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The Book of Cold Cases

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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.

344 pages, Hardcover

First published March 15, 2022

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About the author

Simone St. James

10 books13.1k followers
Simone St. James is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Book of Cold Cases, 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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Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,655 reviews
Profile Image for Yun.
521 reviews21.7k followers
November 1, 2022
DNF - And another one bites the dust.

I've been trying to get into this book, on and off, for weeks now, and it's not working. By all accounts, everyone loves it and finds it riveting. Then I come along, and of course, I'm an outlier.

There's something about the combination of the writing and the story that just doesn't grab me. The writing style feels formulaic, with lots of mundane dialogue and descriptions, all to give atmosphere, but I don't feel it. Instead, it comes across as very predictable and fluffed up to me. I always prefer writing to be content-dense, but this is very much the opposite.

The story itself is rather bland. It's supposed to be a ghost story, yet I don't feel any chills or creepy vibes. In fact, I fell asleep twice reading it so far, which is my bar for moving on.

So there you go. I've given Simone St. James two tries so far. I read The Sun Down Motel all the way through and felt very much humdrum about it too. So I'm going to chalk this up to the author not being for me and part ways.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,300 reviews43.9k followers
February 15, 2023
Wowza! Another book from amazing Simone St. James shakes you to the core with high tension vibes to satisfy your horror story cravings.

A presumed serial killer lady decides to come clean by making interviews with a true crime blogger in a haunted mansion where the ghosts lurk around and you get the entire vibes of paranormal activities including handprints on the window, cold breeze hit your face, opening drawers, cupboards, pouring blood from bathtub! Are you sold? Of course you are! Who can resist to this kind of intriguing plot line?

This book is extremely scary, spooky, frightening like my face without makeup at seven a.m. in the morning! What I can say? Any time I start to read a Simone St. James book, Twilight Zone theme starts playing in my head and I drop my e-reader and scream till the neighbors scream back at me to shut my mouth and my poor husband tries to cover my entire face with duct tape ( a little rigid solution but it never works cause I always bite his hands)

This book had the same effect on me: a lot of screaming, trembling, addictively burying my head into my e-reader, screaming more later, I finished this riveting mystery- psychological thriller in one painful sit. ( because it took eight hours to finish it without breaks and my entire body was too numb to put one foot in front of the other, so I lied on the floor and my husband probably walked on me when he was leaving for work.)

What I loved about the story:
- two unreliable narrators:
A true crime blogger who suffers from tragic past that keeps her back to live normal, fully functioning life : Shea Collins

A presumed lady killer, a manipulative, cold, calculating, extra smart lady who decides to come clean about the events that had happened 4 decades ago: Beth Greer

I enjoyed to read both POVs. The connection between the characters: the mutual resemblances about their pasts including damaged childhoods, tragedies tainted their souls.

- I loved the paranormal vibes of Greer Mansion and Clear Lake.

-I loved the pacing and intriguing execution of the story hooks up with interesting pieces of puzzle

-I loved how the author built the tension and crafted the both storylines adroitly.

Only thing I didn’t like so much was lack of twists. We know the identity of culprit earlier and we only find out how his/her connection with the big mystery of the mansion.

Overall: I enjoyed the author’s previous work: “Sun Down Hotel” a little more! Lack of twist and obvious conclusion of the entire story a little disappointed me. But the promising message of the execution about a woman’s strength to slay her own dragons without needing a knight’s presence was great anecdote. I enjoyed to read the heroine and anti heroine characters the author created.

So I highly recommend it to not only author’s die hard fans like me but also the readers who keen on reading great paranormal horror stories meet psychological thrillers.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,605 reviews10.7k followers
August 31, 2023
**4.5-stars rounded up**

In 1977, in the small town of Claire Lake, Oregon, two men were brutally murdered. The events seemed to be random attacks. The men chosen simply because of convenience.

Both murders took place roadside, like the men had stopped to help a driver in distress and received the surprise of their lives. At both crime scenes, a taunting note was left behind, similar to the Son of Sam, or the Zodiac Killer.

Local heiress, Beth Greer, is reportedly spotted fleeing one of the scenes. She's subsequently brought in for questioning and charged.

The feisty and eccentric 23-year old is ultimately acquitted and returns to the seclusion of her mansion.

In 2017, Shea is a doctor's office receptionist by day, but at night she spends her time running a popular true crime website, Book of Cold Cases.

Shea, the survivor of childhood abduction, knows first hand the absolute horror of violent crime. It's now her passion. It's the monkey on her back. Her childhood trauma has shaped who she is as an adult. She's built up a lot of walls. Honestly, it affects her day-to-day.

When Beth shows up at the doctor's office for an appointment, Shea can hardly believe her eyes. The infamous Beth Greer, in the flesh.

It doesn't take a true crime aficionado to recognize Beth. Everyone in the area is familiar with the Lady Killer case that shook Claire Lake in 1977.

This is Shea's chance. She can possibly be the one to get the answers everyone wants. Was Beth rightfully acquitted, or did a heartless killer go free?

Shea is shocked when Beth agrees to an interview. She hasn't spoken to anyone on the issue for years, why Shea? Why now?

Over the course of multiple interviews, Shea unlocks doors to dark family secrets, long-buried memories and the truth behind the Lady Killer crimes.

Y'all, I had so much fun with The Book Of Cold Cases. It's told with St. James's deeply engrossing style, alternating between past and present timelines in order to build out the larger picture.

I really enjoyed learning about both Shea and Beth. The women were similar in a lot of ways, both having survived traumatic childhoods that ultimately shaped their lifestyles as adults.

I also enjoyed the Greer family mansion as the backdrop to a lot of the story. If these walls could talk, am I right!?

From the second Shea sets foot into Beth's home, it's like stepping back in time. Beth has essentially kept it as a time capsule from the 1970s, but why would such a wealthy woman choose to live that way?

Additionally, extremely mysterious and disturbing things occur there. Is this place legit haunted?

For me, the highlight was the relationship between Beth and Shea. In a way, it was like through their, I won't call it friendship, but acquaintance, Beth was able to free Shea.

This might not make sense until you read it, but for me, that was the heart of this story. It was actually quite beautiful, even though their respective traumas were so dark.

St. James is such a compelling writer. She has an absolute gift for setting a scene and keeping you intrigued. I was captivated throughout my entire read.

The one, very minor, issue I had was that I wish it would have been more suspenseful for longer into the story. I don't want to give anything away, so it is a little hard to describe exactly what I mean by this, but I'll give it a shot.

