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The Waiting Room

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,050 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Martin Stride is a retired rock star, enjoying the quiet life with his young family on their beautiful estate. On the edge of his grounds lies a derelict Edwardian railway station waiting room once used to transport troops in The Great War. Silent for many years, it has become a playground for Martin's children but now they won't go near it.

Strange occurrences in the waiti
Paperback, 294 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published June 24th 2010)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,050 ratings  ·  130 reviews

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3.5 stars. Well written, scary and with time travel.
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jan-2011
This is the first F G Cottam book I have read, and now that I have I am unsure why it has taken me so long to discover this incredible talent who is so up my street in terms of style and themes! Although there is nothing better than discovering a new great author and then being able to gorge yourself on their other novels, which I fully intend to do in 2011.

I thought above everything else, The Waiting Room revolves around a clever, imaginitive and unique idea which really is unusual; as so many
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Cottam writes the kind of ghost story I admire. Scares the reader without the gross out. This is the second of his books I've read and I look forward to reading more.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Another great one by writer F. G. Cottam.

Mr. Cottam either has a tremendous ‘I made it all up myself’ imagination, or has been to a few creepy locales in his lifetime. I know creepy locales, btw., grew up in southeastern MA at a time when children were left ‘free to roam.’ I’ve explored abandoned sand quarries, a boarded-up church complete with working bell in the bell tower, along with old barns, houses, etc. So yes, I know the sensation of being alone, in an old building, just like the one...
Jul 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Another brilliant story from a writer who is fast becoming one of my personal all-time favourite authors. For anyone who has read any of Cottam's previous novels, the plot and structure will be familiar, but The Waiting Room is an altogether more sophisticated and confident effort. There are three main characters, all of them strong and believable; I was particularly impressed with the convincing depiction of Julian and Martin's celebrity status, as I've found that 'famous' fictional characters ...more
Martin Belcher
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Waiting Room is essentially a good old fashioned ghost story with an original twist. Martin Stride, a retired Rock Star lives with his wife, Monica and their two children, Peter and Millie in a large house surrounded by acres of beautiful countryside in Southern England. Quite strangely situated on his land is an abandoned railway station platform and on it is an old Edwardian waiting room, once named "Shale point" the isolated station once served as an disembarking point for soldiers journe ...more
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Best F.G Cottam I’ve read in ages. Full review to follow later.
Another atmospheric book from Cottam. There's the atmosphere, ghostly sightings and time travel. What more would anyone interested in this kind of book want? And there is a good plot with likeable characters and never a false note.
Martin Stride used to be a famous rock star, but he has given all that up to live on an estate with his family on the Kent-Sussex border. On his property is a derelict railway station where soldiers waited to be transported to the front in World War I. Later, the rai
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I waited for this book to get better, but it never did. The main reason: Cottam makes a basic writing mistake, he tells the majority of this story rather than showing it. The result: a dry, essay like narrative with lifeless characters (pun possibly intended), and no emotional connection to the story or characters, and devoid of resonance. This book has elements I would enjoy, and I was intrigued on his take on the haunting's explanation and the historical element, but the writing itself ruined ...more
Apr 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Finally got to check out F.G. Cottam with this book. Not the most overwhelming first impression to be honest, the story took a while to get into and the both the story and the characters failed to emotionally engage throughout (this is an entirely personal perspective), but to author's credit it was a very solid read. Good writing, actual character development and (the best part) a well crafted backstory. This was pretty much what a paranormal mystery ought to be, balancing the paranormal and th ...more
Dec 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Try finding serious mysteries but not horror, about spirits, not demons, with an adult protagonist of thirty to forty. Secondly, find an excellent writer who remembers to put the enchantment and mysteriousness at the forefront and builds it well. “The Waiting Room”, 2010, did not but is impressively unique. If you let it set up and forgive squandered focus, F.G. Cottam surpasses depth and complexity. It is well done from the second half. I loved Elena, who takes a long time to become the protago ...more
Pamela Scott
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing

This is my first time reading the author.

I love, absolutely love, ghost stories. The spookier the better. I love them in books and on the screen. I’m not a huge fan of visceral horror. It can be crude and unnecessary. But I love ghost stories that make my skin crawl. The Waiting Room is one such tale.

I love the fact the Stride family ask a TV psychic to help them. Such a person, likely a fraud, would be the last person I’d contact. However, Creed turns out
Mika Lietzén
Mar 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Ghosts and time travel mesh in F.G. Cottam's The Waiting Room, an elegant horror novel that gets somewhat hampered by its own ideas. The story begins as ghostly sounds and spectral apparitions are spied around the titular railway stop on a long since demolished track. A popular television ghost hunter Julian Creed is summoned to solve the mystery that only deepens as the investigation progresses, eventually threatening reality itself.

Creed is, of course, a charlatan who does it just for the fame
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ghost-story, gothic
In a fog of nostalgia, history seems to be going backwards. Past atrocities are back in fashion. Even though the Nazis are still pop-culture’s favorite villains, we are beginning to remember that World War 2 was preceded by World War 1. It was, in many ways, more terrible than its follow-up. There are already several excellent horror novels written about the ghosts of that global butchery, notably by Simon Bestwick. “The Waiting Room” is a great addition to this exclusive list. It combines a cla ...more
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Judging by the beautiful, classic style and story telling, I sincerely thought the author must be quite elderly or perhaps, even, passed away. But, no, he’s very much alive and kicking, and quite a young dude. In J G Cottam’s 2010 novel, he spins a spooky yarn about the ghostly goings on in a derelict railway station waiting room, where traumatised and injured WWI soldiers once disembarked for their onward journey to the local asylum.

