In the 1980’s, three young women known as The Goddesses were horribly murdered in the town of Salem, MA. One of their children survived, as was an older scholar. Now decades later, the mystery has resurfaced with the sudden death of a local boy in town. Fear grips the town, as does a desire to pin the death on the older scholar who survived the day. The young child that survived, Callie, is now a grown woman who returns to face the most traumatic night of her life amidst a cast of some of the strangest people and some of the creepiest.
Brunonia Barry’s novel, The Fifth Petal, combines Salem witches, a murder mystery, and an uncomfortable love story. Callie is an enjoyable protagonist, even as she has to face extreme trauma, awkward encounters with locals and even fight for her life. She is smart and capable, but not in a way that is unbelievable. The book keeps you guessing throughout as to whether there is a supernatural cause or just human cruelty. Be prepared for many instances where some of the clues appear to be just dead ends, and others will startle you like a slap to the face. Barry keep the reader’s attention throughout, twisting and turning, as well as providing enough action to keep one turning pages long into the night.
The Fifth Petal is now available from Crown Books.