I feel like certain aspects were revealed a little early, which sucked a bit of the mystery out. It does make sense that St. James chose to tell it that way though, as she is able to build other aspects of the Greer family lore/history only after the reveal is made.

Overall, I loved this. It's intriguing start to finish, nuanced, with beautifully fleshed out main characters. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who has enjoyed any of St. James' previous works.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2022 and it definitely met my expectations!!

March 15, 2022

For all of you that enjoyed the ghostly elements of The Sun Down Motel, I can tell you that you will not be disappointed with this new novel!!!

It is 2017 and Shea Collins is a 20 something year old woman who escaped tragedy as a young child. She was able to flee from her abductor and was rescued. She has forever been haunted by that experience.

Now as a young woman she is living in a small apartment in Clare Lake, Oregon. She works as a doctor’s receptionist during the day but she is a true crime blogger and most nights she spends at her computer working on her blog called “The Book of Cold Cases”. She has been fascinated, almost obsessed, with trying to solve “cold cases”.

She happens upon a cold case in this small town. The accused but acquitted woman, Beth Greer, was dubbed “The Lady Killer”. It was thought that she was the first female serial killer responsible for several murders that took place there in 1977.

As Shea begins to investigate this case she takes a chance at trying to get an interview with Beth, who has never left the family mansion. She seems to have no friends and little contact with anyone in the town. To Shea’s surprise Beth grants her an interview. However she insists that Shea come to her home.

Beth lives in an old Victorian mansion at the top of a cliff overlooking Clare Lake. The home has been remodeled but is still dark, dreary.

Shea has an experience while she is there which tugs at her senses!!!!

“Something had been in the kitchen right before I left -- something that thumped heavily as it moved around, something that hit the floor hard enough to feel it. I hadn’t had the guts to go look at whatever it was”.

Shea has help from an old detective that had worked the case and from her friend Michael. The question that keeps coming up is “Why?” . . . .Why was Beth telling me this after all these years? Why me??”

My friends, you will have to read the book to discover the connection between these two women. My only disappointment with the novel was that the first half seemed to be a little slowly paced. The second half picked up quite quickly with a fascinating ending!!!!!!

One of my favorite characters is Winston Purrchill, a cat that Shea ends up adopting, he helps her deal with her problems and no harm comes to him :)

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley. It was my pleasure to read and review this title.
Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
651 reviews1,607 followers
March 15, 2022

One of my most anticipated reads of the year, and I’m happy to say it delivers the goods!

Shea Collins is a receptionist by day, and a true crime blogger by night. Her blog, The Book of Cold Cases, is almost therapeutic for her after going through a traumatic situation in her past. Nobody is more surprised than Shea when Beth Greer walks into the doctor’s office where she works.

Beth Greer is famous in the small town of Claire Lake, Oregon. In 1977, she was charged as the woman behind the Lady Killer Murders. Whether or not she was the first and only female serial killer to hunt the grounds of Claire Lake, she was acquitted...and spent the next 40 years isolated in her mansion.

Shea has always been fascinated by the case, and can’t resist asking Beth if she can interview her for the blog. Beth agrees.

But when they meet up at Beth’s stately mansion, something doesn’t sit well with Shea. Whose footsteps does she hear? Who turned on the sink faucets right in front of her? Did she really see a young girl standing just outside the front door?

How dangerous and deadly will it be to get to the truth of Greer House?

Talk about ATMOSPHERE! This book is oozing with it, and I loved it. Certain moments gave me goosebumps. I felt like I was in the mansion and needed to quickly look behind my back.

Simone St. James does a phenomenal job of dishing out some disturbing - and frankly freaky - imagery, while balancing that with a level-headed mystery that spans decades and timelines. I will read whatever she puts out after discovering her previous novel, The Sun Down Motel, which is one of my favorite books. Although that one is still my personal favorite of hers that I have read so far, I truly loved this one as well.

Do yourself a favor and light some fall candles (I recommend ”Leaves” from Bath & Body Works), pour a glass (or bottle) of wine, wrap yourself in a cozy blanket, and settle in for a quaint night of reading. If you hear a strange noise or feel like someone is watching you, hopefully it’s just your animal/spouse/child. If you live alone, get the hell out of there! Enjoy! 🕯🍷📖 👻

4.5 stars rounded up.

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley for providing me with a widget of the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Expected Publication Date: 3/15/22.

Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,192 reviews3,024 followers
April 1, 2022
The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James

Claire Lake, Oregon 2017 Shea Collins, 29, pays the bills by working as a receptionist at a doctor's office. She doesn't really have any friends, although she is close to her sister, who says she doesn't see her enough and always wants to set Shea up with dates now that Shea is divorced. But Shea is busy, always busy with her passion, her true crime blog, The Book of Cold Cases. Twenty years ago Shea was a victim of a crime, a kidnapping where she was able to get away and another girl was taken and killed. Even though she was only nine years old, Shea feels great guilt for what happened to that girl. She also won't ride in cars and travels everywhere on foot or by bus.

Wealthy, reclusive, tried for being the Lady Killer, but acquitted, Beth Greer, 62, wants to meet with Shea, at Beth's mansion. So many deaths surround what Shea knows of Beth but surely she's harmless. Still, when Shea meets Beth, she knows she is being manipulated by the cold, mysterious, woman. Beth wants her to know things but won't come out and tell her what she wants Shea to know. Instead she drops names and hints and sends Shea on her way. But not before Shea sees and hears impossible things in that creepy, ugly mansion.

We see the story from both Shea's and Beth's points of view. Beth's POV takes us back to when she was a child and comes out slowly, as Shea's POV allows us to meet people involved in Beth's life so long ago. The murders are grisly and done in the cruelest manner and Beth was seen leaving one of them. Why would Beth stay at a house that seems haunted? Shea is determined to get answers even though she is thrown way out of her comfort zone.

I'm fascinated by true crime and the horror in the story intrigued me. Shea is brave, Beth had me disliking her but feeling sorry for her. There are some good men in this story, who do what they can to help both women, and I couldn't help wanting get to know them better. Beth's allure is very clear even though the men know they are being manipulated. Who taught Beth to be the way she is now, why does she want Shea to know things she won't tell?

Pub March 15, 2022

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Meredith (Trying to catch up!).
813 reviews12.7k followers
November 9, 2021
One Spooky Read!

4.25 stars

“Being a girl is the best….because no one ever believes you’d do something bad. People think you’ll do nothing, which means you can do anything.”

