Today it is my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for The Rumour by Lesley Kara. My thanks go to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the tour and to publishers Transworld Books for providing an advance copy for review. Here is what the book is all about:
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?
I think that everyone knows and recognises the power of a rumour. We may claim to be immune, to not want to engage in tittle-tattle and hearsay, but there is nothing that we as a species seem to enjoy more than a bit of gossip. When Joanna hears some gossip at a school gate, and casually drops it into conversation at her new book club one evening, she has no idea how far that rumour will spread or the impact that it will have upon the lives of her family and those around her in the seemingly sleepy seaside town of Flinstead.
This is a very cleverly written and slowly evolving suspenseful thriller, one that, much like the rumour of the title, may seem unassuming at first, almost run of the mill small town drama kind of stuff, but which soon grows legs and takes the reader down a path they may not have been expecting. Much like our protagonist, Joanna, I found that the more I got into the story, the more I wanted to know who the real Sally McGowan was. There are plenty of suspects, the finger of suspicion being pointed by the towns residents at all and sundry, especially those who do not seem to fit in. Whispers turn to mud and mud, as they say, sticks. But is there too much misdirection at play? Are those who are pointing fingers merely trying to deflect attention? Or are those who are accused and who proclaim innocence, really not such victims after all?
Well … you’ll need to read to find out, because I’m not going to tell you, obviously. I really liked the character of Joanna, a single mum and something of a newbie in town, in spite it being the town where she grew up. She makes the mistake of fuelling fire under the rumour on several occasions, but all of it has been as a part of trying hard to fit in with people around her and trying to find friends for her son who is similarly struggling to fit into a new town and new school. But there are those out there who want Joanna to stop her rumour mongering, and the anxiety and fear she feels when she starts being followed on Twitter by someone who leaves apparently threatening tweets is palpable. But it also adds another element of suspense to the story as you will now be wondering who is really sending the tweets.
The majority of the book is told from Joanna’s point of view and her struggles with family life, her relationship with her son’s father, and the overwhelming sense of fear that she feels, are all believable, helping you to understand her character better and also to like her. She is kind of isolated in Flinstead, not knowing anyone well enough to know who to trust, which adds to her insecurity. When you read other the passages which are dotted throughout the story – those written from the perspective of the Sally McGowan, and the newspaper interviews with the family of Sally’s young victim – there is a kind of tension which feeds the narrative and builds towards what will be an explosive showdown at the end of the book.
Maybe you well have guessed who Sally really is by then, maybe not. I doubt you’ll be expecting what comes to pass or that final, killer blow, so skilfully delivered by the author right on the very last page.
Creepy, suspenseful and showing the overwhelming power of a rumour to change, and destroy, lives, this book is bound to be a hit and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
If you’d like to read The Rumour it is available now from the following retailers:
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.
Author Links: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website