Being a New Englander with most of my family living in Massachusetts, I am no stranger to stories about witches, John Adams, Paul Revere, and all the other common folk tale type stories that come with living in New England. The themes are very common for local authors, who spend evenings at storytelling dinners at local inns spinning new twists into old favorite tales, but also for authors who tend to enjoy the setting, history and people. Brunonia Barry, the author of The Fifth Petal, was born in Salem so I had high hopes for this book. And on some accounts, it really delivered on a solid murder mystery crime novel mixed with some wonderful paranormal elements.
Barry’s descriptions of the area are exceptional in a way that only someone who has spent vast amounts of time in Salem could achieve. I have visited it, and it brought so many memories and images back to life for me. The story itself was interesting enough, but for me lagging rather slowly until about 50% of the way through. I liked how it tied together an old and new crime, seeking to make a connection between the two… and that the connection could be a something not of the mortal world. The second half of the book held suspense and tension in a way that did propel me forward toward the end.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, but mostly it was okay for me. It was not a must read for my personal tastes, but I would highly recommend it for fans of paranormal fiction in a great setting. There is a previous book, but as the author has stated, it can be read as a stand alone book. All the elements you need from the first book to tie them together are presented in The Fifth Petal. Some readers do recommend reading The Lace Reader first.
I was supposed to receive this book from Blogging for Books via the mail, but after several attempts to reach out to them inquiring as to when it would arrive, it had not, and with very little explanation. So as to not slight the author, I found the book at the library. This posting is much much later than originally intended as a result.
The New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader returns to Salem with this spellbinding new thriller, a complex brew of suspense, seduction and murder.
When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, a triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. He finds unexpected help in Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims newly returned to town. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian, is guilty of murder or witchcraft.
But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?