Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James
Published by Berkley on March 15, 2022
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
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?
I wasn’t sure what to expect as to whether The Book of Cold Cases would be a bunch of short stories but it is all one cohesive read. A few different cases were connected together than was previously known. The detailed work was done by Shea, with the help of a detective Michael, who is an ex-cop.
Shea has her own secrets from her past which keep her from connecting with people. She is divorced and doesn’t get out much, preferring to work on her cold cases. She’s never met Michael in person but he’s become a close friends of sorts. Shea doesn’t trust people very much. There is a romantic element with Shea and Michael as the story evolves.
I was worried about Shea at times because she is dealing with crime and trying to uncover criminals who may prefer to stay hidden. She does a great job of asking questions and ferreting out more details and threads to pull further information.
She gets a huge break when Beth Greer agrees to be interviewed. Beth was acquitted of the murders of two men in the area forty years ago. Beth also gets others, like her attorney, and a police detective to talk to Shea. All of this was great and Shea did a good job of assimilating the information.
We get some flashbacks to what happened in 1977 which are partly the story Beth is telling to Shea. But our flashbacks seem more detailed.
It went a little off the rails for me when Shea went to Beth’s house when she knew Beth wasn’t there. The paranormal parts during the interviews and especially this visit, were a step too far. Shea ends up solving a bunch of crimes and changing her life in many ways for the future. I found the ending very satisfying with the closure of multiple cases.
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