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The Noise

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The Noise is the latest collaboration between ubiquitous thriller manufacturer James Patterson and cult nightmare craftsman JD Barker, a stand-alone which mashes up sci-fi, technothriller and horror genres to produce a story strongly reminiscent of 1990s era Stephen King. Whether or not you will enjoy this depends on how strongly you value pace, action, visceral shocks and grand-scale threat, over character depth and likeability, plausibility and a rewarding ending. I’m in between both and have yet to decide whether I’m rounding my 3.5 up or down - writing this will hopefully help clarify my thoughts and feelings.

Two sisters from an isolated Oregon survivalist community are out checking their traps in the woods, when they are overcome by an excruciating sound that appears out of nowhere. Thrown into an underground bunker by their parents, they emerge once it’s over to find their village destroyed and everyone gone. Tennant, sixteen, is powerless to stop the force which overtakes eight year old Sophie, compelling her to run mindlessly at impossible speed. Captured by the army, they become the subjects of a team of diverse scientists brought in to analyse the anomaly, but it soon becomes clear that the devastation is only just beginning...

This starts with a bang, and then keeps going. Told from the perspective of various key characters, we’re drawn into the confusion and fear they experience as they witness literally unbelievable events unfold in front of them. I personally struggle with books where you have no idea what’s going on - you’re half way through before much is revealed - I always wonder what I missed. Having said that, do try to avoid spoilers to get the full impact. Is it a supernatural force, or an alien phenomenon, a vengeful deity or a human conspiracy? I was shocked but not surprised by the final reveal. The second half has some cinematic action scenes which are just crying out to be made into a movie with lots of CGI.

The biggest weakness here was the characters, and if Mr Barker (and no mistake, that’s who wrote this book, and should gain the praise for all the positives - JP just puts his name on the cover to guarantee sales) wants to follow in King’s footsteps, this is the area that needs work. They are poorly fleshed out, and hard to empathise with or relate too. Tennant earns some sympathy for her loyal defence of her sister, while Sophie is whiny and annoying from the start.
Martha has some kind of oppositional-defiant disorder that I would’ve thought would be incompatible with a medical career, let alone working with the military. Fraser is rigid and humourless and Harbin has no discernible personality at all. As for the scientists, a whole bunch are introduced, and I expected them to be killed off one at a time in interesting ways “Alien” style, but most serve little purpose in the plot, so don’t bother trying to remember who’s who.

A scenario like this was always going to be difficult to create a satisfying - let alone happy -  ending for. I’m prepared to suspend disbelief in these circumstances and am not even sure what wanted to happen. While it feels incomplete, I’m not sure that a sequel could add anything worthwhile and I’m not invested enough in these characters to care about what happens next.
So would I recommend this book? Yes, with reservations. Most of my GR buddies who have read it have rated it 4 or 5 stars, and I think it depends what you’re in the mood for - I’m not a big horror fan. The premise is original, the action propulsive, the gore factor high and the denouement unpredictable, but for me personally it was less enjoyable than I had hoped, so after careful consideration I’m rounding down to 3 stars.

Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown & Co for the ARC. I am posting this honest review voluntarily. The Noise is published on August 16th.
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This was a very suspenseful book.  I was engaged the whole time and could not wait to find out what was really going on.  The answer was a little complicated and over my head but I still enjoyed getting there.  My favorite characters were the two young girls we meet early in the story.
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The Noise by James Patterson and J.D. Barker is a psychological thriller.  It is also part science fiction, and a little bit horror.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Little, Brown and Company and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. A Special thanks to J.D. Barker for sending me a widget.  All opinions are my own.


My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)
Dr. Martha Chan and Sanford Harbin are two of the many scientific professionals who gather, along with military personnel, to study what is being called "an anomaly".  The team does not know where the noise is coming from, only that it is deadly.

They are tasked with finding the cause and solution as to why a horde of people have started running.  The horde gathers more participants with every stride.  They are running at unbelievable speed, and if a member falls, they are simply trampled.  They stop for nothing.  Some are young, some are old, many have broken limbs, but still they run.  Pain has no place for the runners.  They have a hive mind, and it is telling them to run.

