Source: Netgalley Review copy
Publication: 10 December in e-book and 27 Dec 2018 in hardback from Bantam Press
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?
Who doesn’t love a quick gossip? It’s part and parcel of any friendship; passing on those snippets of information or sometimes speculation that you’ve encountered since your last chat.
For Joanna, a bit of gossip is the way into a group of parents she meets every morning at the school gates. She doesn’t really need their friendship, but her only son is being bullied at school and she’d like to make sure Alfie has some friends to rely on. And that means she needs to make some of her own – and fast.
So an overheard piece of gossip proves to be the golden entry ticket into the mothers’ school gates union and soon she is a part of their circle. But what she has started begins to grow and spread and soon there is real unrest in this small town.
Lesley Kara provides a compelling snapshot of life in a small seaside town where everyone knows something about everyone else. What secrets may lie beneath the calm surface is explored with assurance and Kara offers up a cast of fascinating and varied characters for us to speculate about.
At the core of this novel is a strong cautionary tale. Be careful what you say, because it is all too easy to have a devastating impact on people’s lives. We all have secrets and many will be exposed in this clever debut novel from Kara who keeps the reader on their toes with plenty of false twists and turns.
I loved the psychological suspense element and thoroughly enjoyed the pace and the writing. Excellent unanticipated twists, too. Lesley Kara is definitely one to watch.
Verdict: Well written exploration of the devastating impact of gossip on a small town
About Lesley Kara
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. She lives on the North Essex coast.
The Rumour is her first novel.