The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St James
Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
A true crime blogger gets more than she bargained for while interviewing the woman acquitted of two cold case slayings in this chilling new novel from the New York Times best-selling author of The Sun Down Motel.
In 1977, Claire Lake, Oregon, was shaken by the Lady Killer Murders: Two men, seemingly randomly, were murdered with the same gun, with strange notes left behind. Beth Greer was the perfect suspect – a rich, eccentric 23-year-old woman, seen fleeing one of the crimes. But she was acquitted, and she retreated to the isolation of her mansion.
Oregon, 2017. Shea Collins is a receptionist, but by night, she runs a true crime website, the Book of Cold Cases – a passion fueled by the attempted abduction she escaped as a child. When she meets Beth by chance, Shea asks her for an interview. To Shea’s surprise, Beth says yes.
They meet regularly at Beth’s mansion, though Shea is never comfortable there. Items move when she’s not looking, and she could swear she’s seen a girl outside the window. The allure of learning the truth about the case from the smart, charming Beth is too much to resist, but even as they grow closer, Shea senses something isn’t right. Is she making friends with a manipulative murderer, or are there other dangers lurking in the darkness of the Greer house?
Shea Collins is a single medical receptionist who still lives quietly with the trauma of surviving a kidnap attempt when she was young when Beth Greer comes in for an appointment. Shea hosts a true crime website in 2017 as a hobby and clearly remembers the case, dubbed the Lady Killer murders from 1977. She requests an interview for her blog and to her amazement, the interview is granted.
Beth, wealthy and living alone quite eccentrically, lives in her wealthy family home, both parents gone for years. She was acquitted of the murder of two men. Beth has no one but her lawyer and after all these years agrees to meet with Shea—in her home.
Beth is a fascinating character and the complete opposite of Shea. Shea quickly realizes there is something really wrong with the mansion Beth lives in. There are strange manifestations during her visits that unsettle her but the deeper she delves into Beth’s history, the more she comes to believe in her innocence, seeing her a victim of her circumstances as well.
The suspense weaves in a paranormal atmosphere through the well-described Victorian filled with the furnishings of people long gone. The meetings as well as the mansion ooze atmosphere, described so well you can smell the decay. Shea as a main character is engaging, but not so much as Beth. A cat is introduced by the name of Winston Purrchill and quickly becomes my favorite character—love the name!
The well-plotted narrative sweeps the reader into a satisfying conclusion, including the little twists, and perhaps a surprise you hadn’t expected. Entertaining and gripping, one of those novels hard to put down—but not in the dark.
I listened to The Sun Down Motel in 2020 and the audiobook left me wondering what the hype was about. Definitely the delivery, I suppose, though noted the two timelines (again) was split, this one also in 2017. There would be a lot of argument as to whether or not this novel was better than that one. For me, however, particularly in both cases, listening to audiobooks—my vote goes to this one. The author knows how to raise the hair on the back of your neck and make sure you’ve locked your doors before reading. This one has my recommendation.
Have you read both? What is your thoughts on this one? Agree with me?
Genre: Supernatural Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Listening Length: 10 hrs 44 mins
Narrator: Brittany Pressley, Kirsten Potter, Robert Petkoff
Publication Date: March 15, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Book of Cold Cases [Amazon]
Rosepoint Publishing: Four Stars
The Author: Simone St. James is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel and The Broken Girls. Her debut novel, The Haunting of Maddy Clare, won two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada.
Simone spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives just outside of Toronto, Canada with her husband and a spoiled rescue cat.
©2022 V Williams