Monday, November 8, 2010

The House of Lost Souls (Novel)

The House of Lost Souls (Novel) Release date: 2007. Author: F.G. Cottam. Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN: 9780340953860.

Plot summary: This ghost story follows the lives of those who have visited the Fischer House on the Isle of Wight off the English coast, those who have survived their visit anyway. The novel begins with Nick Mason, former military operative, who is deeply concerned for his younger sister. It seems that she and her friends, all philosophy students studying the paranormal, visited the mysterious Fischer House and encountered something so awful, one has committed suicide. Mason’s sister seems to have slipped into a perpetual state of paranoia bordering on hysteria, and the other students are following-suit. Seeking to solve the mystery behind his sister’s condition, Mason contacts journalist Paul Seaton. It seems that Seaton visited the Fischer House as a college student himself, and lived to tell the tale, though not without his own sense of unease and paranoia. Together, Mason and Seaton decide to uncover the truth behind what seems to be haunting the girls, and discover a horrifying tale dating back to the 1920s. As Mason’s sister declines more and more, the hunt to stop whatever is stalking her grows more desperate.

Critical evaluation: British writer, F.G. Cottam, has created a dark, gothic ghost story in The House of Lost Souls that will appeal to adults and teens alike. The novel begins with a sense of foreboding and mystery: something terrible lurks in the Fischer House, something that drives anyone who visits the house insane with terror. After visiting the house, one of four college friends has committed suicide. The other three seem ready to follow suit. Trying to discover what it is that is haunting these students, as well as journalist Paul Seaton, enthrall the reader. The ghostly experiences of those who have visited the Fischer House, as well as the fact that the haunting continues long after they have returned to their normal lives, will appeal to teens. Fans of the horror/monster/ghost genre will enjoy the spooky happenings in The House of Lost Souls. One factor that makes the story appropriate for older teens is the lack of gore, language, or sexual situations that are often better suited for adult horror novels. Cottam prefers the psychological scare, and doesn’t need blood and guts to achieve his goal. Another factor that will appeal to horror fans is the presence of historical horror and occult novelist Dennis Wheatley as a character in the novel. The House of Lost Souls is an excellently crafted and truly creepy ghost story; one that is sure to be loved by teens and adults alike.

Reader's annotation: Something dark and mysterious is haunting the Fischer House; something that lingers on long after visitors have left its walls. Prepare to be scared in this dark and spooky ghost story.

About the author: Although he has only written a handful of titles, British author F.G. Cottam seems poised to become one of the next great horror novelists. Born and raised in Southport, Lancashire, Cottam attended the University of Kent at Canterbury and majored in history. Afterwards, he moved to London to pursue a career in journalism. During the 1990s he launched Total Sport magazine and introduced the UK edition of Men’s Health magazine. The House of Lost Souls was his first novel to be released in the United States. He currently lives in Kingston upon Thames. (

Genre: Horror/Fiction, Adult-crossover

Curriculum ties:
Horror novelist of the past (Dennis Wheatley)

Booktalking ideas:
Hauntings/ghost stories
The occult
Sibling relationships

Reading level/Interest Age:
Age 16+

Challenge issues:

Challenge counterpoints:
Recommended for ages 16+.
Recommend parent read book before child.
Recommend parent discuss book with child.
Recommend parent discuss occultism and research history with child.

Reasons for inclusion:
Positive reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Financial Times, Lancashire Evening Post and Times Online.  

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