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The House On Cold Hill by Peter James

The House On Cold Hill by Peter James is one of the most entertaining and spooky haunted house novels I have ever read. I enjoyed it so much that I would rank it right up there with the classic novels of my all time favourite horror author, James Herbert.

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The House On Cold Hill tells the story of Ollie and Carol Harcourt and their 12-year-old daughter Jade, as they relocate from the heart of Brighton to live in a big old dilapidated mansion deep in the Sussex countryside. Although it’s a big step, Ollie is instantly filled with delight once he claps eyes on their grand new country home. Despite the big cost of moving house, he has always harboured a dream to live in the country, and so he looks upon Cold Hill as the ideal place for his animal-loving daughter, the perfect place to work on his web design business, and a fabulous long-term investment.

But they are only in Cold Hill for a few days before strange things start to happen, things which set the alarm bells ringing so much that they soon begin to wonder if they have taken the right step by uprooting out to this mansion. Jade’s friend is the first one to see the ghostly woman, standing right behind her as the pals communicate on Facetime. More eerie sightings soon follow, in addition to a string of unexplainable occurrences in the house.

As the hauntings become more and more ominous and threatening, and the house itself begins to turn on the Harcourts, the disturbed family uncover Cold Hill’s dark history… and the terrifying truth about what it could spell for them.

The House On Cold Hill is just brilliant, as it contains all the traditional hallmarks you come to expect of the perfect English ghost story: creepy atmosphere, supernatural occurrences, unexpected plot twists, tragic deaths, and plenty of ghosts to chill your spine (to the extent that I eventually found myself wondering who was a ghost and who wasn’t). I also love all the characters and the way they interact with each other. And the ending was just… well, I won’t spoil it for you by revealing what happens. You’ll have to buy the book and see for yourself.

Alan Toner