The Burning Girls
By C J Tudor
After a scandal at her previous city post, Reverend Jack Brooks has been sent to fill in at the small rural village of Chapel Croft. Neither her nor her teenage daughter, Flo, are happy with the move and find the close-knit community hard to break into. They learn that the previous reverend committed suicide, and that the Chapel Croft church is famous for six Protestant martyrs who were burned at the stake. Someone keeps leaving small twig dolls for Jack and Flo to find, along with religious texts referring to exorcism. And so the scene is set … the tension builds nicely, and there are some clever plot twists. Tudor not only explores the myths that flourish in small towns, but also the political machinations behind the clerical collar, and the solo mother/teen daughter relationship. I don’t enjoy the horror genre, but luckily this story didn’t go in that direction, and I was genuinely surprised by some of the revelations at the end of the book. Overall, a good solid thriller that I enjoyed reading at the beach.