The Book of Cold Cases by: Simone St. James
Published on: March 15, 2022
“The wind groaned in the eaves. The handprint faded. The figure moved back into the darkness. And the house was still once more.”
Shea is a divorced, 29-year old receptionist at a medical office. Outside of work she has is obsessed with true crime and runs a blog called The Book of Cold Cases that has quite a bit of followers. But her blog is also therapeutic for her as it helps Shea work through a traumatic experience that occurred when she was a child. While at work one day, Beth Greer, a woman who was acquitted for multiple counts of murder back in the 70’s, walks into the office. Everyone believes Beth got away with murder and Beth’s attitude during the trial made her infamous. But Beth and the events fascinate Shea and she can’t help herself – Shea asks if she can interview Beth and get her side of the story.
There are two things I really enjoyed about the story. The first is Shea – not only her story, but her growth as a character. Both Shea and Beth are interesting characters. Beth is manipulative, controlling, but also ambiguous and difficult to pin down. But Shea felt real. She still struggles from the ramifications of a childhood trauma, but how she struggled felt completely normal. When I was a kid I knew someone who avoided driving over bridges because she was so scared of them, and Shea’s anxieties is some ways felt a little like that. People react to different things in different ways and we often find unique ways to control events that feel out of control. But I also was pleased by how the author treated Shea’s growth and her relationships with others. Delicately and slowly. Nothing felt rushed, but natural.
Besides the characters, I also loved how upfront the paranormal part of the story was. No ambiguity in whether there was a haunting or a ghost. Not once did I have to wonder if it was all in someone’s mind. Instead, it is spelled out in ways that give you shivers. Part of that last part is due to the callous part of Beth’s personality, who almost invites the frights.
If I have any issue – it’s that it took a while to understand why Shea had to go somewhere toward the end of the book by herself and confront/learn about something. I can’t say too much because it would undoubtedly be considered a spoiler. But, while I understand for plot reasons why things occurred the way they did, I also at the same time didn’t understand. Maybe once I give myself a little more time it will come to me.
Overall, an enjoyable paranormal thriller. This was my first book by this author and can see why she is a favorite of so many.