finding the answers they need. Their interaction begins with each steadfastly convinced of their side of the story, but as bits and pieces emerge their paths both become clouded with doubt, creating an interesting tension between them–they are drawn to one another as a source of information, though wariness prevails. 

The author does a fantastic job of turning the woods behind Emily’s house into a character in and of itself thus adding more intensity to the plot.

Damon and his friends play a Game( which was never fully explained) in the woods and Ashlee asks to join and so the rules blur and there are sexual fantasies involved as well as drugs and alcohol. I won’t say what happens but there is a hea for some while not for others.

 I enjoyed this book very much and while it is supposedly a YA book but I would recommend it for a very mature young adult.

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No Mercy : A Darker Continuation by Lucian Bane

Book Description:

Published: May 26, 2015

Sade and Mercy’s journey takes a dark turn in No Mercy A Darker Continuation some nightmares last only minutes. Sometimes those minutes can last a lifetime.

Dark lusts and self-loathing become a merciless dance Sade can’t escape. Surviving one night of horror leads him to a ledge he’s never been, where terror mixes with his sadism and masochism for a whole new monster with No Mercy.

Review –

I only thought MERCY was Dark, this one has it beat to HELL. 

Sade, Mercy and Bo are confronted with the sadistic “Father Abraham”, (who we find out is clinically insane, as if his actions aren’t a death give away) and are subjected to unspeakable torture.  After having their feet nailed to the floor (yes, you read right)  somehow, and things get a bit blurry in my mind here because just thinking of nails through my feet caused me to skip some paragraphs, Mercy is tied to a chair, gets thrown against a wall, chair and all and then suffers from PTSD  amnesia and they are all rescued by Kane Kross and Abraham is “killed”.

The rest of the story is Sade trying to get Mercy to remember who she is and who he is and what their relationship was before all the torture, but he’s warned to take it slow and he does at first. But, Sade being Sade, he can’t resist to speed things along and Mercy can’t remember him and the things he tells her only makes her more afraid of him.  He does things to her that he shouldn’t do(and almost kills her in the process) but then they are informed that they have to move out quick to another safe house and only the old Mercy knows the voice activated code that will get them to their escape vehicle. Finally she remembers and they get away just in the nick of time and her father shows up and she realizes he really isn’t dead and that she will never fully remember her old self but Sade also realises that the NEW Mercy loves him too. 

At the very end they find out that Abraham isn’t dead after all and he is coming after them with a vengeance.

Can’t wait to read the next installment.  WOW!!!!!

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