THE HOUSE ON COLD HILL

Ghost botch

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 320 pages | Hard­back/ Ebook

Au­thor Peter James

Pub­lisher Macmil­lan

Peter James is hugely pop­u­lar in the crime fic­tion world – his Roy Grace nov­els alone have sold a lead pipedrop­ping 15 mil­lion copies – but he also has a side­line in pen­ning supernatural thrillers like 1996’ s Al­chemist.

The House On Cold Hill is very much in that vein. It’s a tra­di­tional ghost story set in a de­crepit man­sion 10 miles out of Brighton. The Har­court fam­ily ( wealthy enough to buy an enor­mous man­sion, but still ap­par­ently strug­gling, the poor dears) move in, hop­ing that it’ll be­come their dream home. The sin­is­ter forces that re­side there have other ideas...

The book sur­prises with an open­ing chap­ter that shifts sud­denly from tran­quil­ity to tragedy. Un­for­tu­nately, that’s just about the only twist in a book that’s overly fond of ghost story clichés. This is hor­ror for the ITV1 au­di­ence, com­plete with glow­ing orbs, a spec­tral old lady and the un­canny sense that you’ve been here be­fore. You have – if you’ve ever read a haunted house tale or watched an MR James Ghost Story For Christ­mas. The straight­for­ward prose keeps the nar­ra­tive rolling along nicely, but this is un­likely to scare any­one but the green­est of hor­ror read­ers. Will Salmon

James claims that the Sus­sex manor he used to live in was haunted by not one but four in­di­vid­ual ghosts.

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