Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Lace Reader-Brunonia Barry

The Lace Reader
Brunonia Barry
Morrow, Jul 29 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9780061624766

She left her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts when she was eighteen years old due to a tragedy she believes she caused. Like all her female relatives Towner Whitney can read the future using lace. However, she vowed never again when her lace reading led to her twin sister Lyndley’s death and put her mental well being on the brink of collapse with selective amnesia perhaps keeping her somewhat sane.

Now years away from Salem and the memory of that trauma, Towner returns home because her beloved Great Aunt Eva vanished. Soon afterward the drowned body of the first Lace Reader is found. Towner has no doubts some anti-paranormal fanatic like born again former alcoholic Preacher Cal killed Eva; everyone else assumes she is off her rocker again. Still she plans to learn who murdered her aunt even though it means reading the Lace for the first time since Lyndley died. Ex NYPD Detective turned Salem cop John Rafferty officially investigates the case though he is increasingly convinced an accident happened even as he is attracted to the enigmatic Towner.

THE LACE READER is a fabulous whodunit that cleverly uses differing perspectives of the same events to keep the audience somewhat off-balance, but totally engrossed. The story line is character driven especially by Towner and John, but also by secondary players like Cal and Towner’s reclusive mom. Each sees the death through the relative personal bias. Brunonia Barry provides a deep Salem thriller in which readers will keep pondering that truth is in the eyes of the beholder.

Harriet Klausner