The Secret of Cold Hill by Peter James

3rd November 2021.

This is a supernatural story about the ghostly goings on at a new housing development, built on the site of Cold Hill House, which burnt to the ground. Two families have moved into new houses and soon discover they’re not the only ones living there as they see and experience apparitions, spooky sounds and smells and families that don’t exist.

It starts amicably enough with the Danes loving their new home. A few noises here, a few there, the face of an angry woman put down to stress and tiredness interrupt their enjoyment. Then there are the Penze-Weedells, the most pompous and dreadful neighbours you could imagine. Cue lots of humour as these characters become caricatures.

The supernatural occurrences increase, causing all manner of problems for the Danes. A visit to the local pub soon leads to some ominous warnings about no one living beyond the age of 40, or leaving alive, time shifting and other ghastly events involving previous residents who died.

I enjoyed this slickly written story. The suspense builds as the supernatural events escalate and become more intrusive. The Danes verge into hysteria and try to escape. But the story ends somewhat abruptly without any real explanation of why these supernatural beings are haunting the new residents.


Cold Hill House has been razed to the ground by fire, replaced with a development of ultra-modern homes. Gone with the flames are the violent memories of the house’s history, and a new era has begun.

Although much of Cold Hill Park is still a construction site, the first two families move into their new houses. For Jason and Emily Danes, this is their forever home, and for Maurice and Claudette Penze-Weedell, it’s the perfect place to live out retirement. Despite the ever present rumble of cement mixers and diggers, Cold Hill Park appears to be the ideal place to live. But looks are deceptive and it’s only a matter of days before both couples start to feel they are not alone in their new homes.

There is one thing that never appears in the estate agent brochures: nobody has ever survived beyond forty in Cold Hill House and no one has ever truly left . . .

The Secret of Cold Hill by Peter James