Beloved author Brunonia Barry returns to the world of The Lace Reader with this spellbinding new thriller, a complex brew of suspense, seduction, and murder.
When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem's chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, 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?
"Barry fans will welcome the return of beloved characters and the introduction of new ones into a contemporary Salem appropriately fraught with remnants and reminders of its dark and twisted history. This spooky, multilayered medley of mysteries is sure to be a bestseller." (Booklist)
"Banshees, lost memories, and secret pasts each play a significant role in this novel; enthusiasts of the author's earlier work and readers interested in the history of witchcraft and the occult will enjoy this return visit to Salem." (Library Journal)
"[An] entertaining occult murder mystery." (Kirkus Reviews)
"I was thrilled to listen to Ann Marie Lee’s reading of The Fifth Petal. As author of the book, I can be a tough audience, but her performance added multiple dimensions to the story, enhancing elements of narrative and creating distinct voices that reveal Lee’s deep understanding of character. It’s difficult to capture the spirit of Salem and its people, but she managed to do it beautifully. Kudos to Ann Marie Lee. Thank you for bringing my book to life!" (Brunonia Barry)
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Hint: Increase the Speed
While I quite enjoyed Alyssa Bresnahan's narration of The Lace Reader, I found that Ann Marie Lee's measured pace on The Fifth Petal was much too slow for me. While I understand that the perspective was that of a different character, Bresnahan's pace and animation added an element to the first book which I found to be missing in the second. I considered returning the book, but I decided to increase the speed to 1.5x. It made for for odd intonation every so often, but definitely reduced the aggravation factor for me!
It would need to be more appropriate selection of material. Lee's style did not enhance my enjoyment of this particular work, but she was clear and pleasant.
Good writing, bad reading
The Fifth Petal ranks in the top 5 for the high quality writing, but the narrator's poor delivery was so distracting it diminished the overall quality of the audiobook.
The plot was intricate, sometimes lagging with the depth of detail thrown in.
Her voice ranged from plodding (e.g., emphasis on the word "said" that broke up the pacing), to hysterical or frenetic, e.g. "Rafferty [voice rises in hysterical tone] PUT THE COFEE CUP [voice shakes] on the TABLE [emphasis on this word as if "table" is something evil or threatening] with a CLICK [voice cracks]." That's just an example of the reading style, not a real quote from the book. She seemed not to understand the pacing of this kind of story, and her style was distracting at best, outright annoying at worst.
Moved me? not really. But it was a good story.
Please use the narrator for previous Barry books, Alyssa Bresnahan.