November 7

The Dead Whisper – Emma Clapperton

D.S Preston and D.C Lang are sent to investigate the death of a young girl in an old manor house in Glasgow. But who would want to kill an innocent girl in her own home and why? When they believe their questions have been answered the case is closed.

Meanwhile, Sam Leonard could not be happier – he has a great acting career and a fantastic girlfriend. After being in a previously turbulent relationship, what could go wrong?

For Patrick McLaughlin life is going well. His marriage is stable and with a baby on the way, things can only get better.

But the house that Patrick moves into is not what it seems. With a family burial plot in the gardens, visions and messages from the deceased, and a recent death in the house, will Patrick and Jodie regret their purchase?

In order to lay the ghosts to rest questions will be asked but can the house ever let go of its past?

 

My thanks to Sarah Hardy for my review copy and the chance to join the Blog Blitz

A nicely creepy tale which is perfect for these dark November evenings. The Dead Whisper sees the return of Patrick McLaughlin (first encountered in The Suicide Plan). Patrick can see ghosts and spirits and when he moves into the former home of the Henderson family,  complete with the family burial plot in the grounds, it will throw up a challenge for Patrick to solve.

It should be noted that Patrick does not actually appear in The Dead Whisper until mid-way through the book and this is a story which can very much be read as a stand-alone thriller. The main focus is on Sam Leonard – a successful actor who seems to attract some very protective (possibly obsessive) girlfriends.  Sam is in the early days of a new relationship – his last partner had become infatuated with him and was sending hostile messages to Sam’s flatmate and childhood friend Jenny.

Jenny is extremely protective of Sam and given how his last relationship ended it is not surprising she does not wish her friend to be hurt again.  However, the reader gets to see that Jenny’s protective edge can ramp up to outright hostility if she feels that Sam is getting too much attention from a member of the opposite sex.  Sam appears totally unaware of Jenny’s over-protective side but it does unsettle people who fall foul of Jenny’s glare.

What was particularly unsettling was that women who show Sam too much attention seem to become a target and this can have fatal consequences. I was shocked when one character I had really liked suddenly faced extreme peril, nasty surprises and unexpected twists are the BEST way to draw me into a story and Emma Clapperton did exactly that.

Supernatural thrills mean a few dead bodies are likely and I really enjoyed The Dead Whispers as the balance between crime novel and creepy thriller was spot on.

 

The Dead Whisper is published by Bloodhound Books and is available in paperback and digital format and can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Whisper-haunting-thriller-wont-ebook/dp/B076M2LR5Q/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1510096222&sr=8-3&keywords=emma+clapperton&dpID=517eMVekTiL&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

 

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August 24

Short Stories and Novellas

I don’t often read short stories (though that will be changing soon…more on that later). Recently, however, I have had the opportunity to snatch some quick reading time and have targeted some short stories and novellas which had caught my eye.

 

First up is The Travelling Bag by Susan Hill

From the foggy streets of Victorian London to the eerie perfection of 1950s suburbia, the everyday is invaded by the evil otherworldly in this unforgettable collection of new ghost stories from the author of The Woman in Black.

In the title story, on a murky evening in a warmly lit club off St James, a bishop listens closely as a paranormal detective recounts his most memorable case, one whose horrifying denouement took place in that very building.

In ‘The Front Room’, a devoutly Christian mother tries to protect her children from the evil influence of their grandmother, both when she is alive and when she is dead.

A lonely boy finds a friend in ‘Boy Number 21’, but years later he is forced to question the nature of that friendship, and to ask whether ghosts can perish in fires.

This is Susan Hill at her best, telling characteristically flesh-creeping and startling tales of thwarted ambition, terrifying revenge and supernatural stirrings that will leave readers wide-awake long into the night.

 

My thanks to the team at Serpents Tail for the review copy I received through Netgalley

 

A collection of 4 ghostly tales from Susan Hill. Three stories are outlined in the description above – each took me around half an hour to read and the whole book is around 180 pages in length.  I have my favourites, Boy Number 21 and the unmentioned 4thstory (Alice Baker – a chiller set in an office) were the two which gripped me most.

The Front Room is particularly grim reading but I found it didn’t draw me in quite in the way the other stories had done.  I find that Ghost Stories are harder to pitch as a collection – while all the stories can be creepy, different people respond to different types of chills so in any collection there will be elements which impact people in different ways.

