The House On Cold Hill by Peter James
Pan (ebook), 2015
I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for a review by the publisher via NetGalley.
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, with its acres of land, 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.
‘Are we nearly there yet?’
Johnny, a smouldering cigar in his mouth, looked in the rear-view mirror.
I really enjoyed The House On Cold Hill. I love reading about haunted houses, the spookier the better. One of my favourites is The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I liked the way the novel is paced, quite slowly with events in the house gradually getting more and more sinister. The House On Cold Hill is a quiet sort of ghost story. By that I mean the ghost doesn’t appear to be violent or enraged. I’ve read more than a few ghost stories where the malevolence is too over-the-top to have any real impact. James strikes the perfect balance of suspense and horror. It took a while for me to get into the novel (not the author’s fault, I had other commitments) but once I had time to devote to The House on Cold Hill I couldn’t stop reading it. The sign of a pretty great book. I’d definitely recommend this.