✱✱ Book Review ✱✱ The Fifth Petal: A Novel of Salem by Brunonia Barry

Becky Baldridge

3 Stars

November 6, 2017

A multiple murder from the past that remains unsolved and a current death that may or may not be murder in a town whose very name is synonymous with witches. Add to that a growing suspect list and a boatload of secrets. Brunonia Barry is quite talented and that shows in The Fifth Petal. The writing is descriptive, the characters are interesting, and the suspense builds as the story progresses. The supernatural element does add something to the mystery, and most of the solving process is done through visions and memories rather than actual investigation. Nevertheless, Chief Rafferty is an engaging character in spite of having little to go on with these cases. I did have trouble warming up to Callie, but she did grow on me as her story unfolds and the author does a good job of eliciting sympathy for her situation. I did find myself enjoying the scenes with Rafferty much more than those about Callie through most of the book. The story does tend to ramble at times with unnecessary information that almost feels like info dumps and some chapters end rather abruptly, both of which become a distraction from an otherwise good story.  On a positive note, I did enjoy the bits of history from the witch trials sprinkled throughout the book, and the twists and secrets revealed kept me turning pages to find the answers. I have to say the conclusion is very fast paced and took me by surprise, which doesn't happen very often. Looking back, I realized that I should've seen it, at least in part, but the twists and diversions work exactly as they should. Overall, the book is worth the read, and if it were trimmed down some on the unnecessary information, it would've easily been a four or five-star book for this reader.