- The Rumour.
- Lesley Kara.
- 320 pages.
- Crime / Thriller / Mystery / Fiction.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
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?
In 1969 five-year-old Robbie Harris was stabbed to death. His flame was snuffed out and his life was ended before it even had the chance to truly begin. There was no future for little Robbie, no possibilities of who or what he would become later in life, no roads for him to choose from and no paths for him to follow. All of that was taken away from him by the blade of a knife and ten-year-old Sally McGowan.
Since her release many years ago Sally McGowan has been in witness protection. She is a child who killed, everyone knows her original name but she is also a ghost living with a new name and a new identity No-one knows who she is, what she looks like or where she is but…….there are whispers, like leaves rustling in a gentle breeze, a rumour that the notorious McGowan is living in Flintstead.
Joanna Critchley leaves behind the hustle and bustle of London and big city life and along with Alfie, her young son moves back to Flintstead-on-Sea. Her mother lives there and it is the place where Joanne, herself, grew up. In London, Alfie was the victim of bullying and a fresh start in Flintstead, the peaceful and quiet coastal town where her Mum lives and where nothing much ever happens seems like the ideal solution.
For Joanne, moving back has been a big change, swapping the bright lights for the sedate surroundings of Flintstead and she is still adapting. Apart from joining the local book club she hasn’t thrown herself into the community, small-town life or tried to make friends with any of the other parents at Alfie’s school.
At the school gates, Joanna joins in a conversation with the other Mum’s and one of the topics they are gossiping over is the rumour that has surfaced about McGowan. Little knowing the consequences and trying to mingle more with the others and be accepted, Joanna mentions the rumour at the next book club meeting.
The rumour soon spirals out of control, spreading throughout Flintstead and taking on a life of its own. There are lots of women in the community of an age who fit the bill to potentially be Sally McGowan. A rumour doesn’t care if it is true or false, fact or fiction or if the people accused and vilified along the way really are the suspected person or not. When a rumour starts lives that have been built can fall apart, tumble like a house of cards.
Gossip is poisonous, it can and will hurt innocent people as it takes hold, seeping into the fabric of a community and infecting it. The Rumour does a stellar job of making you think about the consequences of spreading rumours, of paying to much heed to them and of how they can impact innocent lives.
Kara includes a few brief interludes from Sally McGowan that give a glimpse into her mind and add darkness to the story unfolding during The Rumour. There are also small snippets of online articles that Joanne reads in relation to McGowan and the Harris family that add to the overall picture. Aiding in showing the lasting impact and the lingering pain that Robbie’s death has had on the poor Harris family.
The Rumour is a well-written and gripping nifty little read that really gets under your skin. There’s a tension to the story that slowly builds throughout before reaching palpable levels with the frantic and chilling climax. There’s a sense of unease to the story but rather than being theatrical or over sensationalised the story itself is quietly dramatic.
Kara keeps you guessing and there are many feints along the way before the reveal about Sally McGowan’s true identity takes place. After the revelation and when the truth starts to come out, for the last sixty pages of the book my eyes were glued to the pages. I hadn’t a clue and I was gobsmacked when the veil was lifted, open-mouthed and it was a bona fide ‘oh shit‘ moment that I did not see that coming!
At just over 300 pages The Rumour is a taut thriller with an insidious undercurrent running through its pages.
Purchase The Rumour.
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