The Book of Cold Cases is a suspenseful mystery about a sensational cold case surrounding an unknown female serial killer. With the reemergence of the suspected killer, an amateur sleuth tries to unravel the killer’s identity, leading her into a dark, dangerous, and otherworldly place.

Shea, by the day, is a receptionist at a medical office, but by night she spends her time blogging about cold cases. Her latest obsession is the “The Lady Killer” case that went cold in 1978. When the suspected killer, heiress Beth Greer, invites Shea to take a deeper dive into the case, she becomes obsessed with unearthing The Lady Killer. At the same time, she is forced to face dark secrets from her past. These two unlikely women form a bond, one of admiration and hatred, and discover that they are bound to the case in more ways than one.

The narrative alternates between Shea and Beth, with Shea’s chapters taking place in 2017, whereas the majority of Beth’s chapters take place in the 1970s. Shea is a solid, likable narrator. I was intrigued by Beth, but she is cold and distant, with good reason, unlike Shea, who is warm and relatable.

I read this book slowly as I didn’t want it to end. The events are set in Claire Lake, a rainy gray seaside cliff town in Oregon. The atmosphere was one of my favorite elements of this book, as it added several layers of additional creepiness. A good portion of the book is set in a haunted mansion filled with disruptive and vengeful ghosts. They scared the crap out of me, but I am scared of my own shadow, so other readers might not find them so scary! There is more than one mystery at play, but The Lady Killer mystery was the most fascinating, and I enjoyed the twist.

Overall, The Book of Cold Cases is a highly addictive, atmospheric, enjoyable, and CREEPY read.

Thank you to Elisha Katz, Berkley Books, and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Melissa (Semi-hiatus Very Behind).
4,645 reviews2,102 followers
March 31, 2022

St. James is a fantastic writer, that's not up for debate. Her world building is incredibly realistic and atmospheric and I can always place myself within the setting of the book. I enjoyed that the main character Shea is a true crime blogger, and that she has some hidden issues of her own that need to come to light.

This is the story of two murders that took place in 1977. A wealthy woman named Beth was arrested and tried for committing the crimes, but there wasn't enough evidence for a conviction. Now, in 2017, Shea has asked Beth for an interview and surprisingly, she agrees. But things in Beth's house are not what they seem, and it is both frightening and intriguing to Shea the deeper she gets into her investigation into the past.

In many ways, this book reminds me too much of The Sun Down Motel. It has the ghostly elements, it has the young armchair investigator, it has an old unsolved crime. Overall I didn't find the unsolved crime to be all that compelling. It was kind of obvious what had happened, and I also didn't think the ghosts really added anything to the story when it came right down to it. In the Sun Down Motel, they were really critical to the plot, in this book, they felt more like a tacked on element. I'm not much into supernatural elements anyway, but even less so when they aren't needed.

Yet I still found it a compelling read, and I moved through it very quickly. The writing is clear and the storyline is interesting enough that it kept me turning the pages to find out how everything concluded. It helped that Shea is a likable character and I was invested in her success.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,188 reviews2,242 followers
October 16, 2022


In 1977, two men, seemingly random, were murdered by the same gun-a note left behind indicating that the killer was a lady. Could Claire Lake, Oregon, have a serial killer on its hands? And, a female one, at that?

Police arrest a beautiful but mysterious young heiress, Beth Greer, who was seen fleeing the scene of one of the crimes, but she is acquitted.

Did she get away with Murder? Or is she a Victim who will be forever haunted by this crime?

Shea Collins was Girl A-a child who barely escaped becoming a Crime Victim, at age 9. Now a receptionist by day, but a true crime blogger by night-her website “The Book of Cold Cases” is actually a collection of posts and articles about unsolved crimes-a hobby for a girl who has trouble sleeping at night.

So, what’s a girl to do, when the infamous Beth Greer, walks into the Dr’s office where Shea works? She tries to get answers of course.

Surprisingly, Beth agrees to be interviewed but only if Shea comes to her mansion-because the house is going to help tell the story. Nothing has been changed since Beth’s parents resided there-not the furnishings-not the bills on her father’s desk, or the clothes hanging in her mother’s closet. And, a PRESENCE seems to be making itself known, helping to whisper the secrets which have been kept behind closed doors.

Along with the SPINE TINGLING supernatural elements we have the ever present Oregon rain. The gloom of gray skies, drizzle soaked mittens and numb fingers, the tell tale path of footprints in the snow.

YES, the scene is set for another CHILLING read from Simone St. James whether you are inside the mansion or outside in the elements.

The story unfolds in TWO parts, about equal in length. I would have preferred to have been kept in SUSPENSE a bit longer because once we reach the second half the pace slowed a bit for me, as we learn much of what actually happened in the PAST, before Shea does. Once she catches up, the pace ramps up again, and it circles around to a satisfying conclusion.

The “Sun Down Motel” sits on my my FAVORITES SHELF and while that remains my top book from this author-this is still a book definitely worthy of your time.


Review for “The Sun Down Motel”:


Thank You to Elisha at Berkley for the gifted copy! It was my sincere pleasure to offer a candid review!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.4k followers
April 1, 2022
i did not go into this expecting to read a ghost story but, surprisingly, i enjoyed it! i thought the paranormal aspect worked well with the plot and made this particular cold case mystery all the more thrilling, if not more spooky.

this also incorporates blogs and podcasts and all sort of popular true crime reporting used today into the narrative, so i think that will appeal to a lot of readers. its fun and engaging and has the right atmosphere for a ghost story.

this is only the second book that i have read by SSJ, but this has me wanting to read more!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
2,026 reviews761 followers
March 15, 2022
4.5 ⭐

Atmospheric, spooky, and suspenseful!

A dual timeline mystery set in the 1970s and 2017 in coastal town Claire Lake, Oregon. Shea Collins is a receptionist by day and a true-crime blogger by night. Her hobby turned serious when the acquitted "Lady Killer Murders" from the 70s visited a doctor at her office and agreed to an interview.

Now in her sixties, flawless Beth Greer invited Shea to her big and beautiful mansion. The Greer mansion sits on a large property that sloped down to the dark gray ocean. The mansion's interior is stuck in the 70s with cold spots, unexplained activities, and glowing light at night. Will Shea with Beth's help find the real killer?

I LOVE this kind of horror. Chilling and atmospheric without the gore. The mystery ties in great with a ghostly feel and characters you can root for. This is my second novel by Simone St. James, and I enjoyed it more than the previous.

