BOOK REVIEW: LESLEY KARA – THE RUMOUR

*Just a gentle note, this review will contain small spoilers you may want to avoid*

This has been on my radar for months and I knew I had to grab a copy straight away! There are a lot of things that intrigued me with this book. The cover is great and gripping, the title is interesting but doesn’t give too much away and the plot sounds brilliant and how can I resist? Well, I read this in two days straight. It’s that good. Seriously, it’s bloody brilliant. So, what’s it about exactly? Here’s the blurb:

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?

This is Lesley Kara’s first novel and it doesn’t show at all. The writing is just pitch perfect.  The way she writes her characters, the way she establishes the world around them is marvellous. The writing is so clever, full of layers and twists and turns. The main plot of the book is that there is a rumour that a child killer is living in the town of Flinstead with a new identity and the rumour seeps through the town and pointing suspicion to friends and neighbours. All because of Joanna, mostly. It starts off as an innocent rumour into something much more…

I think this is a really interesting premise for a novel: a child killer living in a town with a new identity. It’s something that I don’t think I’ve read before in a novel, so it’s nice to see there is a twist and a new take on the thriller/mystery genre. I also thought the use of the ‘rumour’ really interesting too. How something we can just hear randomly can shape into something much more. What I also loved in this book is the chapters are nice and short which is exactly what this sort of book needs – a quick and sharp pace which keeps you turning the page after page. Kara writes this brilliantly, especially in such a close-knit community like in Flinstead. This book reminded me of Broadchurch (a small seaside town) with a mix of Big Little Lies (the mother’s at the school gates, the babysitting circle, etc) and I loved it. I think after the success of something like Big Little Lies, we are craving that same level of drama and suspense and this book delivers that and more.

Rumours are like seeds, scattered on the wind. There’s no telling where they’ll land, but land they will. Settling in cracks and crevices, the roots take hold. The seeds sprout. It doesn’t matter if they’re true or false. The more times they’re spoken, the faster and stronger they grow. Like beanstalks, waving in the air.

The character of Joanna is brilliantly written. It took me a while to get used to her but once I did, I thought she was a great character. Flawed, yes, but aren’t all the great characters flawed? Through Joanna’s eyes, we see the community around her. The circle of mothers at the school gates with their schedules and charts with Joanna looking in on the outside. And then there’s everyone else too in the town with their businesses and shops. Community is a big theme that runs throughout the novel and it’s interesting to read the way it’s explored. I loved reading Joanna’s relationship with Michael, too. But I really loved her relationship with Alfie. Alfie was one of my favourite characters, I thought he was brilliant and loved reading Joanna’s bond with her son. There were a lot of other interesting characters in the novel, especially those that are red herrings and creates a lot of mystery and suspicion in the book.

One of Kara’s strengths for me was the way she wrote about the setting and the weather. It was so brilliant, even almost gothic at times I thought, and it was a brilliant way of creating the tense and mysterious atmosphere in the story. It really reminded me of Big Little Lies and so cinematic that it is just screaming to be adapted to television. Pronto.

I really loved this book. It’s depth, it’s rich tapestry of plot, characters and tension throughout. I loved the theme of community being played throughout, especially in such a small town and the high levels of suspicion and tension played nicely. I read a lot of thrillers/mysteries and I don’t think I’ve read an ending that’s so satisfying as this one. It’s a brilliant ending that doesn’t leave any open-endings or loads of room for interpretation. It’s brilliant, clever, dark, witty, gripping and unputdownable. I think this will be a great book for a book club as there is so much to discuss. Oh, and it will keep you guessing until the very end. I’m still taking it all in. The rumour’s are true about this book – it’s bloody brilliant and not one to be missed.

Have you read The Rumour? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you,

Corey.

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