The House on Cold Hill by Peter James – review.


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 the city of Brighton and Hove to the Sussex countryside is a big undertaking for born townies, Ollie Harcourt, his wife, Caro, and their twelve-year-old daughter, Jade. But when they view Cold Hill House – a huge, dilapidated, Georgian mansion – they are filled with excitement. Despite the financial strain of the move, Ollie has dreamed of living in the country since he was a child, and with its acres of land, he sees Cold Hill House as a paradise for his animal-loving daughter, a base for his web-design business and a terrific long-term investment. Caro is less certain, and Jade is grumpy about being removed from all her friends.

But within days of moving in, it soon becomes apparent that the Harcourt family aren’t the only residents in the house. At first it is only a friend of Jade, talking to her on Facetime, who sees a spectral woman standing behind her. Then there are more sightings of her, as well as increasingly disturbing occurrences in the house. Two weeks after moving in, Caro, out in the garden, is startled to see faces staring out of an upstairs window of the house.

The window of a room which holds the secret to the house’s dark history . . . a room which does not appear to exist . . .

About the author

Peter James is a UK No. 1 bestselling author, best known for writing crime and thriller novels, and the creator of the much-loved Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. With a total of 15 Sunday Times No. 1s under his belt, he has achieved global book sales of over 20 million copies to date, and has been translated into 37 languages.

Synonymous with plot-twisting page-turners, Peter has garnered an army of loyal fans throughout his storytelling career – which also included stints writing for TV and producing films. He has won over 40 awards for his work, including the WHSmith Best Crime Author of All Time Award, Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger and a BAFTA nomination for The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons for which he was an Executive Producer. Many of Peter’s novels have been adapted for film, TV and stage.

Visit Peter James on YouTube:

My thoughts

I’ll start with how I reached my decision to read this particular book. I asked my Facebook friends to recommend a contemporary haunted house story that was going to scare me and now I can add that this book didn’t disappoint (Thanks, Dionne). It gave me frights throughout, just what I’d hope a haunted house book would do.

I’ve been a fan of this horror sub genre for as long as I can remember. This fascination started with the films I watched as a child and teen. I wanted to recapture those chills I felt whilst watching ‘The Haunting’ (1963), and my all time favourite haunted house film, ‘The Changeling’ (1980). I won’t digress too much, but in my view ‘The Changeling’ is one of the best in this genre – ever. If you love an atmospheric ghost film that will scare the life out of you, this is a film that you have to watch.

Further information on the films mentioned above:

Anyway, let’s head back to Cold Hill. The moment I read the description and saw the cover, I knew I’d found ‘the one’ and boy was I proven right. At times I felt the icy fingers of the dead creeping up my neck (not literally – haha) and that’s what I judge a fantastic haunted house book on. Did it creep me out? Yes, it did. Did it make me feel as trapped as the poor people living in the house? Yes it did. Did it make me jump when the the plug to my laptop that was precariously dangling off my dressing table dropped to the floor in the middle of the night? Like hell it did – eek! Cold House did its job brilliantly. It gave me the jittery chills and I loved it.

I warmed to the main characters with ease. Ollie, Caro, and teenager, Jade are a fairly standard middle class family with aspirations to create something magnificent in the rundown Cold Hill House. Like many people, they’re looking to swap town life for country living. Such normal aspirations. That was the end of normal as they entered the realms of Cold Hill. Just the name is enough to send a shiver running up your back. I loved the short punchy chapters which kept me turning the pages at lightning speed and I couldn’t put it down to the very end. That’s testament to Peter James’s fantastic writing skills.

If you, like me, are a fan of this genre, ‘The House on Cold Hill’ needs to go on your reading list. And, moving forward, I’ll make sure none of my plugs are dangling over the edges of furniture before I go to sleep. I could do without any middle of the night palpitations after reading scary books – hehe. Absolutely loved it!

By Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestseller, The Next Girl.


About Carla

Welcome to my blog! I’m the author of the DI Gina Harte Series, first book is called The Next Girl. I love and live for writing and reading (and sketching - haha). My other passion is filmmaking. My feature film 'Penny for the Guy' is a work in progress. If you enjoy a bit of horror, look out for it in the future. I'm on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Feel free to join me on other platforms. I blog about many random things but books, travel and art are my favourites.
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