The Fifth Petal

Brunonia Barry. Crown, $27 (448p) ISBN 978-1-101-90560-9
Bestselling author Barry (The Lace Reader) brings readers into the historic town of Salem, Mass., where the parallels between a past crime and the present-day death of a teenage boy at the hanging site of the Salem witches seem all too familiar to the suspicious community. Rose, a once-respected Salem witch-trial historian and scholar who was the primary suspect in the unsolved Goddess murders, which rocked the town nearly 20 years ago, has never been the same after the humiliation of the investigation. Now a mentally unstable outcast, Rose is again the target of public scrutiny concerning the murder of the troubled teen. The chief of police, Rafferty, and Callie, Rose’s niece and daughter of one of the murdered women, aren’t convinced of Rose’s guilt. Whisked away from Salem under the care of nuns after the death of her mother, Callie was the sole witness to the Goddess murders and has been sheltered from much of her family history—until news of the murdered boy brings her again to Salem and memories begin flooding back during waking dreams. By reopening the Goddess-murder cases and relying on the power of modern magic, mythology, and history, Callie and Rafferty seek to uncover the true murderer. Dark and suspenseful, Barry’s well-constructed tale is filled with traps and red herrings as the truth is slowly revealed and Salem is forced to confront its sordid past. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/2016
Release date: 01/24/2017
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-1-101-90562-3
Hardcover - 686 pages - 978-1-4104-9740-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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