Book Review - The House On Cold Hill

by Peter James (Macmillan) ISBN 9781447290674 

They said the dead can’t hurt you...they were wrong. I was fascinated with this story from the beginning, where a ghostly old lady dressed in blue with a hideous smile, walks through walls. 

Ollie and Caro and daughter Jade are thrilled with their new castle like home.  There is a drip from an old ceiling in the main bedroom which forces Caro and Ollie to move into the four poster iron bedstead in the attic. They wake up to find the bed has been turned around completely, in spite of the smallness of the room. Caro is beginning to realise that the house is haunted. Ollie doesn’t want to acknowledge this because he loves the place. A night of the wallpaper becoming so damp that they have to leave the room is a puzzle because in the morning the sopping wet wallpaper is bone dry. 

The wonderful way that the author brings in a horde of workmen makes everything in the house seem so normal. Then there are messages on Ollie’s phone which disappear. Threatening messages. Caro and Jade decide to leave. Ollie runs after them. Read on. 

The ending is as ghostly as the beginning. I couldn’t put this novel down. 

Dee Andrew
Www.writerswrite.co.za
5/5

“They said the dead can’t hurt you … they were wrong”. The by-line on the cover of Peter James’ latest book should send chills down your spine. 

Ollie decides that he needs to take risks so he uproots his wife, Caro, and 13-year-old daughter, Jade, from their comfortable city life to live in their dream house in the country. The house is big and old and it soon becomes clear that Ollie does not have enough money to repair and renovate. One flaw after another is revealed by the builders who declare that without repairing, the house could fall down. And to add to Ollie’s worries, the ghosts reveal themselves. As the ghosts become belligerent, Caro is warned via a medium that their lives are in danger. Ollie refuses to be intimidated. Besides, repairing the house has exhausted their life-savings so the family cannot afford to leave. 

Jade seems to accept the presence of the ghosts as ‘cool’. Although she is an interesting character, I did find this acceptance from a young teen difficult to understand. The first chapter sets the tone but is confusing. It is only towards the end of the story that the chapter starts to make sense. James also tends to add in irrelevant detail that does not add to the suspense and can be irritating. 

There are a few storylines that are left unanswered and the ending is too predictable. An easy book to read for ghost lovers but not worth it if you like a plot that will keep you scared out of your wits. 

Ulrike Hill
www.writerswrite.co.za
2/5

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