I don’t know what part James Patterson played in writing this novel, but he clearly was not at the top of his game. The Noise is a sci-fi thriller which begins at a survivalist settlement in the Pacific Northwest. Teenage Tennant and her younger sister, Sophie, are in the woods checking rabbit traps when they are assaulted by the sound of someone or something screaming. The noise rapidly builds in intensity and is so piercing that Sophie begins to bleed from her ears, nose, and eyes. Finding the girls, their parents secret them away in a storm cellar for their protection. Why the parents didn’t join them is just one of the many plot elements that is never fully explained in this novel.
The noise heard by the girls also affects everyone else in the colony and, when it finally stops, Tennant and Sophie emerge to find their entire community flattened. Tennant, while shaken, remains unchanged, but Sophie becomes violent and her sister has to restrain her to keep her from running toward a nearby bottomless gorge.
Enter the military and the scientists who are all trying to discover what is causing the noise and how to stop it. The girls are rounded up and serve, to some of these supposed experts, as guinea pigs.
The beginning of this novel was intriguing and held promise and, indeed, the saga of Tennant and Sophie was the only glue I found to hold the plot together. However, the endless military scenes and talk left me cold and I found it hard to maintain my interest in the story. Other than the two girls, I cared little about any of the other characters and, by the end (which I found to be completely unbelievable), I was glad the book was over.
Thus, I am unable to recommend The Noise, even to the most ardent sci-fi fans.
I want to thank NetGalley and the publisher, Little, Brown and Company, for providing me with a free copy of this novel.