There are two survivors from where the scientists believe it started, in Mount Hood Washington.  8 year old Sophie, and her 16 year old sister Tennant.  These two had been taken to the relative safety of a storm cellar by their parents, who apparently joined the runners.  At the time, Tennant had wax in her ears to stop the sounds of rabbits dying in her traps, and this prevented the worst of the noise from being heard.  Sophie did not.

The noise is taking over Sophie's mind.


My Opinions:   
These two authors were meant to collaborate.  What they produce is simply amazing.  The story line, the characters, the atmosphere, all combine to create a deep, compelling,  read.  Patterson, although prolific, often writes short, light stories, that are very entertaining, but usually forgettable.  But with Barker, the books are longer, deeper, and a little more off-beat.  You never know where the plot will take you.  Together, you get excellent writing and a heart-stopping story.

The story is told from a number of perspectives, and in short chapters.  This creates a very fast pace, with a lot of action, something Patterson is known for.

The plot is rather dark, a little scary, and "almost" believable.  It leaves you wondering what would happen next.  It also makes you question what experiments are going on in the world right now?  JD Barker is known for this type of story.

This book mesmerized me, and I didn't want to put it down.  It left me thinking....which is always good if a book can do that....although you don't want to know where my mind went.

It was very descriptive, and I could see a movie in the near future.  I can't wait until their next collaboration!
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I wasn't impressed with this novel. This was my 2nd Patterson/Barker book, and I enjoyed The Coast to Coast Murders much better. In this book, I grew tired of reading about the "zombies." (That's what I thought of them.) I would have appreciated a better ending, and more ends to be tied up so that more conflicts could be resolved. I grew bored with this sort, and I wouldn't have picked it up if I'd known what this was going to be about. I felt like really nothing was resolved by the end. I'm a big fan of JD Barker, but maybe three stars is too generous.
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Absolutely fabulous read.  Reminiscent of a Stephen King novel in terms of story and writing and I couldn't fault it.

Thanks to Netgalley, publisher and author.  JD Barker has smashed it again

5/5
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3.5 stars
This book was a bit of a surprise for me as I was expecting a crime thriller but got a sci fi thriller. 
The blurb doesn’t give much away and having loved Patterson and Barker’s last book, I was keen to read this one. 
It’s a good read but sci fi isn’t really my cup of tea, however the thriller element kept my interest. 
The book is about a noise that has wiped out entire villages and a range of experts are brought in to try and stop it. 
Sophie and her sister Tennant hide in a storm shelter and while Tennant isn’t affected, Sophie is really changing. 
They are both taken to the military base but things soon spiral out of control. 
Thanks to Little, Brown Book Group and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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It started with The Noise. 

“A ringing. First faint, barely audible, but steadily growing. A single tone gaining strength, joined by others, shrill, louder. Hungry. Ugly. There was a pressure, too. As if her head were filling with water and didn’t have enough room. Cold sweat trickled down the back of her neck. The world swooned, her vision clouded, and Tennant felt like she might pass out. The sound grew louder. Deafening. A crescendo of screams. As if every human, animal, and creature of Mother Earth all cried together in fevered pain.“

An entire Oregon mountain town is obliterated. Cracks in the Earth are found nearby. The US government activates the military. Then, it brings in top American scientists to try to explain what happened. Is it a natural phenomena? A terrorist act? Some new type of military weapon by China or Russia? More importantly, will it happen again?

I love science-y thrillers. This one pulls out all the stops. Theories abound. Could it be God’s retribution for our climate fiasco? Or a demon awakening from the center of the Earth? The problem with most of these types of books is the conclusion is disappointing. That definitely didn’t happen with The Noise. This book was exciting and compelling throughout. It may be my number one thriller this year! 5 stars and a favorite! 

Thanks to Little, Brown & Company and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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rounded up to 4.5 stars

When I get an offer to read an upcoming J.D. Barker book, I jump on the chance! He's quickly become one of my favorite horror novelists; I think he's brilliant and will read anything he writes. Honestly, many years ago I used to read everything that James Patterson wrote but now I just stick to reading his Alex Cross series...and now anything with J.D Barker's name on it!

