Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Review: Cold Woods by Karen Katchur (audio)

Title: Cold Woods
Author: Karen Katchur
Series: Northampton County, #2
Narrator: Lauren Ezzo
Published: August 2019, Brilliance Audio
Length: 9 hours 1 minute
Source: Publisher

Buried bones of the past rise to the surface in this chilling mystery from the bestselling author of River Bodies.

When the long-buried bones of a man turn up in the middle of December, Pennsylvania homicide detective Parker Reed knows he’s in for a cold case.

Trisha and her friends were teenagers when Trisha’s stepdad went missing. Now, thirty years later, his remains have been found in the mountains. The women have always known there was more to his disappearance than meets the eye, and they must confront their grim past. Secrets can stay secret a long time in the lonely Appalachian foothills—but not forever.

When Parker and his partner identify the remains, their investigation leads them to Trisha’s childhood home. But the deeper Parker digs into the crime, the more he realizes that the truth isn’t always simple. In fact, it’s so complicated that even Trisha and her friends don’t fully understand what really happened in those cold woods.

My thoughts:  Last year I read River Bodies by Karen Katchur, the first book in her Northampton County series and really enjoyed it. And I knew after finishing that book that I would be reading more of this author. I have been eagerly awaiting the next book in this series and I was not disappointed.

This book, like the prior one, is every bit as compelling and pulls you into the story right from the start. It expertly moves and back forth in time, slowly revealing secrets about three best friends from thirty years ago. Now that one of the girl's step-father's remains have been found, it is up to Detective Parker to find out what really happened thirty years ago. Problem is, no one quite remembers events the same way.

I loved the way the characters in this book were developed. I might not have liked them all, and I might not have agreed with all their choices, but I loved the way we got to know these characters. We hear from quite a few different perspectives, which I always enjoy, and the moving back and forth in time really works here, as slowly bits of truth are revealed. 

This is an intense, atmospheric psychological thriller. Karen Katchur really knows how to use nature to her benefit in the story - the small rural town, the harsh winter, the cold snow - all come into play and really add an interesting dynamic. You feel the bone-chilling cold here and there and it plays with your mind as you are reading, or listening, to this book. It definitely adds another layer to this book.

While this book can be read as a stand-alone, I always recommend reading the series as it is meant to be read. There are threads that are carried through and it will enrich your reading experience if you have read the prior book.

I highly recommend this book and now is the perfect time to pick it up - this is definitely a great book to cozy up with on a fall night with a warm beverage and won't regret it!

Audio thoughts: I listened to this book and it was a chilling experience to say the least! Lauren Ezzo, one of my favorite narrators, did a fantastic job with this audio book. She gave each character their own unique voice and personality and really made this book come alive. I didn't listen to the previous book, but I do know she does narrate that one, so for anyone looking for consistency with narrators in this series, it is there. Her pacing with this book was great and I would definitely consider listening to the next book if Lauren is the narrator!

Books in this series:

  1. River Bodies
  2. Cold Bones 
  3. Spring Girls - due out June 2020


  1. Kristin, this does sound like very like a chilling audio book, best accompanied by hygge. Excellent review!

  2. The series is new to me and sounds very intense and interesting. Thanks for the review and the links to the earlier books.


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