Originally published: 27 December 2018
Author: Lesley Kara
Published by: Bantam Press
Genre: Crime Thriller
Length: 320 pages
Reading dates: 18-21 December 2018
When single mum, Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates about notorious child killer Sally McGowan, living in her small seaside town under a new identity, although curious, she doesn’t really take much notice. Sally McGowan was just 10 years old when she stabbed 5 year old Robbie Harris to death in the late 1960s. After spending time in a childhood detention centre, she was released back into the community into witness protection where she was given a new identity.
Joanna has recently moved back to Flinstead-on-Sea from London with her 5 year old son Alfie, to be nearer her mum and is still finding her feet, trying to make friends and get Alfie settled into school. Joanna finds herself passing on the rumour to the members of her book club and then, after hearing some information from Alfie’s dad, a journalist, she ends up telling some of the other mums at the school gates what she knows, mostly as a effort to fit in. But Joanna soon regrets ever saying a word.
What a great debut! Lesley Kara certainly knows how to spin a web – there are lots of characters in this book and I ended up suspecting almost every one of being Sally McGowan at some point or other! Kara takes a quite ordinary and believable situation and makes it exciting and suspenseful (many times have you stood at the school gates or at the coffee machine at work listening to gossip?)
This was one of those books I couldn’t put down, picking it up at every opportunity and reading as fast as I could to reach the gripping conclusion. Highly recommended!
I was lucky enough to meet Lesley at the Transworld Crime Evening at the end of November (and receive a proof of The Rumour). It was interesting listening to her talk, especially about how she had to change the book for the American market.
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. She lives on the North Essex coast.
The Rumour is her first novel.