The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James is a standalone crime and mystery novel sprinkled with some paranormal activity. Goodreads was celebrating Mystery & Thriller Week and based on a long list of recommended novels to commemorate the occasion, I had chosen The Book of Cold Cases. I’m glad I did because this was a very fun read. A lot of things were done to just the right amount in that the author didn’t overstayed her welcome with her writing. Sometimes an author just drones on and on until the reader just wants to skip ahead to the ending or the reveal. Not here though. The Book of Cold Cases felt like a perfectly done steak cooked to your choice.
But I’ve always believed that murder is the healthiest obsession of all. – Shea Collins
This novels resembles a classic example of a whodunnit type story. It revolves around a murder committed many decades ago. Our star investigator is a lowly doctor receptionist by day and cold case crime blogger at night, Shea Collins. She gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to conduct an interview with Beth Greer, the only suspect in a 1970s murder case but was acquitted. Both women’s difference in personalities kept things interesting. The paranormal element however caught me by surprise. While I wouldn’t say it was unwelcome, I personally didn’t like the role this element played towards the ending. The reveal had already felt cliche but the author’s writing luckily kept things going smoothly and on an even pace all around. If you’re expecting a roller coaster ride, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
“Being a girl is the best because no one ever believes you’d do something bad.” – Beth Greer
Going back to my earlier point, everything felt very balanced here. Both Shea and Beth are broken people and they both have their demons, fears and faults. However, readers don’t usually like to hear a sob story. We learn about Shea just enough to root for her without having to feel extremely sorry or giving too much pity for her. Besides she’s too much of a geek and nerd for us not to love her. Overall, The Book of Cold Cases is a really good novel that got me glued to the book the whole way. I was however just disappointed with the cliche paranormal usage.