A perfect read for every true crime fan who suspected they might just get to the bottom of things better than the pros.
Good to know
Why I love it
Author, The Husbands
“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.” Do you have chills? Because I have chills. Within the first few pages, from which I pulled this delicious quote, I was hooked. Spooky suspense is a whole vibe and no one serves it up quite like Simone St. James.
Her latest novel stars Shea Collins, who is a receptionist by day and by night runs the true-crime website, The Book of Cold Cases. Some—like her sister—might call her obsession with murder unhealthy, but for Shea, it’s her strange way of coping with a traumatic event from her childhood. When an infamous, alleged murderess enters the doctor’s office where she works, Shea manages to score the interview of a lifetime, and a chance to solve Claire Lake’s infamous Lady Killer murders once and for all. Unfolding in parallel is the story of beautiful, wealthy Beth Greer, an orphan, who in the late 1970s was accused of killing two men in cold blood and later acquitted, but never in the court of public opinion. What really happened? Only Beth knows what Shea is determined to find out, even if it means braving a house where strange voices speak from the darkness and blood runs from the faucets.
This isn’t my first Simone St. James book, but it might be my favorite. She’s like a Michelin chef who knows how to season the dish without overpowering it. In my opinion, there’s nothing more fun than being the perfect amount of scared while reading a book, and St. James always strikes the right balance, pairing her haunting prose with gorgeous atmosphere, a compelling mystery, and magnetic female leads.
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?