author: Simone St. James
published: 15 March 2022
genre(s): paranormal, thrillers
source: Book of the Month
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | BookBub | BookHype | Goodreads
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.
content warning: kidnapping, murder
a few notes
public reading: safe for the public eye
cover notes: intriguing, dark
keywords/phrases: misogyny, mental health, trauma
mood reading: in the mood for dark and mysterious
bonus points: the vibe between Beth and Shea
The story is told through alternating timelines, that of the 1970s and 2017. The present is narrated by Shea, a true-crime blogger who suffers from the aftermath of her own trauma. The past is told by Beth, a woman accused and acquitted of two murders, whom Shea is interviewing for her blog. The author has created an incredible eeriness in both the mood and the setting of the novel.
One of the reasons I found the book so riveting was the narrators, who were both unreliable in their own ways. Shea’s childhood trauma has affected her life, affected her ability to live a normal life, affected the way she looks at the world around her. And Beth… what to say about Beth? It’s hard to feel for her in any warm way. The presumed “murderess” label aside, she’s cold, manipulative, and calculating. For reasons of her own, she’s chosen Shea to finally tell her story… but in her own way. And Beth doesn’t make it easy on Shea. In a way, that almost makes Shea’s part of the story a kind of coming-of-age moment. The way Beth often dances around parts of her story pushes Shea to do things she might not otherwise have done, pushing her to grow. That really drives the story in a lot of ways and makes it interesting.
There was a weird vibe between them that I absolutely loved. It wasn’t quite friendship, but it wasn’t truly antagonistic either. It was a connection based on trauma-knows-trauma. Two damaged souls who recognize each other. There’s something oddly beautiful about that.
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.
Am I bitter or am I sweet? Ladies can be either.
book flights & matchmaking
Some other thrillers with similarly eerie vibes!