Thank you Berkley Publishing Group via NG for this ARC.
Available March 15, 2022!
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,263 reviews2,438 followers
July 28, 2022

Shea Collins is a receptionist and a crime blogger by night, and her blog deals with the cold cases. She accidentally gets the chance to interview Beth Greer, a prime suspect in a murder in 1977.

Shea is trying to solve the mystery behind the murder that happened decades ago. To make things more interesting, the mansion in which Beth lives has some paranormal incidents connected to it. Will Shea solve the mystery behind the murders? Was Beth a real murderer? What is the reason behind Shea's supernatural experiences in the mansion? Simone St. James will answer all these questions through this novel.

What I learned from this book
1) What goes inside the mind of a sociopath?
Antisocial personality disorder is sometimes known as sociopathy, where the person shows no empathy towards others. According to DSM 5 (which is considered the Bible of Psychiatry), their histories usually show a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others, occurring since the age of 15 years. It comes under the classification of Cluster B personality disorders.

“Smart sociopaths are experts at deception. They are good liars because they are empty of true human emotions. They knew how to mimic it, but they did so because they never felt it. Anger, grief, fear, empathy, the research suggested a true sociopath couldn't feel any of them."

“She was charming, really charming. According to everything I read sociopaths often were.”

2) The power of guilt.
Is guilt a good or bad emotion? It depends on the individual's character on how we respond to guilt. We can positively consider guilt by saying that it can motivate us to improve ourselves for a better chance and future. Guilt can also break you down.
“It made no sense, but guilt doesn't have to. It simply exists, weighing you down and chocking you until you can't breathe anymore.”

3) Interrogation techniques used by the investigating officers
Reid's interrogation method is the most widely used method in the USA. As the novel's story is happening in the USA, the author indirectly mentions a few steps of Reid's method in this novel. The alternate interrogation techniques used by the investigating officers are Preparation and Planning, Engage and Explain, Account, Closure, and Evaluate (PEACE), method used in England, and (2) the Kinesic Interview, a method that focuses on recognizing.

"You are warming me up, getting me talking before asking what you really want to know. It is a time-honored technique. You forget you are dealing with someone who has done this a lot."

My favourite three lines from this book
“A serial killer will make a grandiose promise he can’t keep because it sounds so convincing.”

“I know pure evil when I see it.”

"Not all of the answers you want so desperately are going to come from me. Some of them are going to come from this house. The air was still as if the house were listening, waiting.”

What could have been better?
The way in which the author created the character arc of Shea bemused me. Shea's callow nature and avoidant behavior of everything felt poorly written. Her fear of traveling in vehicles even in adulthood (even after therapy) and her insecurities are never cogent enough to be construed as genuine.

The scene in the records section was poorly written. The way she penetrates the system so easily with just a simple lie felt like the author preferred the lazy luck factor rather than implementing some intelligent tropes. If the author had been a little more careful in the above areas, I would have had nothing to castigate the author, and this would have become a 5-star book by default for me.

4/5 This novel doesn’t have any extraordinary twist. We can easily predict the story before we are even halfway through it. Despite the flaws in character creation, I liked the experience of reading it. It is because it has an enthralling plot that keeps you glued to it and gives you an exciting read by the fireside during a cold winter night.
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,309 reviews120k followers
March 30, 2023
On the lawn, something moved across the surface of the grass. The touch of a footprint. Inside the house, one of the cupboard doors opened in the dark kitchen, groaning softly into the silence.
In a bedroom window a shape appeared, shadowy and indistinct. The blur, perhaps, of a face. A handprint touched the bedroom window, the palm pressing into the glass. For a second, it was there, pale and white, though there was no one to see.
The wind groaned in the eaves. The handprint faded. The figure moved back into the darkness. And the house was still once more.
“Being a girl is the best,” she said, “because no one ever believes you’d do something bad. People think you’ll do nothing, which means you can do anything. I’ll show you.”
1977 – Claire Lake, Oregon. Two men have been brutally murdered in separate incidents, roadside, no obvious motive. But a witness did see someone leaving the scene of one of the crimes. The description matches a local, a young woman generally regarded as odd. Beth Greer is standoffish, young, attractive, and rich. Parents both dead, Mom from an auto accident in a tree, Dad from a close encounter with fired round, in the kitchen. She has a taste for alcohol and keeping human connections ephemeral. When she is not out at bars and clubs, she is mostly at home, Greer House, not the happiest place on Earth. The bullets that did in the two randos just happen to match the one that laid Julian Greer out on the kitchen floor, a murder, BTW, that was never solved. You can see why the police might be a tad suspicious.

Simone St. James - image from her site – credit: Lauren Perry

2017 – Shea Collins is 29, newly (ok, almost a year) divorced. Has worked reception in a doctor’s office in downtown Claire Lake for five years. But her real self is invested in her website, The Book of Cold Cases. Shea is a true crime blogger, been at it for ten years, is certainly up on local crime legends, so she notices when one walks into the office, Beth Greer, forty years after she was believed to be The Lady Killer of tabloid fame, forty years after she was acquitted of the murders, which were never solved. Most think she was guilty. Beth pursues Greer, who, to her great shock, agrees to be interviewed.

And the game is afoot. There are two timelines at work, contemporary and back-then. In the 2017 line, Shea interviews Beth at Greer House, even though the place creeps her out. The décor is from the era of Beth’s parents, which is off-putting enough, but there is clearly a lot more going on there. Objects move without obvious cause. A mysterious girl appears outside a window. Shea does not feel safe there, but the lure of getting the whole story from Beth is too much to resist so she keeps coming back. Also, she and Beth seem to be forming a friendship. Beth may or may not be a killer, but Shea likes her, is fascinated by her. In the earlier time, we follow Beth’s childhood, stretching back to 1960, as events that lead up to the killings are revealed, bit by bit.

The alternate perspectives, Shea’s in first person and Beth’s in third, are not evenly divided. We get more Shea than Beth (26 chapters to 18, if you must know), with a few Others tossed in. They do not alternate in a steady format, but streak at times for one or the other.

Shea has some dark visions from her own past she has had to deal with for the last twenty years. At age nine she was abducted, but managed to escape with her life. The next girl her abductor took was not so lucky. Helps explain why she takes the bus and is reluctant to get into cars. Helps explain why she is way security conscious. Also, helps explain why she is reluctant to date again.
“Do you know how many serial killers dated lonely women in their everyday lives? Some divorcée who just wants companionship from a nice man? She thinks she’s won the dating lottery, and meanwhile he’s out there on a Sunday afternoon, dumping bodies. And now we’re supposed to use internet apps, where someone’s picture might not even be real. People are lying about their faces.”

