The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Pages - 304
Publisher - Penguin
Source - Netgalley & bought a copy
Blurb from Goodreads
An unconventional vicar moves to a remote corner of the English countryside, only to discover a community haunted by death and disappearances both past and present--and intent on keeping its dark secrets--in this explosive, unsettling thriller from acclaimed author C. J. Tudor.
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.
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.
I have read and enjoyed a few of Tudors books (only just realised there are a couple I still have to get) and this one is no different. Jack is a priest and been moved to a small town Chapel Croft with the teen daughter. The town welcomes them with a weird package, an exorcism kit (noone admits to sending) and some of the parishioner's are weird, rude or a bit creepy (not all of them). The town has a history , martyrs were burned hundreds of years ago, they like their tradition oh and two young girls disappeared 30 years ago but didn't ever get much of an investigation. Father Jack (I keep thinking of Father Ted when I read the name lol) is intrigued and can't help but get involved in the towns business but every village has it's secrets and some people will do anything do protect them.
So as well as all of that and some shady characters, we have weird bumps in the night, ghostly apparitions that surely cannot be true. The town has a dark and bloody history, people aren't exactly what they seem. Family, love, ghosts, spooky, freaky, darkness, murder, death - I do love the tales/characters Tudor creates.
The book has lots interwoven, small town bitchy characters/shade/bullying/mystery/intrigue, the burning girls history and what it means to the town. A new priest trying to integrate into the new position without all the facts of why they have been relocated or their predecessor. Supernatural elements, teen angst, darker and deeper levels of shade from humanity - it has so so much in one book.
Undertones and echoes of Stephen King, small town, characters to love and hate, history, town ghosts/legends and some shady shady darkness, a creeping sense of unease as you delve further into the story, fabulous, 4/5 for me this time.