Sunday, May 15, 2022

Book Review: The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James

Title: The Book of Cold Cases
Author: Simone St. James
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 15th 2022
Print Length: 352 pages
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
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.

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 love a thriller that involves a chilling ghost story, so when I heard about The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James, I knew I had to read it. (Plus, I loved her other book The Broken Girls.) I was heavily immersed in this novel from the beginning!

I was sucked into the plot of The Book of Cold Cases right away. St. James gets right down to the nitty-gritty in the very first chapter. This book instantly grabs you and doesn't let go until the very last page. I was instantly transported to this small town in Oregon where I was right with the characters. As with her previous books, Simone St. James tells the story from more than one characters' point of view. We are told the story from Beth's, Shea's, and Lily's viewpoint. There was plenty of action and mystery to keep me intrigued throughout my reading journey. My favorite scenes in the book were the ones that involved the supernatural. I loved reading about how Greer mansion was haunted and about what supernatural activities were happening there. I also enjoyed the semi-big plot twist towards the middle of the book. However, I kept expecting an even bigger plot twist towards the end that never came which left me feeling a bit disappointed. However, this didn't really take away from the overall story that much. Something I could have done without was the romance in the book. It wasn't a major thing, but I just felt like there wasn't really a need for it. Other than that, I truly enjoyed this novel. Everything fit together really well (minus the romance), and the story was all tied together by the very end.

I felt that all the characters in The Book of Cold Cases were fleshed out enough to feel realistic whilst reading. I really liked Shea's interest in true crime since I can relate to that. I admired Shea's thirst for knowledge and how far she'd go to find out the truth of things she wanted to know. (I guess we both need closure!) I did feel like she got over her phobia a little too conveniently and quickly though. Beth was a wildcard for me throughout the book. I couldn't tell if she was guilty like many people believed or if she actually was a guilty party. I did like Beth though, and I loved her attitude she had when accused of murder. Lily was fabulously written, and I enjoyed reading about her too. I won't go into much more detail about her due to spoilers, but her part in The Book of Cold Cases was written well. The only character that kind of bothered me was Michael. I just felt like he was thrown in there as an easy way out. We're introduced to him from the beginning, and I kept waiting for some plot twist to happen involving him, but I was sadly disappointed. I just felt as if the book could have done without him.

Trigger warnings for The Book of Cold Cases include violence, murder, profanity, sexual abuse of a minor (not graphic), and kidnapping.

Overall, The Book of Cold Cases is a thrilling read with a fantastically chilling plot. With a spooky ghost story and an intriguing mystery, St. James has a real winner on her hands. I would definitely recommend The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James to those aged 17+ who love being scared and intrigued at the same time. You won't be disappointed.

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