Sisters Tennet, age 16, and Sophie, age 8, are survivalists with their family in Mount Hood when they hear a horrifying noise and are thrown by their parents into a storm cellar for safekeeping. Yet, when they come out, their home and village are decimated, their parents and the rest of the people are missing or dead, and both girls are in terrible shape. Experts in all fields are called in to research and weigh in on the phenomenon and the destruction and more importantly, to try and stop it from happening again before it's too late.

The story is told through the multiple perspectives of several characters in short, fast-paced chapters that made it very easy to get lost in the drive, desperation, and panic that these characters were feeling. It was so easy to feel like you were in the middle of it all in their race against the clock and race against the Noise. It was so horrifying because a part of you wondered, while reading, if this could happen! 

This book! I really don't know how to describe it. It's unlike anything that I've ever read before-it's part horror, part sci-fi, part dystopia, a little medical thriller crossed with disaster thriller, and then like a military thriller and political thriller had a baby together! It's completely genre-bending, so I have NO idea how to categorize it, but I do know that I enjoyed every wild, terrifying minute of it! 

As always, kudos to Barker (and Patterson on this one) for writing such a dark, gruesome, superb book! Whatever Barker writes, I'll be first in line--with so many others, I know, to read it!

Thank you NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for the ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

-Review posted to NetGalley, Goodreads, and Twitter on 8/12/21
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If you are looking for entertainment and a fast paced story, then this book will not fail you. This is the equivalent to a popcorn movie. The story is way over the top but the pace is so fast that you can race through it and have a good time.

Tennant and her sister Sophie are living with their parents in a remote area in the USA. Their family lives of the grid and the girls are checking traps for rabbits. Suddenly they hear a deafening and absolutely disturbing noise. Their parents manage to put them into a storm cellar. When it finally stopped Tennant finds herself bleeding but otherwise unharmed. But something happened to Sophie.

Meanwhile a group of specialists is gathered together to examine this abnormality. The area where Tennant and her family lived is destroyed beyond imagination.  What happened here and what is the cause?

The book captured me right from the beginning. It is literally popcorn, written to entertain. The characters all fell flat, there is no real depth to them. I did not feel for them. I especially found Martha, the doctor, annoying. She thinks she is always the smartest person in the room and therefor rules do not apply to her. But this is also the case in most of the action movies I have seen. The explanation of this phenomenon was a bit over the top for me. I expected it to be some kind of supernatural thing. I am not sure if I am happy with the ending and what this thing was. It was also a bit rushed. I would have loved some more information about the motivation that was behind it. But overall it was entertaining and if you a fan of this kind of story then this book checks all the boxes.
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Wow! What a story! A dark and creepy tale with edge of your seat suspense throughout! I’ve enjoyed J.D. Barker’s books and it definitely feels that he had a strong voice in this one. The imagery was fantastic and the storyline far out there . . . as to be expected from Mr. Barker. This is a successful collaboration between the two authors and I will now be reading their other work together. I’m still pondering the ending, which was a bit of a let down for me at first. I thought I wanted something more substantial to sum it all up; but the more I think about it, the conclusion is an intriguing concept. Let’s keep on running!
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This review is hard to write because this latest collaboration by these two authors left me speechless. The plot is eerie, disturbing, and completely gripping. The characters are good but almost unimportant. The story itself is what draws you in. Suspense and tension is what keeps you reading. Outstanding!
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I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from J.D. Barker and Netgalley. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

J.D. Barker is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read most of his books, and when I have the chance to read another one, I get so excited! The last book I read that he co-authored with James Patterson was very good so I couldn’t wait to see what they had in store this time. I wasn’t disappointed.

You never know what you’re going to get when these two authors team up. The one thing you can count on is that you’re not going to be able to put the book down. The Noise began with Tennant and Sophie checking rabbit traps on a normal day and that’s the only “normal” in the book. The noise, the vibrations, changed their lives forever. Not only were they the only survivors in their community, but the noise changed them. I kept wondering why they weren’t affected like the others and I did find out…eventually.

