They said the dead can't hurt you . . . They were wrong.
The House on Cold Hill is a chilling and suspenseful ghost story from the multi-million copy bestselling author of Dead Simple, Peter James.
Moving from the heart of Brighton and Hove to the Sussex countryside is a big undertaking for Ollie and Caro Harcourt and their twelve-year-old daughter Jade. But when they view Cold Hill House - a huge, dilapidated Georgian mansion - Ollie is filled with excitement. Despite the financial strain of the move, he has dreamed of living in the country since he was a child, and he sees Cold Hill House as a paradise for his animal-loving daughter, the perfect base for his web-design business and a terrific long-term investment. Caro is less certain, and Jade is grumpy about being separated from her friends.
Within days of moving in, it becomes apparent that the Harcourt family aren't the only residents of the house. A friend of Jade's is the first to see the spectral woman, standing behind her as the girls talk on FaceTime. Then there are more sightings, as well as increasingly disturbing occurrences in the house. As the haunting becomes more malevolent and the house itself begins to turn on the Harcourts, the terrified family discover Cold Hill House's dark history, and the horrible truth of what it could mean for them . . .
Having read and loved other books by Peter James, I was really looking forward to read his newest one 'The House on Cold Hill'. I knew this was a ghost story and therefore quite different from the books I usually read, but this time round I wanted to read something spooky.
This is essentially a typical haunted house story in a modern setting in which an unsuspecting family goes to live in a grand old house, upsetting the resident ghost/s in the process. The story kicks off in quite a promising, unexpected and horrific way with a major tragedy that immediately sets a dark, unsettling mood. By the end this family's dream home turns into a living nightmare. What dark entity dwells within the rooms of this vast mansion? What happened in this house in the past?
There's no questioning Peter James' excellent writing that once again makes this book quite an easy one to read. What I found rather interesting and original was the inclusion of modern day technology such as website building and social media in a ghost story. Never read a book with such a combination before.
As I started to read this book, I was really looking forward to have my blood running cold as I read through the horror experienced by this family, however to my dismay I must say that the blood-curdling paranormal activity I was expecting didn't materialise. In fact though the story was spooky, I wouldn't classify it as a scary one.
After the initial part, the story is mostly concentrated on Oliver's worries with his finances and work and a continuous going up and down the stairs from the attic to the cellar, and in and out of every room in the house inspecting damages. This became a tad too repetitive and boring for me. Reading through certain parts, I found myself completely detached from the main story and I was unable to warm or empathise with any of the characters. Apart from the fact that they lacked depth, I found them rather stupid. The dialogue was quite bland.
I know that in ghost stories you can expect all sorts of unnatural things happening, but honestly some things that I've read in this book go far beyond what I expect and accept as coming from a paranormal activity.
The ending was abrupt and totally confusing and left many questions unanswered. I'm sorry to say but I ended up disappointed. I was expecting so much more.
With thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley for approving my request to read this book in exchange of an honest review.
About the Author
Peter James was educated at Charterhouse and then at film school. He lived in North America for a number of years, working as a screen writer and film producer, before returning to England. His multiple award-winning, Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling novels have been translated into thirty-three languages. His writings reflect his deep interest in medicine, science and the world of the police. He has produced numerous films, including The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes. He also co-created the hit Channel 4 series Bedsitcom, which was nominated for a Rose d'Or. Peter James won the Krimi-Blitz 2005 Crime Writer of the Year Award in Germany, and Dead Simple won both the 2006 Prix Polar International award and the 2007 Prix Cœur Noir award in France. Looking Good Dead was shortlisted for the 2007 Richard and Judy Crime Thriller of the Year award, and has been shortlisted for both France's SNCF award and Le Grand Prix de Littérature Policère. He divides his time between his homes in Notting Hill in London and Sussex.