Murder Road
February 21, 2024
Book Review

Murder Road

reviewed by Lou Jacobs


A convoluted mystery is shrouded in multiple murders and a plausible supernatural component. April and Eddie have just married and are on their way to celebrate their honeymoon at the Five Pine Resorts. It’s dark, and they’ve been driving a while, and suddenly they’re lost.

Eddie has no idea how he turned onto this dark and lonely road called Atticus Line. April raises concerns when they visualize a lone woman walking on the side of the road. She seems dazed and vacant when they pull up beside her. She reluctantly gets into their car. She is weirdly wearing a large, oversized male jacket. After she finally sits in the back seat, April turns around to question her and notices she’s bleeding profusely under the coat. As Eddie takes off to find the nearest hospital, they notice a pickup truck barreling down upon them. When the turn-off to Coldlake Falls approaches, the truck, already close to their tail, veers off. Eddie briefly turns and shockingly observes a young woman with long hair in the truck bed, holding onto the sides. In his mind, he pictures her “as a dark, cold hole in the fabric of reality.”

He discounts this apparition somewhat… since returning from a tour of duty in Iraq, he has been dealing with the effects of PTSD. Shortly after arrival at the hospital, their passenger dies (later we learn her identity as Rhonda Jean). Shortly after, a local police officer questions them. Within minutes, at three in the morning, two detectives arrive at the scene and inundate them with an array of pointed questions. Why are they now suspects in her murder? There have been six murders over the course of the last nineteen years, all occurring on Atticus Line. None of the victims have any connection with the others or were sexually violated. There were never any witnesses or suspects. The first victim was in 1976 and was found on the side of the road, thrown aside like garbage, bashed in the head, without identification, assumed to be a hitchhiker. A local legend has arisen regarding The Lost Girl. She still roams the road at night; you can feel her, sometimes even hear her, and often she is associated with a strange, eerie light amongst the trees. Legend has it, if you see her, you’re next to die.

Simone St. James is a masterful storyteller as she weaves multiple plot lines together in a taut, thrilling yarn with escalating intrigue and an overwhelming feeling of pervasive dread. The supernatural component is effortlessly woven into the fabric of the whole, aided by her wonderful character development. The exciting denouement will persist in the mind of the reader, long after the last page is turned.

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Books for providing an uncorrected proof in exchange for an honest review.

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