The team that was put together by the government consisted of civilians and Fraser, a military officer. It was frustrating for the members of the team (and me) because it was apparent that they weren’t given all of the information about what was going on. And teams of soldiers kept disappearing when they went to the area of what was named the “anomaly.”

The action was nonstop as was my anxiety. It’s been a long time since I read a book that made me feel so stressed! It reminds me of early Stephen King, where regular people end up in weird situations. Only this situation is feasible, I think? That makes it that much scarier.

I definitely recommend The Noise. I can’t wait for their next collaboration!
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*3.5 stars rounded up. This was pure escapism; definitely action movie material. The plot was a bit of a hash with thin characterizations but I gobbled it up and thoroughly enjoyed the ending. 

I received an arc from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks for the opportunity to read the latest thriller from two of the best in the business!
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Another outstanding collaboration between these two authors! The story is exciting, frightening, dark, twisted, tragic, and utterly gripping. A unique story; with a premise that is definitely “out there”. The fast-moving story line leaves you breathless and at the edge of your seat and makes this a riveting read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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The Noise is a psychological thriller surrounding a deadly scientific mystery told through the eyes of two young sisters living in the Oregon wilderness, the brilliant doctor trying to save them and a mystery that deepens when a destructive force begins to threaten humanity as we know it. A mysterious explosion kills thousands in the Pacific Northwest. Young sisters, 8-year-old Sophie and 16-year-old Tennant Riggin, are the only two people to withstand and survive the catastrophic blast that destroys their community, located in the shadow of Oregon's Mount Hood. The two sisters are close and have always stood together. Now, they’re the only ones left alive and must fight to stay that way. A team of elite government investigators are sent to research the fallout and the girls - why did only they survive? - but with conflicting objectives. For Dr Martha Chan, a psychologist who analyses large-scale medical emergencies: study them. For Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Fraser, a career military leader with an inherent mistrust of civilians: contain them. But as the disturbance replicates across the Pacific Northwest, it threatens to topple the chain of command. Dr Chan and Lieutenant Colonel Fraser are caught between the perpetrators of the threat - and those who have the power to resist. If you hear it, it’s too late. Can two sisters save us all? 

Terror has a new sound and it comes from the darkest corners of James Patterson's imagination. This is a riveting, deeply unsettling thriller and an amalgam of the horror, sci-fi dystopia and thriller genres and it works impeccably well. The relationship and dynamic between the two sisters is one I loved and you find yourself rooting for them and cheering them on as they roam the strange world they now inhabit all alone. It's a fast-paced, chilling read and the authors capture the eeriness superbly with each chapter fraught with tension. I don't know how they do it but they constantly blindside you with new twists, turns and red herrings, something notable happens in every single chapter and it is a cracking read that easily takes over your mind and has you feverishly flipping the pages. Patterson's books don't exactly score highly on the scale of believability, but if you can just let that go then you are treated to a raucously good read. It's compulsive and I must admit reading right through the night as all of the hints had me desperate to find out what actually happened. The casual, clipped writing style and short, snappy chapters are second to none and the pair really know how to get you hook, line and sinker within a few pages. The Noise is a dark thriller that takes hold of the emotions, defies the senses and is like nothing you’ve ever read before. Highly recommended.
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Yikes!  What a ride this book is.  Beginning with two sisters trying to hide from a strange, unearthly noise that builds to an unbearable intensity, this is a relentless thriller that doesn't stop for breath for a single page.

