Wow!! Yet another brilliant read by C J Tudor. She’s the queen of plot twists and first class storytelling. According to the Daily Mail, Tudor is Britain’s version of Stephen King. For admirers of the mystery writing style of Anthony Horowitz (Amazon Reviewer) you might remember this author’s first novel, “The Chalk Man”, a superb debut which I thought would take some living up to.
The darkly compelling new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Chalk Man, The Taking of Annie Thorne and The Other People
‘Hypnotic and horrifying . . . Without doubt her best yet, The Burning Girls left me sleeping with the lights on’ CHRIS WHITAKER, bestselling author of Waterstones Thriller of the Month We Begin at the End
‘A gothic, spine-tingling roller-coaster of a story . . . CJ Tudor is a master of horror’ C.J. COOKE, author of The Nesting
500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide
Welcome to Chapel Croft.
For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.
And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.
Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.
Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?
Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.
But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .
‘Tudor operates on the border between credulity and disbelief, creating an atmosphere of menace’ Sunday Times
‘A mesmerising and atmospheric page-turner, with plenty of shocks and a surprise twist for a finale. Her best novel yet’ Sunday Express
‘The best book yet from C. J. Tudor’ Best
Praise for C. J. Tudor:
‘C. J. Tudor is terrific. I can’t wait to see what she does next’ Harlan Coben
‘Britain’s female Stephen King’ Daily Mail
‘A mesmerizingly chilling and atmospheric page-turner’ J.P. Delaney
‘Her books have the ability to simultaneously make you unable to stop reading while wishing you could bury the book somewhere deep underground where it can’t be found. Compelling and haunting’ Sunday Express
‘Some writers have it, and some don’t. C. J. Tudor has it big time’ Lee Child
‘A dark star is born’ A. J. Finn
The Burning Girls is the story of the quirky Revd, Jack (Jacqueline) Brooks, and her teenage daughter, Flo, who are posted to Chapel Croft until a new priest is found. But it’s not the quiet idyll Jack has been led to believe.
When a blank-faced girl shows up covered in blood and an apparition appears in the church, Jack can’t stop feeling a wedge of unease. Especially if an upside-down cross scored into the paintwork of her car — and a flickering light bobbing about in the chapel late at night — are anything to go by. Rural church life didn’t do much for Reverend Fletcher, whether or not he was wrestling with personal issues.
I enjoyed the way Jack acquaints herself with folklore — two girls Abigail and Maggie burnt at the stake with six other martyrs in the sixteenth century — and the way she sees similarities in the apparitions. There are too many people in this village with too many demons, especially when Jack’s are about to make themselves known. Tudor has remarkable skill at making memorable characters that stick with you for days afterwards. You worry about them; their safety, their strengths, their weaknesses and their entire emotional arc.
Living inside Flo’s point of view is harrowing at times. Not happy at leaving her school in Nottingham and her friends, she tries to ease into life in this sleepy town with its dark secrets, but nightmares of The Burning Girls continues to plague her. A keen photographer, she takes pictures of higgledy-piggledy headstones which brings her face to face with a burning girl. But when she develops the film, there is no such image.
The portrayal of her time at the new school probes the evil side of human nature, and this, weaved through the story, makes for an un-put-downable read. It’s an out of the frying pan into the fire story, which covers a startling amount of emotional territory. With C J Tudor’s witty and engaging writing style, it’s no surprise she’s one of the best authors in her genre.
Thank you to Netgalley, Penguin Michael Joseph and author C.J. Tudor for the privilege of reading this book.
About the Author
C. J. Tudor lives with her partner and young daughter. Her love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. When her peers were reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert.
Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, dog walker, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and, now, author.
Her first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller and sold in thirty-nine territories.
Other Books by C.J. Tudor