The atmosphere and tension grow, a slowly-rising tide of terro
Luna Blue
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book. Pretty scary, try not to read at night. But then, it's hard to put down.
John Wiltshire
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do not miss this author. Seriously, what is reading all about if not great plot, good writing, engaging characters and tension? If the author also throws in something new, something that makes you go straight to Google and look it up and want to read more into it then you've honestly got a gem of a book. I'm a huge fan of this author now, having read most of his stuff. One characteristic that stands out for me is his ability to write likeable characters. And this isn't trivial for an author and ...more
Karl Drinkwater
I wanted to like this. And there were elements I did enjoy. At times it seemed to be heading in an exciting and sinister direction, such as when Creed spent the night in the Waiting Room - I thought it was turning into something like Stephen King's "1408". Wow! But then ... it passed, and we ended up with more chapters of research and discussion and explanation. Hey, there's an exorcism in the novel! But we aren't shown it, and only experience a priest puking in the aftermath. Instead we get mor ...more
Aug 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up from the library as I was drawn to the cover picture of a ghostly spectre of an old soldier.

The story started really well and I was drawn in as Martin Stride's family experienced strange happenings centred on the waiting room which was about half a mile away from their house -- his son saw the soldier's apparition there, singing was heard of an old war-time song and the faint rumble of a train was heard, even though there were no tracks. All very scary.

Enter the enigmatic,
Fungi From Yuggoth
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Fungi From Yuggoth by: F. G. Cottam
Review of The Waiting Room by F. G. Cottam

5 Stars

There should be a special star-rating system for authors like F. G. Cottam, who always and without fail delivers extraordinary, polished, deeply-characterized, complexly-layered stories which never fail the reader. “The Waiting Room” intricately weaves multiple eras of history with the present, and multiple timelines. One of the protagonists, Martin Stride, is probably now one of my favourite characters composed by Mr. Cottam, an individual of suc
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved the ghost story in this, but hated the present day characters. And the amount of cheesiness! Oh the cheesiness!

The characters I speak of are all extraordinarily attractive people who are extraordinarily astute and intelligent etc The protagonist is somewhat flawed (while still being extraordinarily attractive) however he effortlessly corrects those flaws before the end of the story. Further to this, they all respect and admire each other for being attractive and courageous and per
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was actually brilliant and the ending.... great book.
Zara Fisher
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first ever ghost story!!! If this is the authors style I will be reading a lot more of them! AMAZING
I bought this on a bit of a whim as I finished one audiobook and wasn't willing to wait until the end of the month for a new one! I know I have a To Be Read pile that's taller than I am, but I'm officially an audiobook addict and the act of tackling the TBR pile seemed too daunting at the time (even with the 2012 TBR Reading Challenge there to spur me on).

These days there's an abundance of horror for a reading audience to sink their teeth into, but little of it really creeps me out. In choosing
Hunter Jay
The premise is really interesting, but the book doesn't fulfill completely. I was immediately put off by the clunky turns of phrase. Maybe it is a British thing? But I doubt it, because I like many British writers. The conversations between characters also seemed very stilted and stagey; not natural at all. Especially the conversation between one of the main characters (Creede) and his father. Besides that, the plot is extremely murky. The relationship between Creede and his assistant Elena is n ...more
Josephine (Jo)
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
3rd September 2011

This book was a lovely surprise! It is a great read and is a proper old fashioned ghost story.
I am a great fan of M.R. James and Edgar Alan Poe and the author puts himself up there with the best. It is proper story telling at its finest, atmospherically chilling and makes you look over your shoulder every now and then. I would not wish to spend any time in a gloomy waiting room in the near future.

The setting is partly in the present time, partly in the era of World War One and
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is the third (fourth?) of Mr Cottam's books that I've read in the past couple of months. This is as good as any of them.

It took me a while to get past the protagonist's name - Julian Creed/Jonathon Creek! Hmmm - but, once past that obstacle, the story took off. A potent mix of history, demons, time travel and ghosts. Mr Cottam has an interesting take on the nature of ghosts, too.

I'm not sure about the author's predilection for using diary entries as a way to understand the past but I'm also
Emily Crow
Great ideas, but plodding execution. You know that timeless writing advice: Show, don't tell? There was just too much "telling" in this one.

P.S., Once again, glancing over the other reviews, I see I am in the minority opinion. Everyone else loved this book. So if you enjoy supernatural stories, but all means, give it a try. It wasn't terrible, and I'll admit that my standards are extremely high.
Aug 08, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this one 3 stars due to the ending - I'd hoped all the way through the book that the author would give a cracking ending and felt that what was provided as the solution was quite weak & very disappointing. As a previous review said - the way the villain was dealt with was very weak - left only to scaring small children & hijacking dreams. Up to that it hadn't been a bad read & the period of the piece is very timely at the moment being centred on WW1.
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Renita D'Silva
Another great book by F.G. Cottam. I really enjoy his style of writing. A good solid ghost story with some travel in time - how much better could it be! More of a romantic, rather tragic type of ghost story - not as hair raising as The House of Lost Souls - but I must admit that there were some tense moments. Julian Creed turned out to be a better hero than I first expected and the supporting characters all fit in well.
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Lush Library: The Waiting Room - SPOILER thread 9 23 Mar 04, 2012 12:25PM  

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Reading is a cheap and totally effective way of being transported to another world. The same is true of writing. Mundane concerns only afflict your characters if you decide you want them to.
University was where I first thought seriously about fiction; hearing about Hemingway's iceberg theory and Eliot's objective correlative and having the luxury of time to ponder on the mechanics of the novel.