Tuesday, May 28, 2024

This Book Was So Much Yet Not Enough


TITLE: Murder Road
AUTHOR: Simone St. James
PUBLISHING DATE: March 5, 2024
PAGES: 352   
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS: A young couple find themselves haunted by a string of gruesome murders committed along an old deserted road in this terrifying new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Cold Cases. 
July 1995. April and Eddie have taken a wrong turn. They’re looking for the small resort town where they plan to spend their honeymoon. When they spot what appears to a lone hitchhiker along the deserted road, they stop to help. But not long after the hitchhiker gets into their car, they see the blood seeping from her jacket and a truck barreling down Atticus Line after them. 
When the hitchhiker dies at the local hospital, April and Eddie find themselves in the crosshairs of the Coldlake Falls police. Unexplained murders have been happening along Atticus Line for years and the cops finally have two witnesses who easily become their only suspects. As April and Eddie start to dig into the history of the town and that horrible stretch of road to clear their names, they soon learn that there is something supernatural at work, something that could not only tear the town and its dark secrets apart, but take April and Eddie down with it all.

MY THOUGHTS: I was really excited to read this book.  I read The Book of Cold Cases and thought it was an okay read, and really wanted to give the author another chance. Plus, a thriller with paranormal aspects sounds right up my alley.  However, I am sad to say this book just didn't work for me. 

April and Eddie are on their honeymoon.  While on their way, they mysteriously end up in Coldlake Falls, where they pick up a hitchhiker bleeding out and desperately needing help.  When they get her to the hospital, the hitchhiker quickly dies leaving Eddie and April as the prime suspects. It seems there have been a string of unsolved murders over the years on Atticus Lane.  In order to help clear their names, the two start an investigation of their own.  But are they ready for the mysteries and the ghosts that away them. 

This book has too many people and too much going on for me.  Our two main characters both have questionable backgrounds and are clearly hiding some things from each other.  The reader is led to believe that April's secret is horrible but honestly, I think when it was finally revealed it missed the mark.  Also, there were so many other characters in the book - a local cop, two detectives, the woman that runs the B&B, two teenagers obsessed with true crime and who did more to solve the murders than any of law enforcement if you ask me, a long-lost friend, several ghosts, several alleged perps, a ghost completely independent of the murders and mysteries and a hippie commune.  There is also someone who owns the land of the commune that keeps being mentioned, never appears, and really had nothing to do with the story at all (unless I missed something and maybe I did). Also, we have April's mom who is in prison and who pushed the plot along a bit but could have easily been left out. And also, since when can someone just dial someone up and speak to them in prison?

I also found the book pretty predictable.  I saw where it was headed for the most part and wasn't really invested in the outcome at all.  My favorite character was probably a ghost who has such a small role that if you blinked, you might miss him.  I am sure there are tons of people who have enjoyed this book because I know St. James is a well-loved author.  However, I'm now questioning going back and reading some of her backlist, which honestly interested me more than this one.  



  1. To bad this one didn't work, the author is a pretty popular one. I still need to give one of her books a try but maybe not this one. :)

  2. I like Simone St. James, but I like her earlier books best because they're more haunting and ghost-oriented. Her more recent books have been hit and miss for me. I haven't read this one yet, though it doesn't sound like it's one of her best. My favorite of hers is probably An Inquiry Into Love and Death.

  3. I've soured a bit on her writing too. She seems to be relying on a formula that simply doesn't work for all the scenarios she imagines. I just don't believe a supernatural element is needed in every story. I recommend The Broken Girls as my favorite of hers.