The Rumour by Lesley Kara | Book Review | #TheRumour

Published by Bantam Press/Transworld
Available in ebook (10 December) | hardback (27 December 2018) | paperback 25 July 2019
320 pages


|   About the Book   |

When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .

Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed?

|   My Thoughts  |


My thanks to Transworld and Anne Cater for the invitation to take part in the tour.  I’m delighted to be sharing the tour spot today with my blogging buddy Eva from Noveldeelights – do pop over and see her review. 

“Rumours can kill”

I was really looking forward to reading this and I’m very pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed.

When single mother Joanna returns to the seaside town of Flinstead with her young son Alfie, she’s looking forward to a new start, with the bonus of being near her mother. With both Alfie and her finding it hard to fit in, she innocently repeats some gossip that a historic child killer is living amongst them under a new identity, thinking it will give her some kudos with the school gate mums. It gives her more than that. She unwittingly unleashes something that takes on a life of its own.

The Rumour shows only too well how easy it is for those Chinese whispers to grow, particularly when fuelled by vigilante groups and how quickly lives can be ruined in the process.

Joanna was an especially realistic character and I did feel some sympathy for her. She didn’t particularly want to become part of the playground mother’s clique and babysitting circle – some of the people there she would rather avoid but Alfie was being ostracised by his classmates; being of mixed race, his life was already difficult enough and she wanted to try and make things easier for him. When matters get out of hand, she feels desperate and wishes more than anything that she could take back those comments. 

There are many characters here to get to grips with, particularly in relation to the school mothers and their families; my finger of suspicion was probably pointed at almost everyone of a certain age before it discarded them and picked someone else. With historic newspaper reports interspersed throughout the book, together with a voice of an unknown person, this is an addictive and deviously plotted story that led you down several garden paths before bringing you back to the gate.   There was one line that made me go cold. I’m not saying where it was but it made me re-consider what I thought I’d read before. 

Although such people don’t really deserve any sympathy, we also get an idea of what life is like from the perspective of the person under the lifetime anonymity and protection. They do have the chance to start a new life following release from prison but it means cutting ties with everything and everybody they once knew, often being moved to a new safe place at a moment’s notice upon discovery and there can be no going back if they want to stay safe.

The Rumour is billed as a thriller and as such, it has the requisite twists and surprises. Well done to Lesley Kara for an excellent gripping and engrossing story. This was Kara’s debut novel and I’m not at all surprised that the screen rights have been bought. It would work very well as a TV drama. I really enjoyed it.

|   About the Author   |

Lesley Kara is an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She completed an English degree and PGCE at Greenwich University, having previously worked as a nurse and a secretary, and then became a lecturer and manager in Further Education. Lesley has relocated to a small town on the North Essex coast, where she is currently working on her second novel.

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