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The House of Lost Souls Hardcover – July 7, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. British author Cottam (Dark Echo) makes his U.S. debut with a riveting supernatural thriller. A decade earlier, while on a research trip to London's notoriously haunted Fischer House on the Isle of Wight, psychically sensitive journalist Paul Seaton barely escaped a demonic entity that occultist Aleister Crowley had summoned in the 1920s. Now, Paul investigates a new tragedy: four unfortunate philosophy students encountered something so foul at Fischer House that it killed one and threatens the sanity of the three survivors. The only way for Paul to help the students and redress the shambles that his life has become since his nightmare experience is to return to Fischer House and lay the evil that still stalks the grounds. Cottam evokes influences that range from Dennis Wheatley (who has a minor role) to Shirley Jackson, and conjures a mood of paranoia perfect for Paul's unsettling adventure. Rich in atmosphere, the book builds to a shattering finale. (July)
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"Skillful characterizations draw you into a relentlessly congealing atmosphere of menace and dread. A compulsive and truly disturbing read. I hope to see more from F. G. Cottam, and soon.”
--F. Paul Wilson, author of the Repairman Jack series
"A mad spiral of mystery and horror, totally engrossing and richly evocative of the decadent twenties, The House of Lost Souls is a remarkable debut."
--Keith Donohue, author of The Stolen Child
"The House of Lost Souls is an elegant ghost story that will keep you up all night and haunt you long after the last page."
--Carol Goodman, author of The Night Villa
"Energetically reviving a neglected genre, Cottam delivers convincing chills alongside engrossing and highly cinematic heroics."
--Kirkus Reviews
"A riveting supernatural thriller. . . . Rich in atmosphere, the book builds to a shattering finale."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Echoes of The Blair Witch Project resonate throughout this chilling novel. Cottam's ... adrenaline-charged prose is drawn tight with suspense."
--Financial Times (UK)
"In this brilliant and chilling novel real events in the past impact on the present and a terrible sense of foreboding will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page."
--Lancashire Evening Post (UK)
"F.G. Cottam employs old-fashioned suspense combined with modern horror imagery to produce a fine example of the genre."
--Times Online (UK)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (July 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312544324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312544324
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,492,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The music references are fantastic, they suit the book completely.
S. Brown
Took me about 2 weeks to read about 100 pages in (not the most unusual thing for me, it took me about 80 pages to get into The Host and I ended up LOVING that book!!)
Amazon Customer
There was too much description that wasn't merged with the story very well.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Eerie and gothic, there is nothing frivolous about this novel, a tale delving into the unmentionable horrors of the unknown, the evil that opposes good. From London in the jazz age and the estate of Karl Fischer, a Nazi sympathizer, to the mid-1990s, when Paul Seaton, a moody Irish newspaperman, offers to help his girlfriend with research for her dissertation, a frail thread extends from an unquiet grave to the hysterical state of a group of modern-day college students who visit Fischer House and are confronted with the unfettered malice that inhabits the estate. When Paul travels to Fischer House in search of more information on the subject of the dissertation- society fashion photographer Pandora Gibson-Hoare- he barely escapes with his life, his emotional stability severely compromised. Since then, Seaton's world has been in shambles, his relationship ruined, years spent traveling from one country to another in search of peace.

All is reawakened with the students' tragic mishap. One student commits suicide and the others are in desperate condition, visited my unimaginable horrors unless deeply sedated.
One of the hapless students is the sister of Nick Mason, a covert operations expert who meets with Seaton, the two determining a course of action to release the students from their torment. Through Paul's retelling of his harrowing experience and the diaries of Pandora Gibson-Hoare, we learn the details of an experiment in 1937 at Fischer House that has nearly destroyed Paul and threatens the remaining students.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"The House of Lost Souls" by F.G. Cottam is very well-written and highly atmospheric. In fact, this novel qualifies as literary fiction, for the prose flows so well and the use of language is compelling and highly imaginative. I know that this may seem to be overly high praise, but in the horror genre, which happens to be one of my favorite genres, it isn't often that one comes across such a well-written work that also has a compelling plot [and to think I found it in the local library!].

The plot begins with a group of young university students [the story is set in England] who are attending the funeral of one of their classmates who had committed suicide. The other girls go into fits of hysterics upon seeing an apparition of their dead friend at her own funeral. Soon after, each of the girls still alive tries to take her own life. This includes Sarah Mason, beloved sister of military officer Nick Mason, and in desperation [and through the intercession of a sinister psychiatrist with questionable motives, Malcolm Covey]turns to Paul Seaton, a troubled man who is trying to forget some harrowing events in his past, but finds it difficult to do so, haunted by disembodies strains of ragtime jazz.

It turns out that the students had been to the infamous Fischer House, an abandoned and isolated mansion on the Isle of Wight, which has some sinister associations. Paul Seaton is well acquainted with the house, having almost been a 'victim' of it years ago.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This came up as a suggestion when I bought Harwood's The Ghost Writer (no relation to the Polanski movie), and its main failing is the same: after many pages of wonderfully creepy atmosphere and absorbing nested tales, the ending goes right off the rails with a truncated, poorly-explained resolution. I think both books are still well worth reading, as long as you realize they won't bring it home with a satisfying conclusion. I agree with another review as well: Cottam's language becomes repetitive in a rather distracting way. I think the adjective "blearing" was used at least six times, and it became a bit annoying. Still, he really delivers atmosphere, and I enjoyed reading this enough to check out his other work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JAK on March 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Overall this is a very skillfully done work.It is a pastiche of THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and ALL HOLLOWS EVE,with liberal doses of THE EXORCIST and ROSEMARY'S BABY set in 1980's and 1990's England.If that sounds interesting this book is for you.On top of all that the author throws in Aleister Crowley and Herman Goring.Until the end I found it an intelligent effective entertainment vehicle.Granted except for the main character, the characterizations are pretty weak but I can't say I particularly cared.It is the end that bothered me.I have to admit , I don't think I understood it.It just didn't seem to add up.I think this is a problem that a lot of fiction dealing with the supernatural has .The author often can't figure out how to bring the thing to an end.In supernatural fiction you can work in blatantly unrealistic elements because after all you are dealing with the unreal almost by definition but you have to face the fact that you do have real readers who want to have some sense of what is going on. This is where the problem often creeps up.Once you start explaining the inexplicable there is a tendency to get lost or even stop making sense and I think that is a problem here.Satisfaction in this context is usually maximized by a mixture of ambiguity and explanation. The author needs to explain enough to make it clear you haven't just read an incoherent mish mash but needs to resist the temptation to have it all make sense as if it were a Hercule Poirot story.Here I had the feeling that both too little and too much were explained.That said , supernatural stories are for me what detective or crime novels are for others light entertaining reading and this is a good one.I did find it hard to put down and I admit I will try to reread the end.
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