In no way can this be called a crime novel. If it was a film, it would probably come into the horror category but, as a book, it might be said to be part of the rapidly growing number of supernatural tomes.
The plot is simple. Retired rock star buys a country estate for himself and his family. In the grounds is a derelict waiting room from the days a line ran through the land. He hears noises and enlists the aid of celebrity TV ghost hunter, Julian Creed, to track down the source. Creed is a fraud. He doesn’t really believe in the paranormal.
Until he spends a night in the waiting room!
Cottam writes in a style similar to Robert Goddard: an old fashioned, very English style. He has Goddard’s sense of suspense too and the book is certainly a serious page-turner. I must admit, however, the ending totally floored me.
I was quite surprised to learn he launched the lad’s magazine, FHM, followed by Total Sport and Men’s Health. Strange. I would have had him down for more of an academic tan a magazine editor, although he has got a degree in history. He also grew up in my hometown of Southport but I never had the pleasure of meeting him.
The Waiting Room is his fourth book and it has made me curious to read the others. I feel sure we will hear a lot more from Mr Cottam but… crime writer?