I do enjoy a creepy tale and The Travelling Bag was the welcome break from reading crime thrillers that I had hoped it would be.  The physical book looks rather nice too but its relatively short length made me think it may be more likely to be given as a gift than one a reader may seek out on their own.

Fans of Susan Hill and readers who soak up ghost stories this is one to seek out.

 

 

The Paper Cell – Louise Hutcheson

The first in a new series of distinctive, standalone crime stories, each with a literary bent. In 1950s London, a literary agent finds fame when he secretly steals a young woman’s brilliant novel manuscript and publishes it under his own name, Lewis Carson. Two days after their meeting, the woman is found strangled on Peckham Rye Common: did Lewis purloin the manuscript as an act of callous opportunism, or as the spoils of a calculated murder?

 

My thanks to Sara at Contraband for my review copy

The Paper Cell is a novella from the new Pocket Crime Selection from Contraband Books. It is a beautifully crafted tale of life in the literary circles of 1950’s London.  We begin in the modern day, an author meeting with a journalist after the author grants a rare interview. It becomes clear that there are reasons the author has been reluctant to speak with the press – once we are transported back to recollections of the author’s life as a young man in London the shocking truths start to spill out.

Of the three books covered in this post The Paper Cell was by far the one I enjoyed the most. Louise Hutcheson keeps the story slick, her characters leap off the page and you can easily imagine the smoke filled reading rooms and fussy publishers office meetings.

There is a darkness running through The Paper Cell and the reader gets a fly on the wall view of some terrible behaviours and sinister actions. Yet those dark scenes are in the background as much of the story follows young writers pursing their dreams or and young lovers enjoying their blossoming relationship.

Louise Hutcheson can tell knows how to tell a good story and this had me captivated.

 

 

A Rare Book of Cunning Device – Ben Aaronovich

Exclusive to Audio! Somewhere amongst the shadowy stacks and the many basements of the British library, something is very much amiss – and we’re not talking late returns here. Is it a ghost, or something much worse? PC Peter Grant really isn’t looking forward to finding out….

Still working my way through audiobooks and this was my introduction to PC Peter Grant – popular protagonist of the Ben Aaronovich Rivers of London series.  At 30 minutes running length this free audiobook is a must listen for fans of the series.  I can say this only from the position of a new reader as I have not read Rivers (or any of the other Grant books) but I loved A Rare Book of Cunning Device.

The narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith has a very listenable voice and the feedback on his performance from other readers is extremely positive as fans of the series have expressed their approval at how he handles their beloved characters.

Deep within the British Library, Peter Grant, comes up against the most formidable of opponents – a Librarian.  Oh there may also be a poltergeist but Grant knows better…doesn’t he?

 

 

 

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July 1

Karl Drinkwater Q&A – They Move Below

They Move BelowI am delighted to welcome Karl Drinkwater to Grab This Book as I have the honour to kick off the They Move Below blog tour. My review of They Move Below follows this post but before you scroll down, Karl has kindly taken time to answer a few of my questions.

 

Were you always most likely to write horror stories or are there other genres you enjoy?

I was always a horror fiend, and had no intention of writing anything else. “Darkness or nothing,” I would mutter. But then I did English Literature at A level and university, and was forced to read other books. I recently wrote about how that changed my attitude to Shakespeare; the same happened with Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Toni Morrison, Charles Dickens and so on. At one point I studied Byron and the cult surrounding him for a full year. I learnt to appreciate other modes of expression, and thus began my strange writing career where I alternate between horror and literary/contemporary fiction.

When we talk horror stories the name that most people jump to is Stephen King. Are we overlooking other great horror writers?

Absolutely. I love and respect King’s work, but the danger in any genre is that some authors are so successful and shine so brightly that it is hard to make out the struggling waifs in the shadows. There are so many great writers in every genre. When I came across The Descent by Jeff Long I was amazed – it had one of the best-written and tense (yet understated) openings of any book I’d read, which was then backed up by an imaginative plot that kept growing in scope. My own Claws Truth Forebear was probably inspired by it subconsciously.

Should a horror tale ever have a happy ending?