There are mysteries to be solved and in the best True Crime fashion, Shea, along with her sort-of partner-in-crime-solving, PI Michael De Vos, dig into each of the questions as they arise. Very cozy mystery style. There is even a retired detective who offers a bit of help, continuing the cozy format. Of course, there are other elements that make this less of a cozy, the supernatural, for one, and a little more on-screen violence than might fit in that format. In fact The Book of Cold Cases crosses many genre lines, could be gothic, thriller, horror, suspense, or mystery, with a bit of romance tossed in for good measure. This particular mix of genre-salad was not always the Simone St. James brand.
I wrote five books set in 1920’s England, and while I loved writing them, I never intended to write about one period for the rest of my life. I wanted to flex my writing muscles and write something set in the USA—something that had two timelines, one of them contemporary. Creatively, I wanted a new goal and a new challenge while still writing a Simone St. James book. I got my wish! - from the Criminal Element interview
St James has stuck with that. Her first America-set thriller, The Broken Girls (2018), offers a split timeline, 1950/2014, the story centering on a deserted and reputedly haunted school for girls, and a journalist looking into the death of her sister twenty years before. The Sun Down Motel (2020) takes on a haunted establishment in upstate New York, splits between 1982 and 2017, and includes a 35-years-ago missing aunt, a niece eager to dig up the truth, and a slew of killings and disappearances that really need looking into. Keeping the string going, The Book of Cold Cases splits between 1977 and 2017, includes an amateur investigator (a blogger this time), some contemporary frights, some historical killings, and a haunted house. (I did ask her what she was planning to haunt next, but St. James declined to spill)

Strong primary characters can carry a book if the plot is well-thought out, and that would have been enough here. But St. James’ secondary characters were quite good, although we could have used even more of some of them. Detective Black, retired now, but involved in the 1977 investigations, was a strong presence. Shea’s PI, Michael De Vos, was off screen too much, as he was quite engaging when he was in view. I enjoyed the parallelism of relationships, Beth with Black and Shea with Michael.

Gripes – The only real blogging work we see Shea do (yes, there is a session or two noted, but only very much in passing) is on Beth’s case. Might have been a good thing to get a stronger, more fleshed out, look at how Shea has been spending her nights, which would have included a lot more on-line than live and in person investigations. Claire Lake, the town, did not feel strongly realized. This was more than made up for, however, by the seriously creepy haunted house, and the powerful presence of Beth Greer.

Lest you suspect there is some actual true crime in this true crime tale, I asked SSJ that question on her FB page, and she replied, “the cases in the book were all entirely fictional.” So you True Crime obsessives can stop looking for real-world sparks for this one. And as for ghosts in the real world, she has never had a spectral experience. St. James likes putting literary Easter eggs in her work, so keep an eye out for those.

Bottom line is that The Book of Cold Cases is a fun page-turner that delivers what it promises, murder mysteries, an intrepid investigator, some fascinating characters, a taste of the 70s, and a large dollop of the other-worldly. It is even a bit scary. I have a pretty high bar for such things, but there was one moment in which I got chills and the hair on my arms stood up at attention. That is one more than usually occurs, so, kudos. It sustains tension throughout, making you want to either blast through ASAP, or, my preferred approach, savor the fun in relatively low-dose portions night after night. In either case this is a fun, spooky, engaging read that is well worth your time, and should provide most readers with some chills.
some places hold you so that you can’t get free. They squeeze you like a fist.

Review posted – March 4, 2022

Publication dates
----------Hardcover – March 15, 2022
----------Trade paperback - February 28, 2023

I received an ARE of The Book of Cold Cases from Berkley in return for a fair review, and keeping quiet about a few things. Thanks, folks. And thanks to NetGalley for facilitating.

This review has been cross-posted on my site, Coot’s Reviews. Stop by and say Hi!

=============================EXTRA STUFF

Links to the author’s personal, FB, Instagram, and Twitter pages

Simone St. James is the nom de plume of Simone Seguin, of Toronto. She worked for many years in TV, for a Canadian sports network, but not as a writer. She worked on budgets. She says she knows nothing about sports, despite the gig. It was only after she had had multiple novels published that she ditched budgeting to become a full-time writer. She had endured six years of rejections before her first book was published. The Book of Cold Cases is her eighth novel.

-----Criminal Element – 2018 - Q&A with Simone St. James, Author of The Broken Girls for The Broken Girls by Angie Barry
-----The Inside Flap – 2020 - Ep. 98 How To Spy On People With Simone St. James by Dave Medicus, Andrew Dowd, and Laura Medicus – 1:36:48 - begins about 30:00 – to 58:00

Item of Interest from the author
-----Indigo - Sample - 1st four chapters

-----George Thorogood - Bad to the Bone
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,480 reviews79k followers
December 1, 2022
3.5 stars

This dual timeline slow burn of a mystery was extremely enjoyable on audio! Multiple narrators always seem to draw me in more than just one, maybe because it gives more of a full cast performance feel, but regardless it brought this story to life. Simone St. James is no doubt a reputable author who has earned her place in the ghost story thriller genre, and The Book of Cold Cases is another wonderful entry in her repertoire. I enjoyed seeing how it would all piece together, even knowing for the most part how everything would play out, but the characters made for an engaging experience regardless. If you enjoy the slow burn, amateur detective style crime fiction with a little slice of the paranormal on the side, give this one a try for yourself.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews412 followers
March 18, 2022
****3.5 Stars ****

Okay, here we go. While the paranormal addition was a plus, it kind of fell flat for me. I would expect more out of the "ghost" considering the kind of person she was in real life. I figured out the twist early on. Likewise, I kind of feel that has been used so many times lately, I am over it. It was a mediocre read in my opinion. It was missing the edginess to label this story a thriller. I would recommend maybe for a light ghost crime story.
Profile Image for Tina Loves To Read.
2,528 reviews1 follower
March 3, 2023
This is a Paranormal Thriller. I was really looking forward to this book so much because I loved the other book by Simone St. James that I read. I felt this one fell short for me. There was a lot of suspense in this book, but I felt the paranormal parts was just ok. I know when the ghost parts was coming, and I guessed was of this book. I did not care about any of the characters. I feel there is a lot of true crime podcast books out there right now, and I do not think this is the best one I have read so far. It is also not the worst one either. I also found the ending to be just ok. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Berkley) or author (Simone St. James) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.
Profile Image for Terrie  Robinson.
442 reviews710 followers
December 8, 2022
"The Book of Cold Cases" by Simone St. James is my first glimpse into this author's work!

