Cold Woods by Karen Katchur [Book Review]

Book Review

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Title: Cold Woods

Author: Karen Katchur

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publish Date: August 13, 2019

Genre: Crime & Detective

Series: Northampton County #2

My Rating: 4/5

Cold Woods by Karen Katchur


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.

Cold Woods by Karen Katchur


Detective Parker Reed has a new partner, Geena Brassard, and they are working a cold case. Remains are found on a mountain, and they go back to a missing person case from 30 years earlier. As Parker and Geena investigate, they are led to Trisha and her friends. The remains belong to Trisha’s stepfather, Lester, and it seems he was not an upstanding citizen. Trisha and her friends were teenagers 30 years ago, and Trisha has not kept in contact with them since she left after high school.

Cold Woods is told with two timelines – past and present. The past timeline follows Trisha and her friends, Carlyn and Dannie. Trisha’s stepfather is abusive and she escapes her home life by hanging out with her friends. The three girls live on the same street and have been friends for years. After Lester goes missing, Trisha becomes distant from her friends and leaves town without telling them. The present timeline is when Lester’s remains are found, and Trisha and her friends are brought into the case. Trisha has returned to town to get away from her husband, and to attend the funeral of Dannie’s mother. The girls, now grown women with very different lives, reconnect.

The mystery of what happened 30 years ago is slowly revealed. Since Lester was such an unlikable guy, there are plenty of suspects as to who killed him. It’s a difficult case for the detectives to work. The more they learn about Lester, the less they like him, but it’s also their job to find who killed him. An interesting and complex case.

Cold Woods is the second book in the Northampton County series. This book can be read as a standalone.

A suspenseful mystery. I enjoyed this book more than the first in the series, and look forward to reading more by Karen Katchur. Dark, gripping, and complex.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books in the Northampton County series:
  1. River Bodies
  2. Cold Woods
  3. Spring Girls

3 thoughts on “Cold Woods by Karen Katchur [Book Review]

  1. This is not a series or author I am familiar with Darinda, but it sounds like a book I would enjoy. I like cold cases that have a lot of mystery surrounding them. Great review.

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