At its heart was a beautiful, enigmatic woman called Pandora Gibson-Hoare, a photographer of genius whose only legacy is a handful of photographs and the clues to a mystery.
Paul Seaton was lured to the house 10 years ago and escaped, a damaged man. Now three students will die unless he dares to go back. But this time he has ex-soldier Nick Mason at his side, and maybe Mason's military skills and visceral courage will be enough.
©2009 F G Cottam; (P)2009 Oakhill Publishing Ltd
I really looked forward to listening this book. The idea sounded great and having read reviews about it I bought it. Unfortunately I was very disappointed.
The author spends far to much time on unnecessary and tedious details and flashbacks which could have been dealt with in paragraphs rather than chapters. He writes a total character assassination of Dennis Wheatley (who always denied any connection to black magic but in this book becomes a more than willing disciple - I'm not a Wheatley fan but he would have pitched a fit and probably sued the socks off this author!) and produced other characters that were 2 dimensional and who, not long into the book, I hoped were going to get killed off.
And the ending? It was pathetic! It was almost as if the author had run out of whatever little steam he had.
The idea for the book is a good one. In the hands of a better writer (or perhaps a more skilled editor) it could have a great book. But it's not. I love horror of all types, new and old, and by a variety of authors but this is one book that will not even make my top 200.
I enjoyed this author's later novel "The waiting room". It had flair, originality. This seems intriguing at first, but the pay-off is ghastly. The ending is rushed, it is absolutely ludicrous. After some chapters which were tediously long, to rush the conclusion of the book in such a way by the use of an unexplained and completely arbitrary "deus ex machina" ( I know I'm mixing my metaphors and pleonasms, but you get my drift) is unexcusable. This is not a haunted house book, this is not a good book. This is not a book, as it has no recognizable ending. Give it a wide berth
I give up. Way too much on the waffle side of writing. I can't listen any longer. Maybe an abridged version would be better. Shame but I can't be bothered to finish this and I'm not far from the end.
I really like F G Cottam's books. This is one of his earliest that I had not heard before. Like his others, there is plenty of suspense and a story line that twists and turns so much so that I did have to rewind a couple of times to fully understand what was going on. But I do love the way F G Cottam writes and the fact that although they are "horror" stories, there are no vampires or zombies! Bit of a flat ending to this one. And David Rintoul is a far better narrator than Peter Wickham I am afraid.
I'm a fan of F.G. Cottam and I've been going through his back catalogue. This is obviously an early work and the first of his novels that I have not liked. Since this novel's publication, Cottam has learned how to edit his work and simplify his stories. He seems to have wanted to throw everything he could imagine into this story. It suffers from too many stories within the overall narrative and far too much detail and the ending is confusing. Some large sections are flashbacks and others are taken from a decades old diary. In better hands, this could have worked but there is so much padding and detail that I had to keep reminding myself what was happening. Also, there is a very graphic description of debauchery, not surprising giving the subject, but I had expected more subtly from Cottam.
I have one more of Cottam's back catalogue to listen to and I'm looking forward to his future work so I suppose this hasn't put me off Cottam, but I'm going to write this off as a early attempt by an author who developed a more mature style.
Cottam's later novels are read by David Rintoul, who I like and now associate with Cottam's audiobooks. This one is read by Peter Whickham and it took me a while to get over this disappointment.
"Not a bad book"
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I liked some of the story set in the past, and generally liked the overall plot. However, there were parts that didn't really need to be in there and sometimes it felt like parts kept on going for way too long. The ending was...interesting. It was very unexpected and felt like the author just wanted to wrap things up in a hurry. But it did make you think, and correlated with some of the events that happened in the story's past. I found myself thinking about the book the next day, and linking up the ending with what had happened previously. In my mind the stories that you think of after you have read it are the good ones. I recommend The Colony by the same author, which is very good, and am looking forward to checking out more by Cottam.
"A good solid scary story"
A thriller which is based on the theme of devil possession but will also appeal to a reader who is not religious. In fact, the protagonist himself is presented as an atheist who struggles to reconcile his world view with the terrible events that keep hinting at church teachings. This storyline, however, is more subtle and not so in-you-face as in Cottam's other book, and not irritating at all. The novel is dynamic, expertly interweaves the past and the present, and keeps one on the edge of his chair. The characters are likeable enough, but not so very much that you would get depressed for days when they die :) The narrator does a really good job, too. On the whole, I recommend it to those who like fairly easy reading, but good quality and with a thrill
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