I thoroughly enjoyed this gripping YA thriller, so much so that it has set the house move back at least a day. It has all the elements for a compulsive read – an old manor house, ancient family feuds, scores to be settled, and the possibility that Dead-Eyed Sadie is real. And Ellis doesn’t skimp on the gore when it’s needed – this is a dark and knotty plot that she’s giving us here. If you like modern American gothic, you’ll love this novel.
‘There’s a sign on Red Road marking the western town limits. On this side, it says ‘NOW LEAVING BURDEN FALLS – come back soon!’ It also tells you it has a population of 9,504, and shows a dark-haired girl with her back turned, gazing at the majestic waterfall. There’s no reason to think the girl is dead, but everyone here knows it. She’s like the unofficial town mascot.’
What follows is a pacey, unsettling story which blends a teenage school narrative with local superstitions (the Haunted Heartland account is brilliant touch) and a sense that past crimes cast long shadows. The key thing for me when following a teenage protagonist is the narrator’s voice – Ellis gets this spot-on: Ava’s account of her experiences, both before the novel’s plot begins and as events unfold, are vivid and believable, Ava is also drily humorous at just the right moments – she’s a protagonist I’d like to meet again. The questions we’re left with made me slightly hesitant to turn the light off once I finished the book. Highly recommended!
My thanks to @WriterReadsTours for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
Length: 400 Pages
Publishing: 5th August 2021
Blurb: From its creepy town mascot to the story of its cursed waterfall, Burden Falls is a small town dripping with superstition. Ava Thorn knows this well – since the horrific accident she witnessed a year ago, she’s been plagued by nightmares. But when her school nemesis is brutally murdered and Ava is the primary suspect, she starts to wonder if the legends surrounding the town are more fact than fiction. Whatever secrets Burden Falls is hiding, there’s a killer on the loose, and they have a vendetta against the Thorns…
About the Author
Kat Ellis is a young adult author whose novels include Wicked Little Deeds/Burden Falls (August 2021), Harrow Lake (July 2020), Purge (September 2016), Breaker (May 2016), and Blackfin Sky (May 2014). She is a fan of all things horror and sci-fi, and a keen explorer of ruins, castles and cemeteries – all of which are plentiful in North Wales, where Kat lives with her husband.
You can find out more about Kat at http://www.katelliswrites.com or connect with her on social media.