Crown, 2017; 432 pages
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?
Brunonia Barry is a very talented writer, and for the most part I enjoyed The Fifth Petal. I loved her earlier book, The Lace Reader, but felt the sequel (The Map of True Places) represented something of a falling off. I'm happy to say, Barry is back on track with the third book in the sequence.
Almost all the characters in the book (and there are a lot of them) are interesting and well drawn, and there was enough suspense to keep me intrigued right up to the final pages. Can't really ask for more than that, right? The story did tend to ramble a bit in the middle section, and could have used some tightening up. Otherwise, this was a fine read.
(Note: I received my copy of this book from the publisher, free of charge, through Library Thing's Early Reviewer program. No other compensation was received, and no one tried to influence my opinion of the book.)
Qualifies for the following reading challenge: eBook Reading Challenge.