Yes. A horror tale only implies you have to experience horror and fear, but doesn’t define whether that is at the start, mid-point, end, or any combination of those. In fact, it’s a common pattern to front-load the horror but resolve things and restore order (for writers in the “horror is a conservative genre” school). Let’s take Stephen King’s The Shining. People seem to remember the ending of the film more: coldness, Dick Hallorann being axed, endless evil. But in the novel Dick Hallorann survives, and the novel ends in the sunshine with Wendy, Danny and Dick on a kind of holiday by a lake. Their strength is rewarded with life.

Harvest FestivalWhat do you feel makes a good horror story?

You need to feel fear. It’s almost physical – a shudder, the hairs on your neck raising, faster breathing. That comes from being able to imagine yourself in the position of a character. It is a team effort between the reader (suspending belief) and the writer (creating the convincing narrative). Horror is very different from the baser effects such as revulsion.

I tend not to read many short stories and I find that when I do I turn most often to collections of ghost stories. Do you think “scary” stories are more effective as a short story (perhaps shades of campfire tales)?

I remember loving ghost story collections: I think I read everything by Algernon Blackwood, possibly by M.R. James too. Often short stories do work better. With limited words we are unlikely to have everything explained, so you finish it and look around nervously, your subconscious tricked into believing it has experienced a slice of reality. With a novel, where things are usually tidily-wrapped up, the sense of closure can often weaken the feeling of horror. “That’s all over then, well done Guvnor, another case closed.” If horror is about uncertainty, then closure is an end to horror.

Which horror tales do you rate most highly?  Are there favourites you revisit?

Here are a few!

  • Lot (Ward Moore, 1953). End-of-the-world panic. It’s as unsettling as you’d expect.
  • Children Of The Corn (Stephen King, 1978, in Night Shift). A gripping horror that captures a sense of place brilliantly (and happens to be one of the many inspirations for Turner).
  • To Build A Fire (Jack London, 1908). I read it as a child and decided I would rather freeze to death than burn.
  • Weekend (Fay Weldon, 1978). I count this as horror, even though I may be the only person to do so. [Can’t find a good link about it.]
  • More Tomorrow (Michael Marshall Smith, 1995). Internet horror. You put this one down with a mix of relief and horror.
  • Splatter Of Black (Charles A. Gramlich, 1995). A great example of how to write an action-packed tale.

Have you ever experienced a supernatural phenomenon?

I’ve never been asked this before, but … yes. Even though I’m a rational person, there are things I’ve experienced which I would count as supernatural. All were in my childhood and teenage years, when strange events seemed to follow us from house to house. We moved home a lot. My family was made up of me, my mother, my sister (Sarah); my father died when I was young. If there was a single event it might be easier to block it out, but this was a sustained sequence of events that can’t be easily explained. Hauntings? A poltergeist that followed us? The element that stands out was that this wasn’t just creepy things in the night (though there were those) experienced by the same three people; many things occurred in broad daylight, when other people were present. People who didn’t believe in the supernatural, but who were so shaken afterwards that their views had changed. My best friend of the time (I was 14 or 15) was with me during one of them, and his opinion that I was being over-imaginative totally reversed one night when something happened that left him visibly pale, afraid to cross a room, and admitting that he believed us totally; I don’t think he was helped by my calm statement that it wasn’t out of the ordinary and we should just go back to my computer and that we’d be okay as long as we didn’t go near the dark end of the kitchen. My first girlfriend a year or so later was a creature of awe to me; I couldn’t believe this beautiful and tough woman had somehow fallen for a nerd like myself; but when she told me what she’d heard downstairs in the night, and that she couldn’t wake me up, and she also now believed in the things she’d scoffed at before, I realised that it wasn’t just my imagination. Some time ago I met up with her after many years of being out of touch, and she mentioned again, unprompted, how scared she’d been. It was still with her over 25 years later.

TurnerOkay, I’ve skirted round any details. It’s too big a topic. I could fill a book with it, and no-one would believe half the stuff we came to take for granted. I’m going to tell you about one thing, quite minor in many ways, but I’ve never written about this before.

