Rating: Very Good
Source: Blog Tour
Description: Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, investigates a 25-year-old triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed one Halloween night. Aided by Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims who has returned to town, Rafferty begins to uncover a dark chapter in Salem’s past. Callie, who has always been gifted with premonitions, begins to struggle with visions she doesn’t quite understand and an attraction to a man who has unknown connections to her mother’s murder. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian and sometime-aunt to Callie, 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?
Why I Picked This Book: Salem is one of those topics that I can't resist!
My Impression: This is one of those books that I really don't even know where to start with when talking about it. I think I've started this review about 4 times only to delete paragraphs of discussion that frankly begins to ramble. In order to get my thoughts about this book across in a way that makes sense to anyone that isn't me I'm going with list form!
1. This is not a simple mystery. The characters are fully formed, the history is essentially a character in itself, there are paranormal elements, town politics, and multiple mysteries going back to 1692. That being said the book doesn't feel disjointed - it just feels fully developed.
2. I found the characters interesting and complex. Rafferty is driven to find the truth and he doesn't like feeling pressured because of the victim's social position and his concern for Rose and for Callie feels very real. I enjoyed meeting Towner and those around her and getting to know her as the book went along though probably to know her best I should go back and read the first book. Callie was the most compelling for me. She genuinely cares for Rose and wants to help her, she's learning about her gift and her past but at the same time has a lot of fear. All the characters including minor ones where people that were interesting and made me want to learn more about them.
3. The history of Salem itself is fascinating and very dark. Barry really made it come alive and it became very vivid.
4. I had no idea how this was going to unwind in any form. There is a heavy paranormal aspect but to me it didn't read as particularly paranormal it just felt like one more element that made the story richer.
5. This isn't a fast read as there were times I needed to think about what was going on or even at times take a break when things got a little too overwhelming or too grim. However, it was an engaging read. I wasn't completely pulled in until around 35% but even before then I wanted to read it, I wanted to find out what happened next.
Overall, if you're looking for an unusual and thought provoking read with well drawn characters and a crazy intense mystery and aren't bothered by a somewhat slower pace this is a fantastic book to grab. While it is the 2nd in the Lace Readers series I believe the first book focuses on the back story of one character (Towner) and not knowing the details in no way impacted my enjoyment or comprehension of this book.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely! I want to get a copy of Barry's first book in this series right now!
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes definitely but this isn't a read for when you're in the mood for something light.