The waiting room stands on a crumbling railway platform at the edge of a retired rock star’s vast estate. Abandoned to dereliction and isolated by a moat of thorny wilderness, it used to be a playground for his children. Until strange music and the terrifying spectre of a leering soldier frightened them away. Julian Creed is TV’s most popular ghost hunter. Only his small production team knows he is a complete fake who doesn’t even believe in the paranormal. Until he spends one night in the waiting room.
©2010 F.G. Cottam (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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"A clever, subtly scary read"
I'll come clean from the start - I had an extra credit and nothing I particularly wanted to spend it on this month. My first credit went on Joe Hill's excellent new book, Horns - the second went on The Waiting Room almost at random. I've been pretty disappointed by a lot of the new horror that's come out over the last year or so, but it's books like The Waiting Room that make me try to keep abreast of them as much as possible.
The concept of the book is hardly the most original - listening made me think of Stephen King's Pet Sematary, M.R. James, Lovecraft and the like, and the ghost hunter angle's also fairly popular now - but most horror is very derivative now, and the way this book is written, coupled with David Ritoul's excellent reading, results in a subtle, genuinely disturbing but oddly comforting narrative. The atmosphere it creates reminds me fondly of the kind of ghost story classically told around the fireside, which I enjoyed immensely. There's very little violence and hardly any gore - the horror aspect is more atmospheric and subtle than that, which I admire in a genre increasingly affected by movies. Not that there's anything wrong with gore if it's done well, I just like to have the option.
Um - that probably got a bit wordy. Basically though, if you have a spare audible credit & are looking for a good piece of horror fiction, I'd really recommend The Waiting Room. If you enjoy this, you might enjoy Dark Matter (Michelle Paver) or maybe The Passage (by Justin Cronin), both of which are available on Audible (unfortunately I don't know a lot about F.G. Cottam's other works).
"Let down by truly terrible dialogue..."
This was a half decent attempt at doing something a bit different with a ghost story and by and large it's not a bad read/listen. However the dialogue is possibly the worst I've ever come across - to the point of comedy and annoyance. It's also badly let down by the ending, rushed doesn't really begin to describe it - I think deadline day must have been approaching!
Worth buying though, despite it's faults.
"An oddly comforting ghost story"
I did not know this author or this narrator, and both wove a strong spell. The narrator is very good, and the story very well crafted. No gore here, or very little, but a gradual build up of tension with some genuinely thought-provoking ideas on ghosts and people who have psychic sensitivity. I've read dozens of horror novels, from the great old ones to the scary gorey young'uns. this one was very good, had strong characters, and the ending was a great surprise, very original, very well thought out and fulfilling. I'll check out Cottam's other books right now.
Those who like this kind of book will LOVE Michelle Paver's "DARK MATTER", an excellent, atmospheric book magnificently read by Jeremy Northam ( here on audible too)
Excellent gradual build-up of tension based on the mundane world. The ghost element becomes increasingly sinister. Genuinely couldn't guess how the book was going to end. Great narrator. I'll be checking-ou more works be FG Cottam
"Not to be missed"
This is the best book I have heard in a while ,I had a spare credit and could not decide so went for this and was not disappointed its an amazing listen I was hooked would highly recommend it.
"A brilliantly read chiller"
This story stretches the listener's credibility but if you go with it and allow yourself to be swept along, then you are in for a genuinely scary tale that plays with time in an original and interesting way. I shall be downloading other audiobooks by the author and David Rintoul is, as ever, an excellent narrator.
I found this unusual and surprisingly compelling. Worth sticking with as both the plot and the characters develop in unexpected ways.
"Should Have Been A Short Story"
The plot and main characters are OK but after the first couple of hours the pace just drops off a cliff. in fact I wish I had given up. The narrator doesn't help - I can't accept that a miners son from Lancashire would pronounce "suit" as "see-yoot" or "illusion" as "ill-yoo-shone".
"More than a Ghost Story"
I bought this book as it was reduced to £5.99 in the Audible Sale and I wanted to save my credits. I went on the basis of other reviews and found I had myself a real bargain.
This book is clever and I had no idea where it would go. The story is really compelling and the narrator is excellent. He manages to bring all the characters to life and the emotional journey of the main protaganist was rewarding in and of itself. The mark of a good book is when it stays with you and I have found myself thinking of the concepts in the two days since I finished it. Unfortunately, it is a very hard book to review without giving anything away. There is so much more I would love to say about it but I would not want it to be spoilt for anyone who has not read it.
It may be a ghost story but it holds its this own with any other genre. I would not hesitate to recommend this book and will be looking for others works by the author, especially if they are complimented by David Rintoul as the narrator.
"Enjoyable, but something lacking"
I enjoyed this and would say it's a good listen for a long journey. It started really well, and the idea of a TV 'medium' as the central gumshoe-style hero/anti-hero is original. However I've only given it 3 stars as I felt there was something missing. Some of the backstory didn't quite add up, and therefore stretched credulity. Also, some parts of the plot seemed to be set up for things to happen later... and then those things didn't happen. The ending was interesting, but slightly disappointing. Worth a listen, though, as it does while away a few hours and there are some genuinely creepy moments!
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