Welcome back to the bookclub! In May, we read The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James for The You’ll Read Too Bookclub! If you wish to access all of the latest updates/information, click here. Spoilers ahead!
Quick Reminder: This month we are reading ‘Just Like Mother’ by Anne Heltzel!
Today I’m going to discuss the book in the same way I normally do my Instagram videos. You can find the recorded talk on my bookclub Instagram page. I’ll give a quick plot summary plus my overall star/scare-factor ratings. Then I will share the discussion topics and trivia questions. Please include all of your answers and opinions down below. I want to know exactly what you thought. I’ll also leave the answers to the trivia questions at the very bottom of the post, so if you wish to guess without being spoiled, do not scroll to the end until you’re ready. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
THE BOOK OF COLD CASES by SIMONE ST. JAMES – MAY 2022
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 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?
OVERALL STAR RATING
I love a good thriller mystery with horror elements but for some reason this book left me with more questions than answers. I’m still unsure about a lot of things. I also didn’t love the pacing. The twists were revealed much earlier than expected. On a positive note, I enjoyed Shea as a protagonist and the different timelines. I appreciate that Simone features strong female characters in her stories. There are definitely mixed feelings about this one. I’ll dive a bit deeper below. I gave this a 2.5/5 stars.
OVERALL SCARE-FACTOR RATING
I gave this a scare-factor rating of 3/5 stars. The house itself was really creepy. I have no idea why Beth continued to stay there. She was constantly being tormented. All of the horror elements lay inside the Greer home. The rest of the story was a thriller/drama.
1.) In what ways were Beth and Shea similar?
They were both solitary women, who had been involved with crime from an early age. They also had their own experiences of guilt surrounding something that wasn’t exactly their fault. Furthermore, the pair shared secrets and struggled to open up to others.
2.) Why did Shea make sure Beth was arrested for the murder of her sister?
This was one of the issues I had with the story. I didn’t understand why Shea did this. Beth was old, dying and had killed her sister for good reason. Lily was a psychopath that would have kept murdering innocent people. Did Shea really have to get her arrested after all that? I know it was a cold case that she wanted to wrap up but surely this one could have been left alone.
3.) Why was Lily able to return to the house as a violent ghost?
As mentioned above, this story left me with more questions than answers. It was never explained how or why Lily was able to haunt the Greer house. Not only that, she attacked Shea but never tried to harm her own sister who killed her? Make it make sense!
Easy: What was the name of Beth and Shea’s hometown?
Medium: What did Mariana’s “mental hospital” turn out to be?
Hard: What was Lily’s surname?
I hope you enjoyed the book club discussion in this post and on Instagram. As mentioned above, share all of your thoughts in the comments below! If you have any feedback/suggestions to improve the bookclub, please let me know. I look forward to talking to you all next month! Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo
TRIVIA ANSWERS: Easy: Claire Lake. Medium: A shelter for unwed mothers. Hard: Knowles.