Receptionist by day, true crime blogger by night, Shea Collins is on a mission to find the truth behind the Lady Killer Murders, a cold case that took place in her coastal hometown of Claire Lake, Oregon in 1977.

Beautiful, wealthy, twenty-three-year-old Beth Greer is charged with the murders and since her acquittal she has lived her life as a recluse in the mansion where she grew up. Forty years later she's still known as the infamous 'Lady Killer'.

Shea was a victim of an attempted abduction as a child and it has both haunted her and fueled her passion for true crime. It's the reason for her blog, 'The Book of Cold Cases' and why she boldly approaches Beth to request an interview. Beth finally agrees, with the stipulation the interview is conducted in her home.

During the interview, Shea sees and hears strange, unbelievable things occur in Beth's home. Things that can't be explained and continue to happen during multiple interactions with Beth.

Has Shea taken on more than she bargained for by asking Beth for an interview? Why is she compelled to continue to meet and converse with Beth when she's uncomfortable in her presence? Shea is driven to find the answers to this cold case but at what risks to her safety?

I've always been curious about the ‘supernatural’ aspects Simone St. James adds to her stories and this one had my full attention from the start. It's both creepy and chilling!

The setting of the old Victorian house nestled on the edge of a cliff overlooking the coastal waters below gives an ominous and threatening feel to the story. Extremely interesting and well developed characters, two distinct timelines, long-held secrets, and family drama are skillfully blended together to create additional atmosphere and suspense within this story.

My favorite character is Shea's adorable adopted cat, Winston Purrchill, who is a green-eyed-gray-tabby-purring-machine! The comfort he gives to Shea during her dogged search for answers in this cold case is a great addition to the story. I want more of this kitty and kudos to the author for this soft touch! Well done!

The ending felt a bit predictable but it was satisfying none the less. I was engaged from beginning to end by this author's writing style and I will definitely check out more books from her back-list. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley for a widget of this ARC through NetGalley. It has been my pleasure to give my honest and voluntary review.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,123 reviews3,706 followers
March 4, 2022
Halloween may be sometime away, but if you’re interested in an eerie read, this is it!

Shea is a receptionist at a physician’s office. A real sleeper. Nothing ever exciting happens here. (Just the way she likes it.) Until a woman suddenly walks through the door. Shea is positive she knows her…but just can’t place her.🤔

Shea has a rather interesting side hobby, hosting a wildly popular blog dealing with true crimes. Wait a second… that’s it! That’s where she knows this woman from! She got away with murder and she’s standing in front of her! Shea is quick to realize this is a golden opportunity to meet and interview the infamous Beth Greer. But Shea may be in over her head with this one.

This book had an other-world, spooky tone to it right up to the end. I don’t do horror and I wouldn’t classify this one as part of that genre. Let’s just say a paranormal vibe.👻

Another fun buddy read with Susanne!

Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing
Profile Image for Kat (semi-hiatus until October).
241 reviews663 followers
March 18, 2022
This is my second Simone St. James book, the other being The Broken Girls, and I can see where she has a certain "flavor" as an author: a strong-willed but broken female protagonist, a Gothic setting with a haunted atmosphere, a malevolent or dark spirit, and a dual-timeline mystery that the protagonist is investigating. Where I mostly enjoyed that in her previous effort, I found this story far more compelling.

Shea Collins works as a receptionist in a Claire Lake, Oregon medical office, but her true passion is her website, the Book of Cold Cases - a project inspired by her own abduction and near demise as a nine-year old. Divorced and alone, she's isolated herself from most others, apart from her sister, Esther, and her online friend, Michael De Vos, an ex-cop who helps her investigate the cold cases she writes about. When a mysterious older woman walks into her workplace one day, she immediately recognizes her:

Beth Greer - or as the papers dubbed her: The Lady Killer, despite her acquittal for the murders of two men in 1977.

When Shea asks rich and aloof Beth for an interview and Beth surprisingly agrees, Shea is unprepared for the door this opens into the past and the ominous repercussions it will bring from those who may not appreciate her digging up its secrets. Even worse, Beth's mansion, which is where Shea's interviews take place, has its own way of communicating its displeasure with her efforts.

It's a solid dual-timeline story with intriguing, mostly likable characters - the cat-and-mouse interplay between Shea and Beth always feeling like a tightrope between them being friends or enemies, which added a perfect amount of tension. It also had just enough creepy vibes without being over-the-top and silly. As for the dual timelines, both past and present day were interesting, with the 70's one giving me all the nostalgia. Pintos and polyester, anyone?

It's an engaging mystery, mildly repetitive at times, but it kept me interested throughout and ready to see what St. James comes up with next!


Thanks to Berkley Publishing, NetGalley, and author Simone St. James for this ARC. My opinions are given freely and honestly. It's now available.
Profile Image for SK.
309 reviews2,685 followers
April 7, 2022
I went from enjoying it to getting bored of it.

It started off so well. The mystery and the paranormal kept me interested. But the mystery was resolved soon- midway and it actually lost its charm. The paranormal part of the book is well written and actually gave me the creeps but it wasn't enough for me to give it four stars. Once the killer was identified the book got dull and sort of repetitive. I didn't enjoy so many flashbacks.

As someone who doesn't read lot of paranormal books, this one was quite refreshing. In my opinion, the author should've stuck with that aspect in the book for longer and let the reader keep guessing on who the killer is. Solving the crime early on took away all of my interest.

Overall, a decent read but not something I would come back to.
Profile Image for Michelle .
910 reviews1,403 followers
March 31, 2022
This is my fourth Simone St. James book, one of my most highly anticipated books of late, I nearly shrieked when my Overdrive hold was released to me, and it is by far the most disappointing book I have read by her.

This is not in the same caliber of books I've come to expect from this author. 2 stars!

Thanks to Overdrive for my copy!
Profile Image for L.A..
449 reviews145 followers
March 21, 2022
"The Greer mansion was still and silent. In an upstairs window was a foggy hand print, as if someone had just pressed their palm against the glass. While watching me."

The whole book is set into a chilling atmosphere driving the story as if the Greer mansion has a life of its own....or does it? Some disturbing events took place 40 years ago and the sole survivor, Beth, has decided to speak to a blogger for cold cases for the first time.

In 1977, the people of Claire Lake, Oregon, feared for their safety when 2 family men were murdered by the same gun and notes were left on them steering towards a lady killer. The wealthy Beth, 23 years old at the time, was tried and acquitted and remains at her mansion isolating herself from the community.