I was about 15. We lived in a council house on Barton Road in Stretford, Manchester. There was only me and Mum and the dogs in the house. It was a grey day, had been drizzling earlier, but wasn’t particularly creepy: just Manchester. I was watching TV in the living room downstairs. Mum was hoovering upstairs, the drone of the subdued vacuum cleaner somehow comforting. We had two dogs back then, Toby and Tiny, Yorkshire Terriers. They wanted to go on the back garden so I opened the French door and let them out. I could see them through the glass trotting round and sniffing and taking it in turns to wee on the same spots. I usually left them out for a quarter of an hour, or until one of them came back to the door. I lay on the floor in front of the TV again. I heard a noise upstairs, like furniture being moved. All so normal. The hoover stopped. Footsteps coming down the stairs. Measured and slow. Nothing to make me look up.

“Karl,” said my Mum from the doorway. “Where are the dogs?”

“Outside. I just let them out.” I could see them near the bushes.

“Will you come upstairs with me for a minute?”

“Sure. Why?”

I was now following her up the stairs.

“There was a noise under my bed. I just want someone with me when I look.”

I nearly laughed. A noise! In daytime!

“No problem.”

We went into Mum’s bedroom. The vacuum cleaner was still plugged in but off. We stepped over the cable. The bed was on low legs, so there was a dark shadowed area underneath that you couldn’t see into while stood up. I wasn’t in the least bit perturbed. We both started to kneel. Then there was a growl from under the bed. A deep, rumbling, throaty growl like nothing I’ve heard before.

To my shame I didn’t stay with my mum. I pegged it out of there and pretty much flew down the stairs and out the front door, stood by the main road and ready to run even further, leaving my mum to follow calmly. “What’s the point of running?” she asked me later. It was half an hour before I went back in the house.

Mum let the dogs back in. Both of them.

I wouldn’t go in her room for a long time.

If you wanted to be rational, you could maybe argue that the floorboards there creaked in some way. They never creaked like that at any other point in the years we lived there, even when you knelt on that same spot. But it could be an explanation, even if my gut tells me it’s wrong.

After writing that I have just dug out my old diaries. It took me nearly two hours to track down a mention of the event – but I was pleased to find it, because so many things in my diary of the time seem to be just about boardgames, role playing games, computer games, money, and school, and the weird events rarely got a mention. I cringe a bit to read them, but here’s the entry. (Actually, I cringe a lot to type it up, but it also makes it seem more real to see it in a record that’s been closed for about 28 years!) My memories actually differ from the entry, but the gist is the same; there were some surrounding details in the diary entry I’d totally forgotten.

Monday 14th March 1988

I write this with beating heart. Last night Sarah woke up screaming, Mum and Eddy heard noises, smelt burning and sensed something and when I got home today I heard a noise. Mum asked if it was me. We went upstairs to make Mum’s bed and she bent down to look under it. We then heard a horrible growl and ran for fuck. I feel a bit like crying – there have been noises all night. Sarah is in my room tonight and some medium people have contacted us.

Tuesday 15th March 1988

Nothing too bad has happened so far tonight except for knockings outside. Last night I only got 3 ½ hours sleep. I was well scared. On a lighter note, I completed Monty On The Run. A gas mask & rope help.

[Then some normal entries, then this.]

Friday 18th March 1988

Paul likes BMX Simulator as much as me – it is ace. The vicar came round with his friend and daughter. I felt strange after a while and could not help breathing deeply and quickly. I started shaking and crying – I don’t know why. It was really bad. I hated it.

By the way, just in case you suspect I’m making this up – I have attached a photo of the diary entry I took just now. It’s like unearthing the past!

 

1988 diary

 

My most sincere thanks to Karl. I can honestly say that no question I have asked in a Q&A has ever returned such a surprising reply and nobody has ever shared their diary either!

You can find and order all of Karl’s books by clicking through this link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Karl-Drinkwater/e/B006JZWOPE/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1467407789&sr=1-2-ent

 

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October 21

The House on Cold Hill Q&A with Peter James

The House On Cold HillToday I am delighted to welcome Peter James to Grab This Book. I have been a fan of horror/ghost stories for many years and when I first discovered Peter’s books his chilling tales gave me many sleepless nights. Peter’s new book The House on Cold Hill marks a his return to the horror genre, I am grateful to Peter for taking time to answer a few of my questions.

 

Can you give us a quick summary of The House on Cold Hill? What can readers expect?

