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A noise downstairs / Linwood Barclay.

By: Barclay, Linwood [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Orion, 2018Copyright date: ©2018Description: 356 pages ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781409163992 (paperback).Subject(s): Victims of violent crimes -- Fiction | Home invasion -- Fiction | Memory -- Fiction | Typewriters -- Fiction | Murderers -- FictionGenre/Form: Thrillers (Fiction)DDC classification: 813.6 Summary: 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...
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

The multi-million copy international bestseller Linwood Barclay is back with a thriller that will keep you awake all night¿ Paul Davis forgets things. Why he walked into a room. Who he spoke to, and what they said. What he promised his wife he'd do. Sometimes it's too much, and the panic takes hold. But he wasn't always like this. Eight months ago, Paul was attacked - left for dead after seeing something he shouldn't have - and has been piecing his life back together ever since. During the days, therapy helps. But at night, he hears noises that no one else can. That nobody believes. Sometimes he thinks someone is in the house. Other times, the sounds are far stranger. Either he's losing his mind - or someone wants him to think he is. Or maybe something even darker is waiting downstairs...

"You're either losing your mind, or about to lose your life..."--Cover.

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...

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Prologue Driving along the Post Road late that early October night, Paul Davis was pretty sure the car driving erratically in front of him belonged to his colleague Kenneth Hoffman. The ancient, dark blue Volvo station wagon was a fixture around West Haven College, a cliché on wheels of what a stereotypical professor drove.   It was just after eleven, and Paul wondered whether Kenneth--always Kenneth, never Ken--knew his left taillight was cracked, white light bleeding through the red plastic lens. Hadn't he mentioned something the other day, about someone backing into him in the faculty parking lot and not leaving a note under the windshield wiper?   A busted taillight was the kind of thing that undoubtedly would annoy Kenneth. The car's lack of back-end symmetry, the automotive equivalent of an unbalanced equation, would definitely irk Kenneth, a math and physics professor. The way the Volvo was straying toward the center line, then jerking suddenly back into its own lane, worried Paul that something might be wrong with Kenneth. Was he nodding off at the wheel, then waking up to find himself headed for the opposite shoulder? Was he coming home from someplace where he'd had too much to drink? If Paul were a cop, he'd hit the lights, whoop the siren, pull him over. But Paul was not a cop, and Kenneth was not some random motorist. He was a colleague. No, more than that. Kenneth was a friend. A mentor. Paul didn't have a set of lights atop his car, or a siren. But maybe he could, somehow, pull Kenneth over. Get his attention. Get him to stop long enough for Paul to make sure he was fit to drive. And if he wasn't, give him a lift home. It was the least Paul could do. Even if Kenneth wasn't the close friend he once was. When Paul first arrived at West Haven, Kenneth had taken an almost fatherly interest in him. They'd discovered, at a faculty meet and greet, that they had a shared, and not particularly cerebral, interest.They loved 1950s science fiction movies. Forbidden Planet , Destination Moon , Earth vs. the Flying Saucers , T he Day the Earth Stood Still . The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman , they agreed, was nothing short of a masterpiece. Once they'd bonded over the geekiest of subjects, Kenneth offered Paul a West Haven crash course. The politics of academia would come over time, but what a new guy really needed to know was how to get a good parking spot. Who was the person to connect with in payroll if they screwed up your monthly deposit? What day did you avoid the dining hall? (Tuesday, as it turned out. Liver.) Paul came to realize, over the coming years, he was something of an exception for Kenneth. The man was more likely to offer his orientation services to new female hires, and from what Paul heard, it was more intensive. There were a lot of sides to Kenneth, and Paul still wasn't sure he knew all of them. But whatever his misgivings about Kenneth, they weren't enoughto let the man drive his station wagon into the ditch and kill himself. And it would be just himself. As far as Paul could see, there was no one in the passenger seat next to Kenneth.  