In 2017, Shea is currently a receptionist and a true-crime blogger with the intentions of writing a Book of Cold Cases. As a child, she was lured into a car by a stranger and escaped, so she understands real fear. She was particularly fascinated by the lady killer and why the cases were unsolved. When she follows Beth out of curiosity, she is surprised she says "Yes" to an interview after turning down reporters for 40 years.

Inside the mansion, Shea realizes her and Beth are not alone. She sees items move and sightings of a young girl. After interviewing old detectives and people familiar with the case, she is in over her head and unsure of Beth's allure, her cold heart and her deceptive premise. So many details are revealed throughout this story that it will leave you in awe and shivering with fear.

"Are killers born, or are they made? Can they be stopped or are they simply a human anomaly, a genetic gamble?"
Profile Image for JanB .
1,181 reviews2,779 followers
January 23, 2023
Having escaped from an abduction when she was a young girl, Shea’s passion now is true crime, and she runs a website, The Book of Cold Cases.

In 1977 several men were killed, and Beth Greer was charged with the murders. She was eventually acquitted, but has lived under the cloak of suspicion ever since.

Shea meets Beth and to her surprise, Beth agrees to an interview. Is Beth a cold killer who got away with it or is the true killer still at large? The story alternates between the past and the present as the story unfolds.

Such a compelling premise but for me it failed to reach its potential. The writing itself was serviceable, but I didn’t find the plot compelling and the supposedly ghostly spooky elements gave me eye rolls and chuckles instead of chills. By the halfway mark I was bored stiff and just wanted it to be done. The ending did nothing to elevate this book above a 2-star "fair" rating.

Many of my GR friends enjoyed the book, so I will put this down to the author and I simply not being a good fit.

This was a buddy read with Marialyce, do check out her review to see if we agreed!
Profile Image for Lindsay L.
677 reviews1,322 followers
May 1, 2022
3.5 stars.

Started off a lot stronger than it ended.

An infamous woman living an isolated life to avoid facing her family’s truth. An old money, eerie mansion harbouring ghosts of the family’s past. A true-crime reporter who can’t ignore the spark of solving a cold case story.

This novel pulled me in immediately with its engrossing atmosphere and foreboding tension. I was gripped from the first page and found it easy to fly through chapters and get lost in. I connected with the characters right away and felt invested in their stories. The cat, Winston Purrchill, was fantastic - I loved him and all he brought to the story!

The true-crime aspect was an appealing element of this storyline, however it didn’t carry the weight I had expected and wasn’t something that pulled the story forward. It held potential that never quite amounted to anything for me.

The second half of the novel lost intensity causing my connection to fizzle. The story remained enjoyable but not as gripping or edgy as the beginning half. By the last 20%, the atmosphere and tension lost its grip on me and the conclusion felt rushed and unbelievable.

I love this author and her gothic ghostly stories but this one didn’t live up to the amazingness of her previous books for me. I remain a fan and look forward to what she comes out with next!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!
Profile Image for JaymeO.
405 reviews301 followers
March 21, 2022
“Is she bitter, or is she sweet?”

Simone St. James is one of my favorite Gothic writers, so I was super excited to read her latest book. I did everything I could to get my hands on an ARC, but I. COULD. NOT. GET. IT! Are the publishers trying to mess with me? Well, thanks to my public library I was the FIRST on the holds list and received my copy the day it came out!

It was everything I though it would be! Simone St. James NEVER disappoints!

This atmospheric Gothic mystery takes place in Claire Lake, Oregon. It centers around Beth Greer, who was dubbed “The Lady Killer” in 1977 for supposedly killing two men by shooting them in the face. However, Beth was acquitted of all charges. Is she really a murderer?

In 2017, Shea Collins is a receptionist in a doctor’s office, while writing a true crime blog called The Book of Cold Cases in her spare time. As the victim of an attempted abduction, she fuels her anxieties by writing about unsolved crimes.

One day, Beth Greer walks into the doctor’s office where Shea works and seizes the opportunity to interview the infamous “Lady Killer.”

Will Shea finally solve this decades old cold case?

This book gripped me from the first page, as Simone St. James is an expert storyteller. The Greer house is a superb character and really had me believing in ghosts! Social and gender politics of the 1970’s are a major theme, and while I did figure out the twists, I enjoyed EVERY. SINGLE. WORD!

I really don’t want to wait another year for more Simone St. James. Sigh…maybe I will get to read the next one early! HINT, HINT! 😉

4.5/5 stars rounded down
Profile Image for Linda.
1,284 reviews1,331 followers
April 6, 2022
"She didn't know what a life without fear would look like. Beth knew the contours of fear intimately, its shifting shapes, its taste and its smell."

Simone St.James presents her story in two contrasting time frames. The first is set in 1977 in Claire Lake, Oregon and the tension is set high after the Lady Killer Murders in this small lakeside community. Two men had been intentionally killed by a woman identified by a witness. Long haired and wearing a trench coat, she stepped forward and fired point blank on two separate occasions.

Beth Greer, twenty-three years old and wealthy, matched the description perfectly. Beth went to trial and was acquitted of the crimes. Even though there was no definitive evidence and no DNA search back then, Beth wore guilt like a second skin......at least in the eyes of the town's people.

Fast forward to Claire Lake in 2017 and we have Shea Collins working as a medical receptionist by day and a true crime blogger at night. Shea convinces Beth to sit for an interview. Beth has never granted that to anyone before. And we will sit alongside Shea as she experiences some outright creepy events in Beth's mansion. Interviewing Beth is like walking through an entry level to the unspeakable unknown.

The Book of Cold Cases touches on waves of eerie as it did in The Sun Down Motel. Although this current offering is very well done, it doesn't have the edginess that The Sun Down Motel had. And many readers will say the complete opposite. We'll find that both Beth and Shea have the weight of secrets embedded in their souls. St. James knows when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. Just enough of a slight reveal when needed until that house of cards comes tumbling down. And we sit within these pages, we'll have to choose between the innocence of one and the phantom guilt of another.
March 20, 2022
Twenty-nine-year-old Shea Collins, resident of Claire Lake, Oregon, is a receptionist in a doctor's office by day and a true-crime blogger by night. With a traumatic experience in her childhood and a recent divorce behind her, she mostly keeps to herself, occasionally visiting her sister, but spends most of her evenings devoted her blog ”The Book of Cold Cases” where she researches unsolved cases.

