Beau­ti­fully crafted and full of twists

The Witness - - INSIGHT - A NOISE DOWN­STAIRS LIN­WOOD BAR­CLAY ORION BOOK RE­VIEWER: STEPHANIE ALEXAN­DER

ONE night eight months ago, Paul Davis had a hor­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ence: he came upon an aca­demic col­league ap­par­ently in the process of dis­pos­ing of two hu­man corpses. The col­league fu­ri­ously at­tacked him and left him for dead. For­tu­nately (or maybe not so for­tu­nately in view of fu­ture events), he was res­cued in time and has been slowly re­cov­er­ing ever since.

The at­tacker is safely in prison, and Paul’s wife, other col­leagues and friends are sup­port­ive. Ther­apy helps, too, by day, but at night it’s a dif­fer­ent story. As he tries to get to sleep he starts hear­ing things — im­pos­si­ble things — that no one else can. Is he los­ing his mind?

Any more de­tails would spoil the book for you. While the cen­tral theme may be fa­mil­iar to any afi­cionado, Bar­clay brings to it a re­fresh­ingly sly in­ven­tive­ness, pro­vid­ing twists, sur­prises, sub­plots and mini-cli­maxes enough to sat­isfy the most de­mand­ing reader.

A beau­ti­fully crafted psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller by a master of the genre. Un­put­down­able. Buy it as a present for an en­thu­si­ast you know, but read it your­self first.

• For­merly a zo­ol­o­gist and aca­demic, Stephanie Alexan­der, Wit­ness colum­nist, me­dia critic and book re­viewer of long stand­ing, is a writer and an ac­cred­ited teacher of Iyen­gar Yoga.

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