The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James
Narrator: Brittany Pressley, Kirsten Potter, Robert Petkoff
Published by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group on March 15, 2022
Source: Library
Genres: Mystery, Ghost Story, Paranormal
Length: 10 hrs 44 mins
Pages: 352
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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four-stars

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?

The Book of Cold Cases is atmospheric, suspenseful, and a bit spooky.

Shea Collins works as a receptionist in a medical office, but her true passion is her website, the Book of Cold Cases. She writes about unsolved murders, a project inspired by her own abduction as a child. Divorced and alone, she has few friends aside from her sister, Esther, and an ex-cop, Michael, who helps her with research.

Then a client comes into the office: Beth Greer, who was charged and acquitted for the murders of two men in 1977. When Shea asks rich and aloof Beth for an interview, Beth surprisingly agrees.

Shea gets sucked into the case, talking to Beth, Beth’s lawyer, the police officer who was assigned to the case back then, anyone she can find with a connection. But the closer Shea gets to the truth, the more troubling and threatening the past becomes.

We’ve got two timelines, 2017 when the book is set and forty years in the past when the crimes were committed. I liked the glimpses into the 70s, the styles, the furnishings, the attitudes. Shea and Beth are both intriguing, strong women, and how their relationship evolves is interesting. Sometimes they seem almost like friends, like the other is the only one who can understand them. At other times, they’re adversaries, with Shea shining a light on secrets that Beth is maybe not all that ready to divulge. That tension between the women keeps the story moving.

Overall, the story kept me engrossed, even if the mystery itself was a bit predictable.

  • Family drama
  • Unsolved murders
  • Flawed, strong female characters
  • Ghosts

About Simone St. James

Simone St. James is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel, The Broken Girls, and The Haunting of Maddy Clare, which won two RITA awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. She wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school and spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives outside Toronto, Canada with her husband and a spoiled cat.

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