In the course of her day job she meets Beth Greer, the prime suspect of the "Lady Killer" murders of 1977 in which two men were shot dead at point-blank range in separate incidents and one person identified Beth, who he witnessed leaving the scene of one of the murders, as the perpetrator. The case remains unsolved and even though Beth was acquitted she was still suspected to be guilty. Shea, intrigued by Beth’s past and in awe of Beth’s poise and gravitas, requests an interview for her blog to which Beth surprisingly agrees. As Shea is permitted to dig deep into Beth’s world, she passionately pursues the cold case interviewing not only Beth but also the police officer assigned to her case many years ago and other people who figured as a part of Beth’s life. Her research takes her into the history of Beth’s family which has its share of secrets and much tragedy in the past. Her visits to Beth’s home, the Greer family mansion, are also not without incident and Shea encounters more than she bargained for. As she gets closer to unraveling the events from 1977 and unmasking the killer, she becomes more aware of a mysterious presence surrounding Beth and the house – a force that makes its presence felt to her as well, often thwarting her efforts and threatening her in the process.

“Something about the Greer mansion stifled laughter and killed happiness. It might sound dramatic, but anyone who had lived there knew it was true."

Why did Beth, who refused to talk about herself for so long, agree to talk to Shea? What is the mystery surrounding the Greer family and its house which has been preserved like a “museum” with nothing changed from the 1970s? Will Shea be able to solve this murder case from so long ago and if so, at what cost?

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St.James is an intense and gripping read with a well-paced narrative with an atmospheric setting (with a paranormal element thrown into the mix), well-written characters and an absorbing plot. The narrative is shared between Shea and Beth, with Beth’s narrative split between her past and present. Though much of the mystery is revealed a little over the halfway mark, I did not lose interest and enjoyed how the remaining story played out. This is my first Simone St.James novel and I am duly impressed and do intend to read more of her work.

“There’s a moment where you have the power of life and death, and then you realize it doesn’t make you any different than you were before.”
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,837 reviews521 followers
April 17, 2022
The Sun Down Motel was spooky and The Book of Cold Cases is right up there too.

In 1977, rich, young and beautiful, Beth Greer is thought to be The Lady Killer. Two men have been shot dead. The killings seem to be random without a clear connection. Just after the second man is shot, a woman is seen leaving the scene of the crime. Beth Greer is taken for questioning and later on, she's accused of the murders. At the end of the trial, she is acquitted and is left living alone in her mansion for the next 40 years.

In 2017, Shea Collins runs a blog called The Book of Cold Cases. True Crime is her passion. Something happened to her when she was a child and now as an adult, this is what she does at night to keep her sanity. During the day, Shea is a receptionist at a doctor's office, and here is where she sees and recognizes Beth Greer.

After gaining some courage, Shea approaches Beth and asks if she would grant her an interview, and to her utter shock, Beth says yes on one condition, the interview has to be done at the mansion. After her first visit, Shea can tell something dark surrounds this place. She never wants to go back but can't she stay away?

Let me tell you, driving at night and listening to this book during the chilling parts was a new experience for me. It seemed like every time I got in the car, an eerie part was due.

I enjoyed both timelines. Learning more about Beth and her life made me feel very sorry for her. She got dealt a bad hand, that's for sure!

Shea's struggles also made me care for her. Watching her overcome some of them was gratifying. I was glad she had Winston Puurchill to help her out too.

I'm a fan of Simone St. James after these two books. Count me in for her next release.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Berkley via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Maria.
167 reviews98 followers
August 7, 2022
Despite the predictability of the story (the twists were more like beach waves) I was fully prepared to give this book 4 stars even though it was not as spooky as i had hoped but then I hit chapter 44 and it all went to shit.

Wtf was that ending? Why are we punishing people for being neighborly and taking the trash out?

Beth may have been a lot of things but mostly she was a hero who was abandoned by everyone even though she never did anything wrong (minus occasional drunk driving in the 70s which was a thing back then) and she deserved a lot better from her community.
Profile Image for Sandysbookaday .
2,045 reviews2,102 followers
December 29, 2022
EXCERPT: The Greer mansion was one of the original houses in Arlen Heights. It was an ugly Frankenstein of a house even when it was built - a pseudo-Victorian style of slanted roofs and spires, though the walls were of butter-yellow brick. And when Julian Greer bought it in 1950 with his newly inherited pharmaceutical fortune, he made it worse. He remodeled the lower floor to be more modern, with straight lines and dark brown wood. He also put in a bank of windows along the back wall to open up the house's dark gloomy interior. The windows looked out to the house's back lawn and it's drop off to the ocean beyond.

The effect was supposed to be sweeping, breathtaking, but like most of Julian's life, it didn't work out as planned. The windows fogged and the view was bleak. The lawn was flat and dead, and the ocean beyond the cliff was choppy and cold. Julian had done the renovations in hopes of pleasing his new wife, Mariana. But instead the relentless view from the windows unsettled her, and she kept the curtains closed. She decorated the rest of the house dutifully but listlessly, which was a harbinger of their marriage. Something about the Greer mansion stifled laughter and killed happiness. It might sound dramatic but anyone who had lived there knew it was true.

By 1975, both Julian and Mariana were dead, Julian with his blood all over the kitchen floor, Mariana in the twisted wreck of a car crash. The house watched all of it happen, indifferent.

ABOUT 'THE BOOK OF COLD CASES': 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?

MY THOUGHTS: I love books where the house is a character in its own right. The Greer mansion certainly is that. It is a cold house, caught in a time warp, where Beth Greer, once charged with the Lady Killer murders, lives - alone.

St. James has ramped up the supernatural element in The Book of Cold Cases, maybe a little too much, but that is purely a personal opinion. The writing is certainly as compelling as usual and the characters incredibly well depicted. I could 'see' and 'hear' Beth; while not the main character, it is Beth who fascinated me and her story is revealed slowly throughout the book.

The Book of Cold Cases is a compelling page-turner, one that provides multiple murder-mysteries; an infamous recluse; a detective who may have been just a little in love with the main suspect; and a true-crime blogger with her own secrets.

The audiobook is superbly narrated by Brittany Pressley, Kirsten Potter and Robert Petkoff.



I: @simonestjames @penguinaudio

T: @simone_stjames @PRHAudio

#contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #murdermystery #paranormal

THE AUTHOR: Simone spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives just outside Toronto, Canada, with her husband and a spoiled rescue cat. She is addicted to sushi, rainy days, coffee, and My Favorite Murder.

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