cover image The Burning Girls

The Burning Girls

C.J. Tudor. Ballantine, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-9848-2502-5

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. Agent: Madeleine Milburn, Madeleine Milburn Literary (U.K.). (Feb.)