I loooooove Kat Ellis’s writing! I reviewed Harrow Lake for the blog tour last year and I shouted about it for months after. Wicked Little Deeds, out 5th August 2021, gave me exactly the same level of thrillery joy! I adored it, reading the majority of it in one sitting, and I can’t wait to see more from Kat.
Rating: 5 stars!
Thanks to Penguin Random House for the eARC of this book, and to The Write Reads for organising this blog tour. It has not affected my honest review.
Content Warnings: grief, parental loss (on and off page), violence, gore, murder, hallucinations, non-consensual drug use, fire.
About the book:
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…
What did I think?
One of the things I absolutely love about Kat Ellis’s writing is the way that the supernatural and natural are threaded together so thoroughly that it’s impossible to know for sure whether there is something supernatural at work, or if it’s the unreliable narrator playing tricks on you. This gave me the same nervous tension that Harrow Lake did, and I love it. It made the whole book a real page turner because I needed an explanation urgently. The audiobook also nails this dramatic tension, so I highly recommend it if you like audiobooks!
I loved Ava’s perspective. There were so many things about Ava that I adored, but I have to point out that the depiction of her grief was incredible. It felt so raw and real that I wanted to wrap her up and look after her. I didn’t even know I had a maternal instinct until I met Ava Thorn. It felt really authentic to a traumatised teenager trying to cope with the worst event in her life. I loved the way that she struggled to separate hallucinations, dreams, memories and the truth. It made for an unreliable narrator that I wanted desperately to believe, because I wanted Ava to get answers as much as I wanted answers myself. She’s a strong character in impossible circumstances, aka my favourite kind. Nic was the perfect mirror to her. Both of them are working through violent death and the grief associated with that sudden loss, and the way they played off against each other felt perfect. I adored them both, and their romantic tension was pitch perfect.
Speaking of a Thorn and a Miller, the Thorn-Miller rivalry was everything to me. I love a good rivalry, and this was so interesting. The way it complicated Nic and Ava’s relationship, and the investigation itself, was so fun to read. I liked the way it played out, and, without spoilers, the things we found out about the origins of the rivalry had me shocked. It was amazing. There were so many complicated relationships in WICKED LITTLE DEEDS, and I really liked the way that Ava and Ford’s friendship was so messy. Growing apart as teenage friends is a whole other type of loss, and that was really clear here.
As for the twists and turns of this thriller – oh my goooood. I love it. I loved it. When I hit the final twist, I actually put the book down so I could tweet about how shocked I was. I didn’t see it coming at all and I’m usually pretty good at putting things together in thrillers. This time? I’d put all the clues together backwards, and the truth threw me for a loop. It was a fantastically tense ending, and there was an open endedness to it that was deeply satisfying but will be lingering on my mind for a long time.
Release Date: 5th August 2021