“The dead don’t frighten me, it’s the living I’m scared of.” – Peter James.
The House on Cold Hill is, unsurprisingly, set around a house which has a long history where a lot of its inhabitants have died one way or another, leaving certain patterns which Ollie, our main character, eventually uncovers. This story would fit into the genre of horror as it is a ghost story and can be a little scary at times (though that may depend on how active your imagination is).
The interesting thing about this book is that you never know exactly where it’s going to go. You know something (bad) is going to happen, but not always what. The only predictable aspect of this book were the deaths, but I don’t suspect that those were intended to be shocking, except from the perspective of our main characters. This book definitely kept me on my toes as just as I thought I was uncovering the mystery, I’d be proven wrong. James clearly likes to trick his readers, but I won’t say any more for fear of spoilers.
The ending left me rather satisfied, except I really enjoyed the character of Annie so I would have liked to see what exactly had happened to her. I also would have found it interesting to see what a certain death at the end looked like from the perspective of someone e.g. one of the detectives as it was definitely different to how all of the other characters had died because it didn’t exactly appear natural.
I really enjoyed reading from Ollie’s perspective because we were able to watch all the details unfold and how all these strange, ghostly happenings were affecting him, someone who has to work from home.
I found this to be a rather spooky story, ideal for this time of year as we are approaching Halloween, so I am very glad that I picked this up. The story was also very gripping and I was hooked from the beginning (a relief because I have been stopping and starting books a lot recently as I couldn’t get into them). I rate this 4/5 and am very intrigued about James’ other works as he is more known for his crime novels.
This story did not scare me as much as The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, but I think it will linger with me for a quite a while afterwards. Also, while we’re comparing (may as well as I have read only two other horrors) I definitely prefer this to Printer’s Devil Court by Susan Hill, so I would recommend The House on Cold Hill to those who enjoy a good ghost story.