Title: The Book of Cold Cases
Author: Simone St. James
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Length: 344 pages
Release Date: March 15, 2022
Source: Personal collection (BOTM subscription)
Recommended for fans of: true crime podcasts
Content Warnings: murder, alcoholism, death of parent, kidnapping, car accident, child abuse, rape, sexual assault, infertility
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 twenty-three-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?
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 bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel.
Shea Collins, a true crime blogger, gets the chance of a lifetime when she encounters Beth Greer, a former suspect in their small town’s notorious Lady Killer Murders in the ’70s, at her day job. Shea is even more surprised when the famously private Beth actually agrees to an interview to finally tell her side of the story.
I love the way Simone St. James’s mysteries have a paranormal element. Beth’s haunted house was so perfectly creepy, I don’t know how she actually lived there alone all those years.
However, considering the way the story was written through flashbacks, readers could easily figure out key details of the crime. The WHAT was obvious, it was just a matter of waiting for the WHY to be revealed. This made the book feel slower than it needed to, and it left me wanting one more big twist to be fully satisfied with the mystery.
Still, I enjoyed the atmosphere of the story throughout, and I was satisfied with the way things wrapped up at the end. I just wanted a little something more in the middle. While this was not my favorite of her novels, Simone St. James will remain an auto-buy author for me.