The book is about a couple of townies, Ollie and Caro Harcourt, who move from the heart of the city of Brighton and Hove to their dream home in the Sussex countryside, with their twelve year old daughter, Jade, who does not share their enthusiasm.  Jade is stroppy and unhappy about leaving Brighton where all her friends are. But Caro and Ollie both love the idea of a big restoration project, and despite the huge financial strain, and a number of warnings in the surveyors report, they buy Cold Hill House – a huge, dilapidated, Georgian mansion.  Within days of moving in with, it soon becomes apparent that the Harcourt family aren’t the only residents in the house….. The first thing that happens is that Jade is up in her room a couple of days later, on Facetime, to her best friend in Brighton, when her friend suddenly says, ‘Jade, who is that lady standing behind you?’

 

As I was reading I was trying to work out if the House could possibly be considered the central character with Oliver and his family as supporting players. Do you consider this to be Ollie’s story or the story of the House?

Well, I love the strapline that my publishers came up with for ‘THE HOUSE ON COLD HILL’…. ‘Evil Isn’t Born, It’s Built’.   I’ll leave the context of that to your imagination!

 

Every town seems to have a house which the locals believe may be haunted – is the house in the book based on a real property?

The House On Cold Hill is very much inspired by – and modeled on – an isolated historic house in Sussex that my former wife and I bought in 1989, and lived in for a decade – and which turned out to be very seriously haunted.

 

Have you ever seen a ghost?

I have never actually seen a ghost, however, at the house I mention in the previous question there were many things that happened that I couldn’t explain. I saw on many occasions, tiny pinpricks of white light floating in the air.  A medium who I used a lot during my writing of Possession, visited my house and she told me I was slightly psychic, and that is why I saw these pinpricks, and that while I was not actually seeing the entire apparition, I was picking up on some of its energy.

 

Do you need to adopt a very different approach to building a horror story than you may need to write a crime novel?

It is a different approach for sure. With my series of crime novels I have to keep the consistency throughout the series and bring in continuity with characters, places, and my research with the police is as accurate as I can possibly make it. With the horror story which based on ghostly experiences I can go a little more free-form and let my imagination take over!

 

At the risk of spoilers – is there one scene in your book you are particularly happy with? Perhaps one that you had fun writing?

A key element of the story is a mysterious window in the dilapidated Georgian mansion that my couple buy.  A window that, they one day realize, is for a room that does not appear to exist.  A room that has no door…  I really enjoyed writing this part.   And there is a chilling postscript to my writing ‘THE HOUSE ON COLD HILL’.… In addition to my home in Sussex, I have an apartment on two floors in Notting Hill.   A month after finishing the book my wife, Lara, and I were walking along the street beneath, looking up, and talking about his particular part of the book.  Suddenly Lara asked, pointing up, ‘Which room is that window in?’ We stood there frozen for some moments, as it began to dawn on us that the window did not make sense.  We could not work out which room it was.  We ran in, raced up the six flights of stairs and into each of the two rooms which the “mystery” window seem to straddle.  But there was no window!  We finally did solve the mystery – the builders who had put a fitted wardrobe in the master bedroom had, for whatever reason, decided to lose the window in the process and, leaving the glass on the outside, had timbered over the inside.

Who says truth is not stranger than fiction???!

HOST 2

I first encountered your books around the time of Prophecy, Twilight and Host. Back then you were competing for my reading time with King, Herbert, Hutson and to some extent Dean Koontz. Although Mr King is still prolific do you feel there is less choice for horror readers these days or am I missing new talent?

For a long time horror went out of fashion, and many old horror writers that I knew found it increasingly hard to get published and to gain shelf space in bookstores, so I would strongly agree that there is less choice. It was one of the reasons my publishers asked me if I would like to return to the genre.

 

You spend months creating a terrifying story to chill your readers but what scares you?

Many things! I’m scared of heights, and I am deeply claustrophobic – although that claustrophobia helped a lot in writing my first Roy Grace novel, Dead Simple, in which one of the characters is buried alive in a coffin in remote woods after a stag night prank goes wrong, with everyone who knows where he is – bar one person – dead in a car wreck.  And that one person has a very good reason to keep quiet.  I had myself put into a coffin, and the lid screwed down, for thirty minutes, as part of my research.  It was the most terrifying thirty minutes of my life!

 

After concentrating on the Roy Grace novels for so long was it liberating to switch to something so very different?

