A Tale Perfect for a Spooky Night | Review of ‘The Fifth Petal’ (The Lace Reader #2)

By Cynthia Ayala

Image Credit: Goodreads
The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry
Image Credit: Goodreads

Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, has been dragged into a 25-year-old triple homicide dubbed the “The Goddess Murders.” After another incident occurs that once again points to Rose Whelan, a once respected local historian, niece Callie Cahill, daughter of one of the victims comes back to exonerate her. Together John and Callie look back on the past and delve into Salem’s darker side.

Published January 24, 2017 by Crown, The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry is the second in her contemporary/mystery Lace Reader series.

One of the plus sides of this novel is that while it’s in a series, it’s one of those books you don’t have to read the first novel to understand. The Fifth Petal is a story all on its own and it does an amazing job of creating a very spooky atmosphere that really works to build the tension of the story itself. It has a strong and powerful resonance with the story that is being told here that connects to the history that lies within the roots of Salem’s history.

But it’s not historical fiction. This is mystery story being told that is bridging together two cases that have one connection: a person. The elements that go into making the story are bridging time in such wonderful ways because Barry focuses on character growth and ties it to those elements that rise the tension and explore the mysterious plot line. That makes this story even more interesting to read about because it’s not just about the murder mystery, the story is also about the characters that make the story. Barry focuses on developing the characters making sure that they are not left behind in the mystery of the plot, they develop and shine and that right there is amazing writing.

The story itself does slow down and there are parts that seem less essential to the story, but at the end of the day those scenes, while not essential to the plot, they are essential to the character development. They highlight who these people are and why the reader should be invested in them and their relationships. None of which detracts from the overall mystery of the story. That’s probably what’s so amazing about this story, the fact that the story has such realism built into it. This only serves to makes the dynamics and the tension of the overall story powerful.

As the story progresses and evolves, the tension and the mystery continue to build and create such a momentous story for the reader. The atmosphere, even through those lighthearted moments, retains this ominous feeing throughout, tying the whole story together. It maintains its fluidity and keeps the reader hooked into the mystery of the story, of “the Goddess murders,” and how everything ties together. It’s a solid well told story that has some amazing spooky elements that incorporate the history of Salem and Irish folklore. (★★★★☆ | A)

Product Details:

Pub Date: Jan 24, 2017 Page count: 432pp Age Range: 18 & Over
ISBN: 978-1-1019-0560-9 Publisher: Crown List Price:  $27.99

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