The Book of Cold Cases

When she was nine, Shea Collins managed to outwit and escape a child predator, hiding as he searched for her before moving on to his next victim. Still traumatized two decades later, Shea keeps to herself, working as a medical receptionist during the day and at night holing up in her apartment, heating up single serve frozen lasagna in her microwave while researching unsolved true crimes for her blog, “The Book of Cold Cases.”

This self-imposed isolation is about to change when Shea recognizes Beth Greer in the doctor’s office one day. Decades ago, the beautiful, beguiling and rich Greer went to trial, accused of killing two men. She was found innocent, but like Shea, she has locked herself away from the world, albeit in a mansion in the wealthiest section of Lake Clare where she lived with her parents before their deaths.

Surprisingly, Greer agrees to let Shea interview her and invites her to the house. Located on a cliff overlooking the water, it should be a pleasant place, but instead, almost from the beginning, Shea can feel the odd vibes and happenings that are part of the home’s atmosphere. Looking out the window, she catches a glimpse of a young girl staring at the house. Who is she? And what about Greer? Is she a murderer? Or is she a woman somehow trapped in a supernatural nightmare?

Author Simone St. James went from scheduling and spreadsheets — mostly for live sports, making sure that camera crews showed up on time and that everyone got paid — to writing supernatural thrillers, including her latest, “The Book of Cold Cases.”

“I loved what I was doing, but as time went on I loved writing even more,” said St. James, who has written five novels, including bestseller “The Sun Down Motel.”

St. James says the cases in her book are entirely imaginary.

“But the germ of the idea came from the Zodiac case, in which a man killed random people in the San Francisco area in the late 60s and early 70s,” said St. James, noting that Stephen King was the first writer to influence her and that she read and re-read her copy of “Firestarter” so much that it fell apart.

“The killer in the Zodiac case was never caught,” St. James said. “And I wondered, what if you had a Zodiac-type case, but the suspect was a woman? It changes everything about the story — who the suspect is, why they do what they do, how it’s investigated, how it’s written about in the media. Literally everything about it is different. So I made up a fictional case and went down that rabbit hole because I thought it was interesting.”

Though her books have an eerie ambiance, St. James said she’s never encountered the supernatural herself.

“But I believe it’s possible. I think most things are possible,” she said. “In my books I’m more interested in the human side of the supernatural, if that makes sense. Why one person would refuse to leave, and how the remaining people react. Haunting stories are all about grief and fear and trauma and letting go or refusing to. Those themes are fascinating to me and I always go back to them.”

This story originally appeared in the Northwest Indiana Times.

Marisol Murano’s Valentina Goldman Books Now Available as Audiobooks

When Marisol Murano’s first novel Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion hit the shelves five years ago, readers were delighted at her heroine’s brash and completely unique voice that shone through in every short and sweet chapter. Reading the book is a lot like gossiping with your best friend–if your best friend is a no-holds-barred Latina who has recently moved to the US expecting the American dream. Oh, and for Valentina, she’ really dealing with the American nightmare.

As Goodreads describes it, “Since her arrival in the United States from Venezuela, Valentina Goldman isn’t exactly living the American Dream. She’s living the American Nightmare. Her late husband, Max, has left her a young widow, a step-daughter whom Valentina didn’t want, and a bi-polar ex-wife. And oh, having given up her dream job in New York, Valentina is also unemployed in Arizona. Part “Bridget Jones Diary,” part “Modern Family,” “Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion” is the story of a woman trying to get a handle on her whacky life in America. In breathless, blog-like snippets, Valentina compares her own story with that of her eccentric sister, Azucena, who has bizarre troubles of her own down in the tropics. “Valentina Goldman’s Immaculate Confusion” is a funny and moving story about what happens when a passionate South American woman moves to the USA and, like so many of us, ends up with a life she never imagined.”

Last November, Hipso published Murano’s follow-up novel, Valentina Goldman Ships Out, to even greater success. The book exposed another side of the beloved Valentina, vulnerable after the unexpected death of her husband. Despite tragedy, though, hilarity still ensues, as is always the case when Valentina (and in this case, her mother) is involved. Indeed, Valentina’s mother arrives on her doorstep to whisk her away on a 12-day Mediterranean cruise full of unexpected detours. If you’ve always longed to go on a cruise, ship out with Valentina. And if you’ve never wanted to go on a cruise, go anyway. You’ll likely find yourself alternately delighted and surprised by her quirky encounters at sea and alluring ports of call. In tightly wound language shimmering with wit and longing, Valentina Goldman Ships Out is a moving portrait of a woman looking for answers and coping with loss, even when the waters are deep.

Now both novels are newly released as audiobooks, narrated by the fantastic Ginger Roll. In audio form, these books are even more hilarious and more relatable. The short, narrative chapters lend themselves perfectly to audiobook form, making them the perfect listen for any busy reader.

http://www.hipsomedia.com

http://www.marisolchef.com

 

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