Source: Borrowed from the Pasco County Library System
Pub. Date: March 15, 2022
Purchase Link: Amazon
Why did I choose to read this book?
This was a novel that I initially requested on NetGalley but was not granted a copy. Since I’ve been leaning into my thriller/mystery phase I waited patiently for it to become available at the library and then I sat on a holds list until it was my turn.
The haunted house vibe attracted me to this one, as well as the loner nerd/obsessive main character that always tends to be a bit untrustworthy. I also love to see stories where some nobody is given a big break, because usually things go spectacularly wrong (it’s a trap!).
What is this book about?
Shea Collins has a traumatic past, and spends her evenings and nights researching for her podcast called The Book of Cold Cases. She makes enough money between her day job as a receptionist at a doctor’s office and donations to her podcast to get by. When a local celebrity who was accused and acquitted of two murders years ago (murders that were never solved, and thus previously covered on Shea’s podcast) arrives for an appointment where Shea works, Shea is so star struck that she blurts out a request for an interview, and the famous supposed Lady Killer agrees.
Behind the plot, this book is about how we survive trauma and learn to trust people again. Shea escaped an abduction by car when she was young, so she carries survivor’s guilt (her abductor went on that same day to find and murder another girl instead) and a fear of riding in vehicles. Her bravery to request the interview of Beth Greer (the Lady Killer allegedly) combined with her reconnections with family and her private investigator/friend shows how doing something we love can help us find our way again.
What is notable about the story?
When I read the synopsis of this book. I did not expect it to be like 43% haunted house survival mode. The best parts of this book occur in and around Beth Greer’s mansion. Simone St. James does an excellent job (I think the experts call it “lush prose”) helping you visualize the sights, feel the air, and smell/taste the effects of the hauntedness. Really awesome, I wish this aspect of the book was in more of the marketing.
Was anything not so great?
My only complaint about the book was that, by the end, I didn’t really care if people died or not. Most of the characters are so strange or irritating that I kind of wanted the haunted house to just devour the town. I cared about Shea and her private investigator, but in 2022 I have a very difficult time sympathizing with (1) the police and (2) rich people, both of which the book asked me to do. It was…difficult.
What’s the verdict?
4 stars on Goodreads and if you’re a thriller/horror type reader, you definitely want to check this one out of your local library.
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