Yes I really enjoyed writing this and many of my Roy Grace fans are excited to read it too. For my very long-term fans this book will be like returning to some of my earlier work… my first successful novel, back in 1988, was Possession, a supernatural thriller, and I wrote several in this vein before moving on to psychological thrillers and then crime.  Much though I love writing my Roy Grace books – I’m currently working on the 12th in the series, there are other areas I’m very keen to explore.  I wrote Perfect People, a thriller about “designer” babies, which was published four years ago, in which I look at the choices science will ultimately give parents on choosing the genetic make-up of their offspring.  I loved writing it and the book was highly successful.  My publishers thought it would be fun for me to have a return to the supernatural, and they were right.  I had a great time writing The House On Cold Hill, and certainly plan to write more in this field.  Possibly even a sequel!

 

Your books have enjoyed a great deal of success and you are a household name what advice would you offer to young aspiring writers?

There is only one way to penetrate the world of writing novels, and that is to write novels.  I don’t believe good writers can be taught, although I think their technique can be helped.  My most important recommendation to any young person who wants to write novels is to read, read and read.  Particularly the kind of novels they would like to write – and to deconstruct them, literally – and work out what made them like this or that particular book.  How did the writer get them hooked… how did the writer make them care for the characters….  It is impossible to stress this enough

 

What are you currently reading?Peter james

I read avidly and widely and my biggest regret is that being a writer ironically means I never get to read as much as I want.  The reason is I don’t like to read fiction while I am in the first draft writing process – which is around 7 months of each year – as it is too easy to pick up someone else’s style.  But then I read huge amounts of non-fiction, some for research and some for pleasure. I recently really enjoyed ‘I Let You Go’ by Claire Macintosh. I was first sent it as a proof, asking for a quote, and I was utterly gripped.  It is wonderfully written, with credible and interesting characters, and has one of the most astonishing twists I’ve ever read, turning the story completely on hits head halfway through.  It was one of those rare books I put down thinking, “Gosh, wish I’d written this!”

 

Are you able to give us any clues as to what you are currently working on?

I’m currently working hard to finish Roy Grace 12, it’s called ‘Love You Dead’.  I have the stage play of my novella, ‘The Perfect Murder’, coming back on tour early next year so we are casting for that. It will star Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace and has had two hugely successful nationwide tours already. I hope also to share some good news about Roy Grace on TV soon!

 

My most sincere thanks to Peter.

The House on Cold Hill is available now in Hardback and Digital format.  My 5 star review can be found here

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October 21

The House On Cold Hill – Peter James

The House On Cold HillThey 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 . . .

My thanks to Julia at Midas PR for my beautiful review copy.

 

The House on Cold Hill – a terrific ghost story and a perfectly timed release with Halloween just around the corner.

When I first read Peter James it was around the time he released Prophecy and Twilight. I was discovering books about ghosts and monsters and taking a break from my normal choice of reading (which was always crime fiction). Mr James was a writer of horror stories and he was bloody good at it too. Time passed and he introduced us to a character called Roy Grace and in doing so firmly established himself as a bit of a wizard at writing great crime stories too.

The House on Cold Hill sees Peter James take a break from the Grace novels and return to a stand-alone horror tale. As I had recently been lamenting the lack of horror tales in my TBR pile I could not wait to get my teeth into this one – and I was not to be disappointed!

As you may have guessed, The House on Cold Hill is a haunted house – the efficiency of the haunting is firmly cemented in the opening chapters with a shocking scene which caught me unawares. This was the perfect reminder for me that in a good horror story ANYTHING can happen.

The story follows Oliver and Caro Harcourt and their daughter Jade. They have bought Cold Hill House and are looking forward to a fresh start away from the city in their grand country home. But even as they are moving there are some unexplained occurrences, mysterious shadows crossing a room and one of the family may have seen a figure who should not have been in the house at the time.

As the story progresses Peter James does a brilliant job of building up the tension for the reader who can never quite be sure how much characters can be trusted, how accurate conversations are or who may escape the story unscathed. A special mention to one scene which made me glad I do not ever need to FaceTime!

I was totally drawn into The House on Cold Hill, I was compelled to keep reading long into the night and it made me realise how much I have missed reading a good horror story.  This book is an absolute treat for readers who enjoy a chilling tale in the dark winter evenings. A must read – a five star score.

 

The House on Cold Hill is published by Macmillan and is available in Hardback and digital format

Peter James is on Twitter: @peterjamesuk

 

 

 

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