A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

5 Stars from me

So good, so good, so good, so good!

Another masterpiece from Linwood Barlcay, A Noise Downstairs is a fine example of the Hitchcockesque style that I absolutely raced through it and loved every moment.

Haunted typewriter – check
Average Joe murderer – check
Plot holes you can drive a truck thru – check
Accidental hero – check
Crazy old guy – check
Inappropriate psychiatrist – check
Infidelity – check
Red herrings – check
Dysfunctional families – check

It’s all there, I mean come on what more do you want from a fabulous, kitsch, creepy little thriller?

I think Never Saw It Coming will forever remain my favourite Linwood Barclay novel but this one is coming a pretty close second.

Synopsis: The New York Times bestselling author of No Time for Goodbye returns 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…

Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

4 Stars from me!

Another belter from one of my all time favourite authors, Linwood Barclay!

Elevator Pitch is clever and incredibly fast paced – you will race through this book whether you plan to or not as you will be swept up and along in the mayhem as the story unfolds.

As ever with Barclay’s books, the characterisation is sublime – whether someone features for half a chapter or whether they are in it for the whole book – you literally feel as though you know the person, you can see them, smell them, imagine their apartment or their features and practically hear their voice. Linwood Barclay is a genius in this respect.

I love all the clever little touches – like the #poorGlover hashtag and all the fake Mayor twitter accounts, I love all the petty squabbles between couples and the minute details about a persons day.

My overall favourite Linwood Barclay book remains Never Saw It Coming but I highly recommend this author and any of his work – if you want a consistently clever, entertaining and intelligent read you won’t go far wrong.

Synopsis: The New York Times bestselling author of A Noise Downstairs and No Time for Goodbye returns with an edge-of-your-seat thriller that does for elevators what Psycho did for showers and Jaws did for the beach—a heart-pounding tale in which a series of disasters paralyzes New York City with fear.

It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets. Right to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world—and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment—is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men in women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.

Who is behind this? Why are they doing it? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers before the city’s newest, and tallest, residential tower has its Friday night ribbon-cutting.

With each diabolical twist, Linwood Barclay ratchets up the suspense, building to a shattering finale. Pulsating with tension, Elevator Pitch is a riveting tale of psychological suspense that is all too plausible . . . and will chill readers to the bone.

“This novel moves as fast as a falling elevator and hits with just as much force. Linwood Barclay is a stone cold pro and Elevator Pitch is a shameless good time.”
—Joe Hill, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman and Strange Weather

The Twenty-Three by Linwood Barclay

4 stars from me

I’ve only given The Twenty-Three 4 stars but have now realised I haven’t read book 2 in the Promise Falls Trilogy! Whoops. This will have to be remedied and may will mean that the star count on this book will be adjusted!

I have read Broken Promise but am clearly now going to have to find myself a copy of Far From True. What a schoolboy error.


As ever with Linwood Barclay books, this is a fast paced story with many, many different threads to follow. You need to keep your wits about you in order to keep up.

The depth of this story is quite staggering, how on earth the author managed to keep everything intact and true to the earlier emergences of this story is so impressive. Did he have everything pegged out from day 1?

Judging it purely on this book alone, I got muddled with one of the characters and the reasons for his actions, I would have enjoyed more clarity on this which possibly I would have gained from reading book 2. I could kick myself for not reading them in order so I most definitely recommend you avoid my stupidity and read them as intended!

On the whole, this is a big book and yet I flew through it. There are so many characters and yet they are all different quirky and unique with their own back story and definitions – Linwood Barclay truly is the master of thriller writing and building depth to his books.

I just noticed today that my favourite ever Barclay book is being made into a film, I am SO excited. I can’t wait to see it! So if you haven’t yet read Never Saw It Coming, may I suggest you read that next 🙂


Synopsis: A dark cloud of suspicion and fear continues to hang over the town of Promise Falls.

A series of bizarre, ominously threatening incidents suggests someone is plotting to take revenge on the town. But who is the perpetrator, and revenge for what? Now the time for threats is over. And the inhabitants are about to discover the truth, with devastating consequences.

Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay

Trust Your Eyes5 Stars from me

Have I mentioned I like Linwood Barclay books?

I really enjoyed Trust Your Eyes, it was a quick read with an unpredictable story-line and packed full of satisfying characters.

