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The Book of Cold Cases Review: Back-of-Book Description
A Most Anticipated Novel by PopSugar * Crime Reads * Goodreads *
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?
The Book of Cold Cases Review: My Thoughts
Towards the end of last year (2021), I read and reviewed a book that a friend had given me, The Sun Down Motel. I probably wouldn’t have chosen it for myself as I tend to avoid anything approaching the horror genre or involving ghosts. Nevertheless, I read it and, except for not being able to read it late at night for fear of bad dreams, I enjoyed it. So, when this author popped up on my Book of the Month options, I figured I’d try her out again.
It likely would have sat on my shelf for a while (maybe until October when scary ghost stories are more tolerated) but a Facebook book club I’m in chose it for their April book. So I was compelled to read it early.
Similar to the author’s last book, The Book of Cold Cases is suspenseful, thrilling, and a little spooky. The author also uses the same format of jumping back and forth in time. She uses first-person for the present main character and third person for the past one. This is clearly her signature style and it works well, I think.
As a little more of a modern touch, this story involved podcasts, and blogs and centers around a love of true crime, which I know a whole lot of people can relate to! (Not me, though, guys. It’s just not my jam.) The story also involves unreliable main characters/narrators. It’s pretty clear early on that both the past and present women are hiding things.
As with the previous book, the setting plays a pretty big role in the overall story. There is a strange house with some supernatural and scary things happening, and I had no trouble at all picturing every creepy detail.
The characters all felt pretty well written and their arcs made sense for the most part. One of their actions didn’t make much sense to me towards the end…. without giving anything away, something the present main character does kind of seemed like an unnecessary action that would harm someone. If it was me, I would have just let bygones be bygones.
Once again, the dialogue was good and felt natural. While a lot of the plot is unfolding in the actions happening to and around them, the dialogue does help to reveal things and move the story along.
There is just a hint of an underlying romance to the plot. I really like this it’s there but that it’s not the main focus of the book. I think this makes for more interesting main characters, with deeper, more important goals.
Favorite Quotes from The Book of Cold Cases
“She put on a competent show, but underneath she could hurt, and deeply.”
“People think you’ll do nothing. Which means you can do anything.”
“Time passes and these things cease to matter. They’re just thoughts floating on the wind.”
“She still liked the illusion, even though she knew the truth.”
“But a novel always ends, the lies come to the surface, and the deaths are explained. Maybe one of the bad characters gets away with something—that’s fashionable right now—but you are still left with a sense that things are balanced, that dark things come to light, and that the bad person will, at least, most likely be miserable.”
The Book of Cold Cases Review: In Conclusion
So…Overall I have similar feelings for this book as the last one I read by this author (The Sun Down Motel). So, I am going with 4 stars for The Book of Cold Cases. The writing was good, very descriptive, and engaging. I knew to expect ghosts this time, but I was still pleasantly spooked and had to avoid late-night reading. But once again… the ending just left a little to be desired. I think it’s great that she wraps things up and lets you know how the characters are doing and moving on, but it makes it feel like sort of a slow fizzle instead of a strong end.
Still, I liked the book and I will continue to read more of her work, for sure! I would recommend this to people who like spooky, slightly supernatural thrillers. If you are looking for a great ghost story, any one of her books is a safe bet.
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