The town of Burden Falls drips with superstition, from rumors of its cursed waterfall to Dead-Eyed Sadie, the disturbing specter who haunts it. Ava Thorn grew up right beside the falls, and since a horrific accident killed her parents a year ago, she’s been plagued by nightmares in which Sadie comes calling—nightmares so chilling, Ava feels as if she’ll never wake up. But when someone close to Ava is brutally murdered and she’s the primary suspect, she begins to wonder if the stories might be more than legends—and if the ghost haunting her dreams might be terrifyingly real. Whatever secrets Burden Falls is hiding, there’s a killer on the loose . . . with a vendetta against the Thorns.
*I was sent an ARC of this via NetGalley and as part of The Write Reads ultimate blog tours – a massive thank you as always to Dave for asking me to be a part of this one and being an all round awesome member of the book community!*
Wicked Little Deeds aka Burden Falls by Kat Ellis is a slow, creeping horror with all the right elements, making for a great read to occupy you over the course of an evening or two. I read Harrow Lake, Kat Ellis’ other book and absolutely loved it so I knew going in that Wicked Little Deeds would be up my street and I was absolutely right. I think Kat Ellis will be an auto read / auto buy author for me now because I really enjoy her writing style and what she’s bringing to the Y/A horror sub genre.
Wicked Little Deeds is focused on a core group of characters, set against the backdrop of a small town with a murky history of witch trials, evil eyes carved into trees and two families who have a long standing rivalry. Ava Thorn is our protagonist, a teen who lost her parents a year prior and is just trying to get through life the best way she can. I thought the portrayal of Ava’s grief and survivor’s guilt was well done in the novel and the relationships in the book felt realistic and complex. I feel like Ellis has a talent for writing slightly prickly teen protagonists who are just trying their best and this isn’t a bad thing by any means as I empathised with Ava and she was kind of relatable in many ways.
I liked the small town setting within the book and how it just adds to the claustrophobic, creeping suspense as the story progresses. We learn that the Thorns and the Millers have a long standing grudge against each other stemming back to centuries ago and a curious and sinister local legend, called Dead Eyed Sadie. Much like in Harrow Lake, you can’t be sure whether the supernatural is at play or if it can all be explained away by human causes, but I like that this is kind of ambiguous and left to the reader to discern. I really don’t want to spoil anything as this is the kind of book you can’t have ruined.
Overall, Wicked Little Deeds was a fun, thrilling read which I pretty much devoured over a couple of evenings. If you’re into Y/A horror or thrillers then you should definitely check this book out, Kat Ellis is definitely a writer to watch out for.
Until next time,