There were several different sub stories at play during this book and the one regarding the death of Chris and Ray’s father was excellent, very subtle and low key through the book but excellent. I read those bits with a knot in my stomach knowing what Ray was thinking, and hoping wasn’t true.

There are lots of characters to keep tabs on but Linwood Barclay writes so eloquently that you have no trouble keeping track of everyone and the end result is that of a whirlwind, a twister and a hurricane of stories all combining together to make one massive super-storm of  a book.

There was a darker thread throughout the book, a separate story-line regarding Thomas, which I felt was incredibly well done as it was portrayed sensitively and yet it didn’t seem out of place within the rest of the book.

I loved the hit woman, I loved Ray, I thought Thomas’ traits and personality were incredibly well observed and I enjoyed the tongue in cheek aspect of the talks with the president!

The only negative for me was Ray’s romantic relationship, something about it just felt a bit false. I know it was kinda integral to the story but I think it would have worked better without the romance included.

Another absolute blinder (no pun intended) from Mr Barclay, although Never Saw It Coming is still my favourite!


Synopsis: Map-obsessed Thomas spends his days and nights on a virtual tour of the world through his computer screen, believing he must store the details of every town and city in his head. Then one day, while surfing a street view program, he sees something that shouldn’t be there: a woman being murdered behind a window on a New York street.

When Thomas tells his brother Ray what he has witnessed, Ray humours him with a half-hearted investigation – until he realises Thomas may have stumbled onto a deadly conspiracy, which puts them both in danger…

With enough suspense to rival a Hitchcock film, this is a thriller with edge.

Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay

Never Look AwaySynopsis: It starts with a trip to a local amusement park. David Harwood is hoping a carefree day will help dispel his wife Jan’s recent depression that has led to frightening thoughts of suicide. Instead, a day of fun with their son Ethan turns into a nightmare.

When Jan disappears from the park, David’s worst fears seem to have come true. But when he goes to the police to report her missing, the facts start to indicate something very different. The park’s records show that only two tickets were purchased, and CCTV shows no evidence that Jan ever entered the park at all. Suddenly David’s story starts to look suspicious – and the police to wonder if Jan’s already dead, murdered by her husband.

To prove his innocence and keep his son from being taken away from him, David is going to have to dig deep into the past and come face to face with a terrible childhood tragedy – but by doing that he could risk destroying everything precious to him…

An easy 5 Stars from me! 

This book is brilliant! Linwood Barclay true to form, an absolute page turning, roller coaster (sorry, bad pun) of a read: go buy it!

I’m tempted to leave the review there actually… kinda sums it all up!

I think my favourite Linwood Barclay novel is still Never Saw It Coming (I loved that book), but Never Look Away is coming in as a close second. They are completely different storylines, with a completely different feeling to the book but each has that same mounting sense of tension and that same ‘unputdownable’ quality.

I adore the characters that Linwood (I even love his name; excuse the gushing, I’m not usually a gusher) creates. The female cop in Never Saw It Coming is just inspired, she is a fabulous character. I often read books failing to find any connection or empathy with the main protagonist, let alone the side characters but each and every one of Linwood’s burst to life in my mind and become fully fledging living and breathing people with whom you cannot help but form a relationship.

David and Jan are a real, believable couple. His parents are real, Jan’s ‘parents’ are real. Each person and their relationships to others is so well crafted and yet within so few words. It is an incredible skill and I take my hat off to Linwood Barclay for being able to create such deep and wonderful situations for me to enjoy. Ok so maybe they aren’t just for me but you get the idea.

All in all a very enjoyable read with several subplots alongside the main story, highly recommended.


A Tap On The Window by Linwood Barclay

A Tap On The WindwoSynopsis: When Cal Weaver stops at red light on a rainy night while driving home, he ignores the bedraggled-looking teenaged girl trying to hitch a lift. Even when she starts tapping on his window. But when she says, ‘Hey, aren’t you Scott’s dad?’ and he realizes she’s one of his son’s classmates, he can’t really ignore her. OK, so giving a ride to a teenage girl might not be the smartest move, but how much harm could it do?

Over the next 24 hours Cal is about to find out. When the girl, Claire, asks to stop at a restroom on the way home, he’s happy to oblige. But the girl who gets back in the car seems strangely nervous, and it’s only when they get nearer their destination that Cal realizes she no longer has the nasty cut that he noticed on Claire’s hand. After he’s finally let her out of the car he remains puzzled and intrigued. But it’s only the next morning that he starts to really worry. That’s when the police cruiser turns up at his door and asks him if he gave a lift to a girl the previous night. A girl who has now been found brutally murdered.

