Reviews: THE GOLDEN COUPLE & THE BOOK OF COLD CASES

I know Sharon usually posts the majority of our thriller reviews on Thriller Thursday, but today I actually have two thriller reviews of my own to share.  I think I’m finally starting to come out of my pandemic funk with respect to darker reads because these two books were great and have me craving even more thrillers to read.  If you have any thriller recs to share, hit me up in the comments.

 

Reviews:  THE GOLDEN COUPLE & THE BOOK OF COLD CASESThe Golden Couple Goodreads

Author: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Publication Date: March 8, 2022

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, my favorite thriller writing duo, are back with a brand new domestic psychological thriller that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. The Golden Couple follows a married couple who turn to an unconventional therapist for help when they realize their marriage is in big trouble. They get more than they bargained for when the therapist decides to play detective and uncovers a treasure trove of secrets and lies, beneath the surface of what, to outsiders, seemed like the perfect marriage.

Avery Chambers, the therapist, is such an intriguing character.  She’s actually not even a licensed therapist, well not anymore anyway. She had her license revoked due to some ethically questionable actions on her part and now she works as a consultant, picking and choosing her clients based on her unconventional 10 step therapy program.  She’s a bit infamous, often referred to as a rogue therapist, but she gets results, which is why Marissa and Matthew Bishop turn to her for help. I really enjoyed following Avery throughout this story – she’s shrewd, resourceful, and definitely has a knack for seeing through people and getting to the truth of the matter. In addition to the work she does for the Bishops, Avery also has a personal crisis of her own that she is dealing with. She’s being stalked by a pharmaceutical corporation because she helped one of their employees blow the whistle on their unsavory business practices.  They want a name and she refuses to give them one, so they are aggressively pursuing her.  I loved the extra layer of suspense, drama, and the surprisingly creepy factor this pursuit added to the story.

Avery’s work with the Bishops is what takes center stage and I loved watching Avery peel back the layers of this couple’s relationship.  As soon as she meets with them the first time, she manages to coax the confession out of Marissa that she has cheated on Matthew.  But even as that explosive secret comes to light, it’s clear to Avery that not only are Matthew and Marissa keeping secrets from each other; they’re also not being forthright with her.  The authors do a fabulous job of creating tension and suspense in each of these therapy sessions.  I found myself eager for each appointment to see what tricks Avery would have up her sleeve as she pursued her unconventional route to saving the Bishop’s marriage.

There were also several very intriguing threads running through the story that kept me thoroughly engaged because I couldn’t wait to see how they fed into the main plot.  One, the whole time Avery is working to reconcile Matthew and Marissa, there is someone out there sending Marissa flowers and leaving her notes, as if trying to derail their therapy.  And two, there’s Marissa’s assistant, Polly, who is acting stranger and stranger by the day – dressing like Marissa, wearing the same perfume, and even mimicking some of her gestures. And why is she suddenly trying to make contact with Matthew, whom she barely knows?

The Golden Couple is a riveting psychological thriller that is about so much more than a marriage in trouble, as becomes clear when all of the pieces finally come together in an explosive and unpredictable conclusion.  If you enjoy gripping reads filled with multi-layered characters, plenty of suspenseful twists and turns to keep you guessing, and a reveal that will shock you, this is the book for you.  4 STARS

 

Reviews:  THE GOLDEN COUPLE & THE BOOK OF COLD CASESThe Book of Cold Cases Goodreads

Author: Simone St. James

Publication Date: March 15, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James is a creepy, atmospheric thriller that delivers not only a riveting murder mystery but also endless thrills and chills.  If you enjoyed St. James’ last novel, The Sun Down Motel, I think her latest novel will be right up your alley because it has a similar haunting vibe.

The story follows Shea Collins, a young woman who is obsessed with true-crime and who runs a successful blog called The Book of Cold Cases where she dishes about cold cases with fellow true crime fans.  By day, however, Shea works as receptionist in a medical office, and is shocked when Beth Greer casually walks into her office one day. Forty years ago, Beth Greer was the prime suspect in the brutal Lady Killer Murders, a string of brutal murders where men were shot in the face at close range, the only evidence left behind being notes written in what appears to be a woman’s handwriting.  Beth ended up being acquitted when she went to trial, but the murders have never been solved so a cloud of suspicion still hangs over her head. Shea follows Beth when she leaves and manages to secure an interview with the infamous woman. The rest of the story unfolds from both Shea’s and Beth’s perspectives as we finally learn the truth about the murders.

Both Shea and Beth are fascinating characters with many layers to them.  We learn that Shea is obsessed with true crime in part because she was the victim of a crime herself when she was a child and was nearly abducted by a man who coaxed her into his car. Shea managed to escape, but the man went on to abduct, rape and murder another little girl.  This incident haunts Shea and has colored many aspects of her life – she has an absolute phobia when it comes to getting into cars, she doesn’t trust people very easily, etc.  Even with her trust issues, however, Shea finds herself irresistibly drawn to Beth and her story, even though she has no idea if she’s meeting an innocent woman or an elusive serial killer. And I could easily understand why. There’s just something almost intoxicating about Beth and the whole “Is she or isn’t she a cold-blooded killer?” vibe she has going on.  I desperately wanted to know the truth as much as Shea did and I’m not even a true crime fan!

I loved how St. James kept me guessing the entire book.  I didn’t know which characters I could trust and which ones I couldn’t, but each interview between Shea and Beth was that much more engrossing, especially when it became clear that it would not be Beth who revealed all, but instead it was the Greer House itself that had a jaw-dropping story to tell.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers but if you enjoy a bit of supernatural creepiness in your thrillers, you’re going to love the scenes that unfold in that house.  Let’s just say it had me giving my own house the side eye the entire time I was reading, haha.

It’s hard to say more without giving away the reveal, so I’m going to stop here but if the idea of a determined blogger trying to solve two forty-year old murders, while at the same time, coming to terms with her own childhood trauma, appeals to you, you’ll definitely want to pick up a copy of The Book of Cold Cases.  It’s atmospheric, haunting, and unputdownable.  4 STARS

7 replies
  1. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    Oh I guess it is alright for you to review some thrillers as well LOL!
    I cannot wait to read these especially The Book of Cold Cases.

    Reply

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