J.D. Barker books never disappoint and this second (I think it's the second - please forgive me if I'm wrong)  outing with James Patterson is another fantastically original story.  Terrifying and thought provoking at the same time, this is a book that will stay with me (and probably give me nightmares) for a very long time.   I loved it!
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I've read quite a few James Patterson books, not all, but have enjoyed what I have read. I am also a big fan of JD Barker. After having loved The Coast to Coast Murders, their first collaboration, I was mighty excited to get my hands on this, their second. And I have to say my expectations were not only met, but exceeded. No mean feat cos they were quite high.
So... we start with two children who are checking their traps. They live in a survivalist community, off the grid, self sufficient. Tennant, 16, is hunting rabbits, Sophie, her 6 year old sister, is along for the ride and to learn the skill. Both are alarmed when they hear and feel a vibration that builds in intensity. They are scooped up by their father and deposited in an underground storm shelter.
We then cut to a bunch of scientists who have been gathered together alongside some government official and forced to sign something way more important than the official secrets act before they are shown something shocking.
And that's pretty much all I am able to say here, the rest you really need to discover as the authors intend. As they deliver shock after shock that often chilled me to my core as I slowly started to discover what was really going on. As the agenda was revealed. Wowsers!
The tension is set high right from the off and ramps steadily up further as the book progresses. I spent the majority not really knowing what was really going on, or who or what was behind the shenanigans. Tidbits of information are released along the way to provide a bit of clarity and explanation until, yet again, another curve ball is thrown in to send it all off in a whole other direction, spiralling around until the truth is finally revealed at the end, or is it ?
It's a bit gruesome in places, occasionally rather graphic but it has to be this way and isn't done for sensational reasons. It's also very clever and I lost count of the times I sat back with a huge grin on my face as I discovered something rather exciting.
What was key for me was the fact that actually, it's all a bit too credible. Maybe not on the scale of the book, but some of the reveals along the way did leave me rather frightened in a trepidation kind of a way. It's all delivered at a right old clip of a pace which didn't really leave much room to breathe apart from when the author's slowed it down enough for the reader to take a well needed breath. Just enough of these for me to survive but not too many, so I was more on the same page as what some of the main characters were going through.
And the ending... sublime... you'll understand when you get there yourself...
All in all, a cracking read that crosses the genre divide between horror, sci-fi and thriller amongst others. Should suit fans of all or one. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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Thank you so much J.D. Barker, James Patterson, Little Brown and Company, plus NetGalley, for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Interesting and unusual plot very well written has a great pace but….. I have a major problem in that the characters are so one dimensional its untrue. Although you do get carried along with the immense pace of the story, I didn’t really care if any of them lived or died. It also quite repetitive, found myself asking, have I read that twice on several occasions

This book contains some really creative, imaginative and interesting theories, but the way it is played out left a lot to be desired, from my point of view anyway. 

Really wanted to love this book, but it just didn’t quite make it. 3.5 stars.
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First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley; James Patterson; J.D. Barker; and Little, Brown and Company for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

I have enjoyed the few collaborative efforts by James Patterson and J.D. Barker, which offer a scintillating look into psychological thrillers with a unique twist. Mixing their two styles, the authors have come up with a sure page-turner here, keeping the reader on their toes throughout this piece. A rural community in Oregon soon turns to panic, leaving two young girls to flee for the family’s underground bunker as a piercing noise permeates their surroundings. The elder child appears unharmed, but her little sister begins spouting gibberish and acting in a highly troublesome manner. Soon, a handful of scientists are herded aboard a military chopper and sent to the area, in hopes of better understanding what’s taken place. However, it is baffling to everyone and there seems neither rhyme nor reason for any of it. Many have died and appear to be piled in large crevasses, while those who are alive have fevers like no other. What’s happened and who or what is responsible for all this. One doctor vows to get answers, even if the government seeks to cover it up from the public.

Things are quiet in a rural mountain Oregon for Tennant and Sophie Riggin, who have lived off the grid for their entire lives. However, all this soon changes when an odd vibration emanates from the forest and their father rushes the girls into a bunker. The piercing noise escalates, leaving Tennant worried and Sophie acting strangely. The younger sister, all of eight, begins spouting odd phrases and complaining of severe pain in her ears. Tennant can only hope to protect her sister until all of this passes.

Soon after the baffling incident in around Mount Hood, military officials begin gathering top-ranked scientists and medical professionals to help assess the damage and fallout. This includes, Dr. Martha Chan, a medical doctor, who is as confused as ever about why she was chosen for this mission. What Chan and the others witness is baffling and highly unusual: massive crevasses in the ground, many bodies piled up, as well as destruction of the earth like nothing seen or predicted. What’s even more troubling is the top secret nature of the event, where military officials will not even allow those viewing the fallout to converse with one another.