If Cal is going to clear his name he’s going to have to figure out what Claire was really up to and what part he played in her curious deception. But doing so will involve him in some of the small town of Griffon’s most carefully kept secrets – and a conspiracy as bizarre as it is deadly.

4 Stars from me

Now as any regular readers of my blog will know, I love a bit of Linwood Barclay and would be more than happy to read anything that he cared to write, so it is sometimes hard for me not to just award 5 stars simply because I think he’s ace! Having said that, I always try to be entirely honest with my reviews and I feel this particular Barclay novel is just slightly lacking what would be required to attain that fifth star.

Most of the way through I couldn’t help myself thinking ‘would I have given that girl a lift?’ yes, probably, but ‘would I have given her a lift if I was a man?’ no way! I’d have stopped and rung her parents. Actually, even as a woman I still think I’d have rung her parents first. So as this guy was a private detective you’d think he’d be only too aware of the dangers of picking up a teenage girl he barely knew. A somewhat pedantic starting point to the review but for me it meant the book got off on the wrong foot.

A Tap On The Window has a good and fast moving plot with well defined characters and lots of twists and turns and clever story construction. I found myself liking and hating various people as they cropped up in the book and even downright despising some of them; this is definitely a page turner and I found I simply had to keep reading to see how each sub story would play out.

I liked that fact that A Tap On The Window has some pretty dark and gritty elements to it alongside the general whodunnit theme, this extra scene setting adds such a depth of reality to Linwood Barclay’s books; he really is a clever old sausage.

Overall, I think this book pretty much sums up why I wouldn’t want to live in an outback town! The corruption and misery seem all too real and the thought of being a teenager growing up in that town is somewhat unappealing, equally so for girls and boys with the majority of the town police force acting outside of the law.

I’m still tempted to change this to a 5 star review as I thought the ending and the build up to it was excellent, which is so very rare these days.

If you’ve never read anything by Linwood Barclay then you are sorely missing out!


The Accident by Linwood Barclay

The AccidentSynopsis: Glen Garber’s life has just spiralled out of control. His wife’s car is found at the scene of a drunk-driving accident that took three lives. Not only is she dead, but it appears she was the cause of the accident.

Suddenly Glen has to deal with a potent mixture of emotions: grief at the loss of his wife, along with anger at her reckless behaviour that leaves their young daughter motherless. If only he could convince himself that Sheila wasn’t responsible for the tragedy.

But as more and more secrets begin to surface, Glen may have to face something much, much worse…

4 Stars from me.

I have to say I’m quite in love with Linwood Barclay’s novels at the moment. Each one has a fast and fluid pace which keeps you reading ‘just one more chapter’ until yet again you are late for work, or yet again that early night has turned into a 1am readathon.

The Accident was every bit as good as I’d expected and I raced through it in no time. My only reason for not giving the full 5 stars is because I felt that the beginning of the book was a little disparate; it spent too much building back story and planting red herrings and not enough time being a great story.

That sounds more negative than it was, it’s a minor thing really and possibly I’m being too picky 😉

The plot and storyline are good and keeping you guessing all the way through, literally up until the last few pages. I struggled a little to connect emotionally with the characters however which gave the book less impact in the long run.

Overall, if you like Linwood Barclay then you’ll like this but it’s not in the same league as Never Saw It Coming.



Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay

5 Stars from me!

Never Saw It Coming

This book is amazeballs!

I absolutely loved reading Never Saw It Coming and have recommended it to several people already 🙂

From the intro piece I expected this to be a stone cold, gripping, gruesome thriller but to my surprise (and delight) it is actually an incredibly fun, almost black comedy, thriller!

Even though it is a tongue in cheek story it is also backed with twists and turns and unpredictable events as the story unfolds. Some things I guessed at, some things I didn’t and once thing I didn’t see coming was that by the end of the book I was rooting for the woman who was essentially ‘the bad guy!’.

I contacted Linwood Barclay on twitter to say thank you for such a fun and engaging read – he kindly replied and said that he’d had a ball writing it! A win win situation huh.

Great book – highly recommended.