An unconventional vicar must exorcise the dark past of a remote village haunted by death and disappearances in this explosive and unsettling thriller from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man.
“Hypnotic and horrifying . . . Without doubt Tudor’s best yet, The Burning Girls left me sleeping with the lights on.”—Chris Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of We Begin at the End
A dark history lingers in Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, Protestant martyrs were betrayed—then burned. Thirty years ago, two teenage girls disappeared without a trace. And a few weeks ago, the vicar of the local parish hanged himself in the nave of the church.
Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a fourteen-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping for a fresh start. Instead, Jack finds a town rife with conspiracies and secrets, and is greeted with a strange welcome package: an exorcism kit and a note that warns, “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known.”
The more Jack and daughter, Flo, explore the town and get to know its strange denizens, the deeper they are drawn into the age-old rifts, mysteries, and suspicions. And when Flo begins to see specters of girls ablaze, it becomes apparent there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest.
Uncovering the truth can be deadly in a village with a bloody past, where everyone has something to hide and no one trusts an outsider.
Rarely have the secrets of an English village been used to greater effect than in this tautly suspenseful mystery from Thriller Award winner Tudor (The Other People). When the Rev. Jack Brooks, a widow with a 14-year-old daughter, Flo, is ordered to fill a sudden vacancy in Chapel Croft, Jack learns that the Sussex village is famous for the burning of its martyrs in the reign of Mary I, two of the victims having been young girls. But it's not so clear what happened to two teenage girls who disappeared from Chapel Croft 30 years earlier, in 1990, never to be heard from again. Once Jack discovers that her predecessor killed himself, the menace stalking the village becomes a palpable threat. Shifting points of view bring into play a secret from Jack's past and when that threat is added to the escalating dangers in Chapel Croft, the tension become nearly unbearable. Tudor expertly doles out the plot twists, some of them small, some sizable, and one so shocking that it turns the entire story inside out. Jack, Flo, and the other fully realized characters and their eventual fates won't be easily forgotten by any reader.
This was a really good story and held my interest all the way through. Read it in a day and a half.
All the stars
Love all of Tudor’s books! This one is so unpredictable and such a great thriller-you won’t be able to put it down once you start!