Cold Case Confession | A Chilling Real Life Murder Mystery

*This is a spoiler-free review.

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 Book Title: Cold Case Confession.

 Author: Alex Eliseev.

 Series: Standalone.

 Page Count: 398 Pages (Paperback).

 Genres: Non-Fiction, Murder Mystery & Crime.

 Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 and a half stars.

*I’d like to thank Pan Macmillan SA for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

‘… if you are reading this then I am dead.’

This is the opening line of a letter hidden under a carpet for a decade. The chilling words are followed by a confession to a murder committed nearly 13 years earlier. The chance discovery of the letter on 31 March 2012 reawakens a case long considered to have run cold, and a hunt begins for the men who kidnapped and killed Betty Ketani – and were convinced they had gotten away with it. The investigation spans five countries, with a world-renowned DNA laboratory called in to help solve the forensic puzzle. The author of the confession letter might have feared death, but he is very much alive, as are others implicated in the crime.

The storyline would not be out of place as a Hollywood movie – and it’s all completely true. Written by the reporter who broke the story, Cold Case Confession goes behind the headlines to share exclusive material gathered in four years of investigations, including the most elusive piece of the puzzle: who would want Betty Ketani dead, and why?


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If you know me you would know that I’m an absolute sucker for murder mystery and crime novels, but that non-fiction isn’t my preferred genre. But when I read the synopsis for Cold Case Confession and I realized that it virtually happened in my backyard I had to read the entire story and unravel the mystery.

Cold Case Confession is an interesting, but chilling book that captures your attention from the very first page. The events that carefully unfolded and the role players identified were chilling at most times, to think that these events occurred in Johannesburg, a city 30km from where I stay made my skin crawl. This book was extremely well researched and this research was put forward in an informative and interesting novel.

The letter under the carpet begins to unfold like a delicate origami creation.

I loved reading about the whole process and how everything unfolded, how the evidence was gathered and processed and who all the role players were and the impact they had on the case and how everyone was involved. Certain things were just so relatable as a fellow South African, like police records going missing or spelling mistakes almost costing the state prime evidence. It constantly reminded me that what happened is real and that it happened right here in South Africa.

The list of role players in the front of the book was extremely helpful especially in the beginning when all the characters were unknown to me, but as I progressed further on I remember most of the important people, but it was handy to be able to refer back to that list. Also the photographs and excerpts from the case and personal lives of the victim and accused was interesting and shed some light on things.

What saddened me however was that this case was overshadowed by the Oscar Pistorious case and I’m disappointed that this was the first time that I heard about the unnecessary murder of an innocent mother of three. I’m also saddened by the fact that we get no real clarity about why they murdered Betty Ketani and I hope that we will soon receive answers.

likeddisliked Liked:

  • Very well researched and informative.
  • Written extremely well.
  • Loved the list of role players that made it easy to refer back to who’s who.
  • Loved the photograph inserts, they made everything seem that much more real.

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I think lovers of real life crime novels & murder mysteries will find this novel highly enjoyable. I think it will shed some light on South African law enforcement and how hard they worked to avenge the murder of an innocent young woman.

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3 thoughts on “Cold Case Confession | A Chilling Real Life Murder Mystery

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