C.J. Tudor is back with her darkest, twistiest novel yet. Welcome to the small village of Chapel Croft where all your worst nightmares come true…
Welcome to Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake here. Thirty years ago, two teenage girls disappeared without a trace. And two months ago, the vicar of the local parish killed himself – but not before leaving a message for Jack.
Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a fourteen-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping to make a fresh start and find some peace. Instead, Jack finds a town mired in secrecy and a strange welcome package: an old exorcism kit and a note quoting scripture: “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known.”
The more Jack and daughter Flo get acquainted with the town and its strange denizens, the deeper they are drawn into their rifts, mysteries, and suspicions. And when Flo is troubled by strange sightings in the old chapel, it becomes apparent that there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest.
But uncovering the truth can be deadly in a village where everyone has something to protect, everyone has links with the village’s bloody past, and no one trusts an outsider. And as long-buried secrets of Jack’s own resurface, faith alone will not save them…
Oh wow… this was quite a read. There are two big problems with this book: firstly, it terrified me, and normally I don’t like to be frightened while reading, but the main problem was… I couldn’t put it down. From the very first page, I was absolutely hooked. C.J. Tudor’s writing is so incredibly polished and edgy. Every single sentence sings, and I had to keep reading, fascinated by her sparse prose, dark humour, cracking dialogue and how she drives a story forward.
I loved the opening chapter… read it and you’ll see why. I formulated a picture of Jack in my head, and then in chapter two, Tudor shatters that image and I needed to regroup. And she does that throughout. The twists and turns don’t stop. Spooky and unsettling, Tudor builds the tension with some supernatural elements, but the guts of this taut, intelligent novel is a psychological thriller. It’s deeply disturbing and utterly engrossing. I might not be able to sleep for weeks… but I loved every page of The Burning Girls.