Written by Fleur Ferris
Contemporary, Mystery, #LoveOzYA
Published July 22nd 2016
Thank you to Random House Australia
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Ebony Marshall is in her final year of high school. Five months, two weeks and four days... She can't wait to leave the town where she's known only as Black. Because of her name, of course. But for another reason, too.
Everyone says Black Marshall is cursed.
Three of her best friends have died in tragic accidents. After Oscar, the whispers started. Now she's used to being on her own. It's easier that way.
But when her date for the formal ends up in intensive care, something in quiet little Dainsfield starts to stir. Old secrets are revealed and terrifying new dangers emerge.
If only Black could put all the pieces together, she could work out who her real enemies are. Should she run for her life, or stay and fight?
Seventeen year old Ebony Marshall, social pariah and simply known within her small country town as Black. In her final year of school, Ebony works part time at the local water treatment plant, her father's own enterprise that provides clean water for the region. But Black has always lived her life on the fringe, the girl for who tragedy defined her and left her ostracised by her community and peers who believed ebony is damned. All except new student Aiden.
Aiden has heard the rumours, but befriends ebony against despite the dire warnings of the curse of Black Marshall. As the teens form a tentative friendship against all odds, Aiden is hospitalized. Only this time, the curse of Black Marshall has taken a dangerous direction with deadly consequences.
The Pure Apostles fuel the fears of the Whispers, a devoted group community members who follow the teachings of Father Ratchet. Five months, two weeks, and four days is all that separates Black and freedom, freedom from the Whisperers and small town ideals.
Until the Pure Apostles see Ebony as a threat.
And come for her.
Fleur Ferris is spectacular. Black was a brilliant blend of a contemporary, mystery and exploring small town prejudice and one girl's fight to live. Ebony Marshall's young life has experienced devastating grief, but yet the seventeen year old is still able to hold her head high despite now being a social pariah. Once affectionately known as Black, now it holds negative connotations after losing multiple friends in devastating accidents. Her only friend is her work colleague Ed, only a few years Ebony's senior and someone who has never judged her as others have, as a curse and plight on the small community of Dainsfield.
What endeared me to Ebony was her determination and resilience. She's been subjected to the taunts of her peers and given a wide birth by the community since losing her small group of friends at such a tender age, labelled as a curse and unable to grieve for all she had lost. Ebony refuses to be bullied or belittled, especially against those who the Pure Apostles have convinced Ebony is a threat to their children and community. It's after Ebony begins to develop a relationship with new student Aiden when the Whisperers begin an aggressive campaign against the teen, when an accident sees Aiden's life holding by a thread and the small town of Dainsfield begins to unravel.
The Pure Apostles are a religious cult, with a history devoted to exorcising demons. Ebony has been labelled as a threat since conception and as the secrets of Dainsfield threaten to erupt, Ebony will need to fight or risk becoming yet another urban legend. The Whisperers were undeniably alarming, following the teachings of Father Ratchet who is the driving force behind the curse of Black Marshall. Ebony is watched, monitored all by a group who remains anonymous, leaving the reader unaware of which characters belong to the unhinged congregation. Ebony's storyline may be fictional, but all too similar to cases all over the world where religious leaders have faith cleansed parishioners in similar circumstances, giving Black's storyline an eerie and unsettling emotive.
Although Incredibly disturbing, Black was completely riveting. I was unable to tear myself away from Ebony's narrative and the town of Dainsfield brought to life. Fleur Ferris is a remarkable storyteller, sharp, accomplished and confident. I loved the unpredictability. It left me feeling unsettled and reading long into the night. Absolutely compelling and I loved every moment.