The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry
Release Date: 24th January 2017
Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, investigates a 25-year-old triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed one Halloween night. Aided by Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims who has returned to town, Rafferty begins to uncover a dark chapter in Salem’s past. Callie, who has always been gifted with premonitions, begins to struggle with visions she doesn’t quite understand and an attraction to a man who has unknown connections to her mother’s murder. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian and sometime-aunt to Callie, 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?
It has been a long time since I read a mystery novel. Feels good getting back to one of my favourite genres. Going into the story, I realised my knowledge on Salem, banshee, witchcraft or anything that got to do with black or white magic was insufficient. So, I went to read up on Salem and the 1692 witch trials after I was a quarter way through the novel to address my overwhelming curiosity. Overall, this novel kept me glued to the pages even though at some instances, it felt pretty slow. The suspense and mystery aspects urged me to keep going so as to figure out the culprit behind the killings.
Reading this novel is comparable to being on a rollercoaster ride. At times, I was spooked and terrified by the events which occurred while at other instances, it felt pretty mundane since the story is pretty slow-paced. I wouldn’t say that I love this book but at the same time, I didn’t dislike it either. It is more of having mixed feelings about this novel.
What kept me hooked:
As the story progresses, more clues start surfacing and that brings the readers closer to figuring out the culprit behind the goddesses murders. However, those clues aren’t as straightforward as I thought they would be. Since my initial speculations were all wrong! As such, I was pretty blown away when the actual culprit is revealed and all the pieces to the puzzle start to make sense. What surprises me the most is that the things which Rose said actually makes sense after I looked back at it after completing the novel. Initially, I thought that Rose had totally no idea what she was saying since those words didn’t have any connection to the case at that point in time. Moreover, she is described as a mental patient by the author and that led me to my initial conclusion.
What I didn’t like was how fast the story transits from a scene to the next scene. Sometimes, the perspective changes in the next paragraph or chapter and it was difficult for me to catch what was going on at times.
All and all, this novel is carefully designed and woven in a way that readers wouldn’t be able to guess specifically who the culprit is until the person is revealed. Though there are clues given, those clues don’t point specifically to the culprit and readers might make wrong assumptions at times. This is a well-crafted mystery and suspense novel. I had a fun time reading it. 🙂
I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.
Written by: Joanne