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- The Burning Girls by CJ Tudor -

Published : 21st January 2021

Publisher : PenguinMichaelJoseph

Format : Kindle, Audio, Hardback

Genre : Thriller

Review #4/2021

* All words highlighted in Grey are affiliate links to either purchase from a range of sellers or links to the authors sites. Where ever possible I will try and provide different versions of the book on all purchase sites.


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 . . .

Thank you @MichaelJoseph for this advanced copy

My Review

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was pretending he didn't exist

This was an absolutely thrilling book. I love C.J Tudor's previous stories and this one has taken over as my most favourite so far.

Single mum Reverend Jack Brooks and her teenage daughter Flo move to a small village in the Sussex countryside, where Jack is to be the new temporary Vicar until a more permanent one can be found. Needing a break from the unsettling and tragic events that happened within her own parish Jack eventually welcomes the change but it soon becomes obvious that Chapel Croft is far from the idyllic quaint village they she was expecting. The town’s inhabitants are a bizarre and quirky lot and don’t welcome newcomers easily.

Jack had done her research prior to moving and was aware that the village had a dark history involving the Sussex Martyrs who were burned at the stake 500 years ago, every year the village make small stick dolls and burn them on the anniversary of the sacrifices. This isnt the only disturbing secret that is being held though, the unsolved disappearance of two young girls 30 years ago, and the unexpected death of the previous Vicar both leave an unsettling feeling with Jack. The eerie church and an exorcism kit complete with a stark warning brings everything full circle and Jack decides to start doing a little digging to find out what really happened to those girls and the previous vicar who was found swinging from the alter.

Things turn even more ominous when Jack begins to experience strange dreams and Flo sees visions of the both the burning girls who perished all those years ago, said that if you see them they are a harbinger of bad things to come.

Whilst handling all her suspicions and making herself known as the new Reverend Jack is also a single mother, Flo is a good kid with a passion for amateur photography, but also a normal teenager, meaning that sometimes she makes unwise errors in judgment, not telling her mum when she is threatened by local kids and assuming that the odd new boy that she has made friends with is the only one she can trust.

Jack almost takes on an investigative roll as she tries her best to work out what happened to the previous vicar to make him hang himself, even though the evidence shows he was perfectly sound of mind, what happened to those girls and why was it just brushed under the table and what on earth is on the exorcism tapes that she has found buried within the cellar that seem so disquieting.

Every now and then you are also taken back prior to when the two missing teenage girls disappeared, building a slow picture of the events that led up to their disappearance.

Why I Loved It

The story takes off straight away with this one and there are twists and turns all the way through. As soon as you think Jack is starting to make sense of it all something else happens and you end up questioning everything you thought you had worked out.

A gothic, spine-tingling, edge of your seat story that expertly entwines the tale of eight martyrs from 500 years ago with a contemporary telling about a priest coming to terms with her past.

C.J Tudor is truly the master of a thrilling horror.



Buy from

🛒 Waterstones

🛒 Amazon

🛒 Bookshop UK - supporting local businesses

Meet the author

C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter.

She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover.

In the early nineties, she fell into a job as a television presenter for a show on Channel 4 called Moviewatch. Although a terrible presenter, she got to interview acting legends such as Sigourney Weaver, Michael Douglas, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams. She also annoyed Tim Robbins by asking a question about Susan Sarandon’s breasts and was extremely flattered when Robert Downey Junior showed her his chest.

She’s been writing since she was a child but only knuckled down to it properly in her thirties. Her English teacher once told her that if she ‘did not become Prime Minister or a best-selling author’ he would be ‘very disappointed.’

She is never knowingly over-dressed. She has never owned a handbag and the last time she wore heels (twelve years ago) she broke a tooth.

She loves The Killers, Foo Fighters and Frank Turner. Her favourite venue is Rock City.

Her favourite films are Ghostbusters and The Lost Boys. Her favourite authors are Stephen King, Michael Marshall and Harlan Coben.

She is SO glad she was a teenager in the eighties.

She firmly believes that there are no finer meals than takeaway pizza and champagne, or chips with curry sauce after a night out.


Connect with C.J




Books by this author

The Chalkman

The Taking of Annie Thorne

The Other People

Claire's Similar reads

The Push by Ashley Audrain

The Poison Garden by Alex Marwood

Year Of The Witching by Alexis Henderson

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this review, if you have read this book why not drop me a line telling me your thoughts?

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