The car had traveled nearly a mile now without drifting into the other lane, so maybe, Paul thought, Kenneth had things under control. But there was an element of distraction to the man's driving. He'd be doing the speed limit, then the brake lights would flash--including the busted one--and the car would slow. But then, it would pick up speed. A quarter mile later, it would slow again. Kenneth appeared to be making frequent glances to the right, as though hunting for a house number. It was an odd area to be looking for one. There were no houses. This stretch of the Post Road was almost entirely commercial. What was Kenneth up to, exactly? Not that driving around Milford an hour before midnight had to mean someone was up to something. After all, Paul was out on the road, too, and if he'd gone straight home after attending a student theatrical production at West Haven he'd be there by now. But here he was, driving aimlessly, thinking. About Charlotte. He'd invited her to come along. Although Paul was not involved in the production, several of his students were, and he felt obliged to be supportive. Charlotte, a real estate agent, begged off. She had a house to show that evening. And frankly, waiting while a prospective buyer checked the number of bedrooms held the promise of more excitement than waiting for Godot. Even if his wife hadn't had to work, Paul would have been surprised if she'd joined him. Lately, they'd been more like roommates who shared a space rather than partners who shared a life. Charlotte was distant, preoccupied. It's just work, she'd say, when he tried to figure out what might be troubling her. Could it be Josh, he wondered? Did she resent it when his son came for the weekend? No, that couldn't be it. She liked Josh, had gone out of her way to make him feel welcome and-- Hello . Kenneth had his blinker on. He steered the Volvo wagon into an industrial park that ran at right angles to the main road. A long row of businesses, every one of them no doubt closed for the last five hours or more.  If Kenneth was impaired, or sleepy, he might still have enough sense to get off the road and sleep it off. Maybe he was going to use his phone. Call a taxi. Either way, Paul was thinking it was less urgent for him to intervene. Still, Paul slowed and pulled over to the side of the road just beyond where Kenneth had turned in. The Volvo drove around to the back of the building, brake lights flashing. It stopped a few feet from a Dumpster. Why go around the back? Paul wondered. What was Kenneth up to? He killed his headlights, turned off the engine, and watched. In Paul's overactive imagination, the words drug deal came up in lights. But there was nothing in Kenneth's character to suggest such a thing. And, in fact, Kenneth didn't appear to be meeting anyone.There was no other car, no suspicious person materializing out of the darkness. Kenneth got out, the dome light coming on inside. He slammed the door shut, circled around the back until he was at the front passenger door, and opened it. Kenneth bent over to pick up something.  Paul could not make out what it was. Dark--although everything looked pretty dark--and about the size of a computer printer, but irregularly shaped. Heavy, judging by the way Kenneth leaned back slightly for balance as he carried it the few steps over to the Dumpster. He raised the item over the lip and dropped it in. "What the hell?" Paul said under his breath. Kenneth closed the passenger-side door, went back around to the driver's side, and got in behind the wheel. Paul slunk down in his seat as the Volvo turned around and came back out onto the road. Kenneth drove right past him and continued in the same direction. Paul watched the Volvo's taillights recede into the distance. He turned and looked to the Dumpster, torn between checking to see what Kenneth had tossed into it, and continuing to follow his friend. When he'd first spotted Kenneth, Paul had been worried about him. Now, add curious. Whatever was in that Dumpster would, in all likelihood, still be there in a few hours. Paul keyed the ignition, turned on his lights, and threw the car back into drive. The Volvo was heading north out of Milford. Beyond the houses and grocery stores and countless other industrial parks and downwinding country roads canopied by towering trees. At one point, they passed a police car parked on the shoulder, but they were both cruising along under the limit.   