The House on Cold Hill Peter James

Oh, I go on about endings (and will do in a moment) but the opening of this ghost story is spectacular.  A lot of build-up and then – I won’t spoil it.  It’s a wonderful technique and I was hooked.  It was easy to read past page 100 and carry on.  I don’t like James’s writing style; I do find it a little too typical of blockbuster, rushed fiction.  However, I do like his plots.  The stories are better planned with James than they are written – and therefore, from a storytelling point of view, he’s a good writer.  They are very easy to read and really quite unputdownable.  However, it was the ending that let this book down.  The development was excellent.  The house is very much a character of its own and very well developed.  Its bloody, murderous history is enthralling and wicked.  But the finale, the climax, is so very messy.  It’s all over the place.  It’s as though deadline day was looming and James tied up loose ends clumsily and, I’m sorry to say, very badly.  I was left incredibly disappointed.  One string – a secret room – could have been a gripping sub plot to invest more effort and pages in, but it was bungled so completely.  The House on Cold Hill started so rivetingly, but ended so appallingly that it’s hard to credit it with a good score.

2.5 out of 5

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