I’ve always loved a ghost story. In fact, I really enjoy scaring the bejesus out of myself by reading spooky tales then daring to walk through the darkened house, peering into shadows, corners and crannies willing a figure to appear, but deep down hoping to Christ it doesn’t. It gives me a little thrill to get my heart rate up high, and then settle back into bed having conquered my fear of getting a glass of water without turning the light on.
Since having a baby, the idea of spirits or bogeymen don’t scare me as much. I think being a parent makes you fear real world threats; like meningococcal disease, kidnappers, private school fees, and wetting your pants when a sneeze catches you by surprise.
However, even the bravest of folk would find it hard not to feel a shiver when delving into The Waiting Room, by FG Cottam.
The waiting room is a derelict building that stands on a railway line that runs through Martin Stride’s country estate. A retired rock-star, and recluse, Stride and his family moved to the country where he hoped his children would flourish and play and breathe the hearty air. Everything changes when Stride’s son begins to hear strange music in the Waiting Room, and sees the ghostly figure of a soldier with a threatening leer on the railway platform.
Stride calls in TV’s most popular ghost hunter, Julian Creed, who is a fake and sceptic at heart. But he is famous and seemingly successful at vanquishing ghouls, so he plays the part and agrees to investigate. And then he spends the night in the Waiting Room…
Scary from the beginning, this story will curl your toes and make you look over your shoulder before turning out the light. The haunting is described so convincingly and cleverly by Cottam, that the reader can feel the cold, the goose-bumps, the quickened pulse and the terror that both lead characters experience.
And it’s not your typical kind of wave the curtains, rattle the windows, play music from an abandoned attic kind of ghost either. He is legitimately threatening, physically aggressive, and his breath smells of decomposing meat.
As the soldier’s history unfolds, he becomes more terrifying, and you’ll devour pages quickly to finally reach what is a satisfying end.
A genuine thriller, this book had me opting to go thirsty at night, and asking my hubby to block his ears while I used our door-less ensuite. There was no way I was walking through the dark house to the other loo after reading this one.
In short: Spine chillingly satisfying