Paul began to wonder whether Kenneth had any real destination in mind. The Volvo's brake lights would flash as he neared a turnoff, but then the car would speed up until the next one. Kenneth, again, appeared to be looking for something. Suddenly, it appeared Kenneth had found it. The car pulled well off the pavement. The lights died. Paul, about a tenth of a mile back, could see no reason why Kenneth had stopped there. There was no driveway, no nearby home that Paul could make out. Paul briefly considered driving right on by, but then thought, Fuck this cloak-and-daggershit. I need to see if he's okay. So Paul hit the blinker and edged his car onto the shoulder, coming to a stop behind the Volvo wagon just as Kenneth was getting out. His door was open, the car's interior bathed in weak light. Kenneth froze. He had the look of an inmate heading for the wall, caught in the guard tower spotlight. Paul quickly powered down his window and stuck his head out. "Kenneth! It's me!" Kenneth squinted. "It's Paul! Paul Davis!" It took a second for Kenneth to process that. Once he had, he walked briskly toward Paul's car, using his hand as a visor to shield his eyes from Paul's headlights. As Paul started to get out of the car, leaving the engine and headlights on, Kenneth shouted, "Jesus, Paul, what are you doing here?" Paul didn't like the sound of his voice. Agitated, on edge. He met Kenneth halfway between the two cars. "I was pretty sure that was your car. Thought you might be having some trouble." No need to mention he'd been following him for miles. "I'm fine, no problem," Kenneth said, clipping his words. He twitched oddly, as though he wanted to look back at his car but was forcing himself not to. "Were you following me?" he asked. "Not--no, not really," Paul said. Kenneth saw something in the hesitation. "How long?" "What?" "How long were you following me?" "I really wasn't--" Paul stopped. Something in the back of the Volvo had caught his eye. Between the headlights of his car, and the Volvo's dome light, it was possible to see what looked like mounds of clear plastic sheeting bunched up above the bottom of the tailgate window. "It's nothing," Kenneth said quickly. "I didn't ask," Paul said, taking a step closer to the Volvo. "Paul, get in your car and go home. I'm fine. Really." Paul only then noticed the dark smudges on Kenneth's hands, splotches of something on his shirt and jeans. "Jesus, are you hurt?" "I'm okay." "That looks like blood." When Paul moved toward the Volvo, Kenneth grabbed for his arm, but Paul shook him off. Paul was a good fifteen years younger than Kenneth, and regular matches in the college's squash courts had kept him in reasonably good shape. Paul got to the tailgate and looked through the glass. "Jesus fucking Christ!" he said, suddenly cupping his hand over his mouth. Paul thought he might be sick. Kenneth, standing behind him, said, "Let . . . let me explain." Paul took a step back, looked at Kenneth wide-eyed."How . . . who is . . . who are they?" Kenneth struggled for words. "Paul--" "Open it," Paul said. "What?" "Open it!" he said, pointing to the tailgate. Kenneth moved in front of him and reached for the tailgate latch. Another interior light came on, affording an even better look at the two bodies running lengthwise, both wrapped in that plastic, heads to the tailgate, feet up against the back of the front seats. The rear seats had been folded down to accommodate them, as if they were sheets of plywood from Home Depot. While their facial features were heavily distorted by the opaque wrapping, and the blood, it was clear enough that they were both female. Adults. Two women. Paul stared, stunned, his mouth open. His earlier feeling that he would be sick had been displaced by shock. "I was looking for a place," Kenneth said calmly. "A what?" "I hadn't found a good spot yet. I'd been thinking in those woods there, before, well, before you came along." Paul noticed, at that point, the shovel next to the body of the woman on the left. "I'm going to turn off the car," Kenneth said. "It's not good for the environment."  Paul suspected Kenneth would hop in and make a run for it. With the tailgate open, if he floored it, the bodies might slide right out onto the shoulder. But Kenneth was true to his word. He leaned into the car, turned the key to the off position. The engine died. Paul wondered who the two women could be. He felt numb, that this could not be happening. A name came into his head. He didn't know why, exactly, but it did. Charlotte . Kenneth rejoined him at the back of the car. Did the man seem calmer? Was it relief at being caught? Paul gave him another look, but his eyes were drawn back to the bodies. Who are they?" Paul said, his voice shaking. "Tell me who theyare." He couldn't look at them any longer, and turned away. "I'm sorry about this," Kenneth said. Paul turned. "You're sorry about--" He saw the shovel Kenneth wielded, club-like, for no more than a tenth of a second before it connected with his skull. Then everything went black. Excerpted from A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.