After Chan and the others are permitted on the ground, it’s discovered that many of those who are alive have fevers that are off the charts, climbing into the 104 degree Fahrenheit range. This includes young Sophie Riggin, who continues to spout odd phrases, one of which can be traced back to a dead language used in the Bible. Might this be some sort of End of Times event? If not, could an enemy nation be testing a new weapon? Military officials scramble for answers and try to brief the president with what they know.

As Tennant remains unharmed, Dr. Chan is unsure what’s kept her safe and how Sophie could be so affected. Chan will do all she can to get answers, even if that means defying the orders of military personnel. Something is behind this noise and Chan will not rest until she gets answers, sure that someone is not telling the truth. The larger question remains, when the truth is discovered, how will the US Administration handle it and what message will there broadcast to the world? A chilling story that will sober many readers into wondering what could happen right under their noses.

Many will know that I have a love/hate relationship with the works of James Patterson, depending on the series collaborators. Those who don’t can find my comments elsewhere, as I wish to focus on the collaborative efforts that Patterson has with J.D. Barker. This is a duo that has worked from the outset, combining their individual skills to create something really enticing and easy to read. While the novels may be longer than many Patterson fans have come to expect, they are always filled with twists and narrative nuggets that push them to the top of the genre. Psychological thrillers are hard to perfect, as the reader must commit fully, but Patterson and Barker make that easy with the caliber of their work.

The numerous narratives make it difficult to choose a single protagonist, though the authors have highlighted a few characters to assume the role, namely Tennant and Martha Chan. While they come from completely different backgrounds, both seek the same thing, to get answers and to help Sophie. The collaborative efforts both make throughout the story make them targets for the military and political actors, but this only adds to their development. Many readers will likely affix themselves to at least one of these leading ladies, if only to get to the core of the plot.

The authors have done well to craft a collection of supporting characters who use individual agendas to clash with the aforementioned protagonists. Many serve within the US Administration, trying to uncover and then whitewash what’s happened in Oregon. This tension works well throughout the novel, pushing the reader to see how good and evil (or at least curiosity and pragmatic secret keeping) butt heads throughout. The description of some other supporting characters helps to show the dire straights in which this segment of the population has found itself, something that resonates throughout for the attentive reader.

The goal I suspect authors strive for in standalone novels is to allow each to succeed on their own merits. While James Patterson’s books have often been given a ‘cookie cutter plot’ label, his work alongside J.D. Barker makes these novels stand out as being some of the best, with no prediction where things will go. The narrative, told through the eyes of many, is strong and builds constantly, while the characters are varied enough to be of interest to the reader. The plot is anything but linear and gains momentum in all the right spots. Short chapters push things along and keep the reader from getting too bogged down in minutiae. I am always pleased to see collaborative efforts between these two international bestselling authors, as I see it brings out the best in them both. One can only hope there are more novels, series or standalone, to come.

Kudos, Messrs. Patterson and Barker,  for another winning recipe when it comes to thrill writing. I hope many of your respective fans will rush to get this book, as it checks all the boxes.
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The Noise by J.D. Barker (Author), James Patterson (Author)

Forth generation survivalist sisters, sixteen year old Tennant and eight year old Sophia, are hunting when the world around them begins vibrating. The accompanying noise builds into a deafening crescendo of screams. Running to their settlement, their parents throw them into a storm shelter, leaving the girls alone as their suffering increases unbearably. 

Afterwards Tennant is bloody, broken, and battered but Sophia is in even worse shape. The area and all living things have been pulverized. The girls move to another storm shelter and the vibrations happen again. Eventually the girls are "rescued".

Nearby a group of highly trained professionals have been gathered to brainstorm what has been happening. Of course, something is not right but what is causing this phenomenon? Who is causing these events and can they be stopped? We see this story from several different perspectives and we never know more than the characters know. The tension is non stop, the happenings gruesome from the onset, and getting more gruesome by the minute. 

It's really hard to say more without giving away too much. I do know that I have so many questions about what happens after the story ends. What I think happens next is not pretty, no prettier than what has already happened. The story had my mind racing during it and now my mind is racing after the story is over. Because it's not over. 

Thank you to J.D. Barker, Little, Brown and Company, and NetGalley for this ARC.
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