The Rumor

The Rumor

by Lesley Kara


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“Keeps you guessing until the final page.”—Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train
“A rollercoaster ride to the very last sentence.”—Fiona Barton, author of The Widow 
“Everyone will be talking about The Rumor.”—Shari Lapena, author of The Couple Next Door

When a single mother hears a shocking rumor outside her son’s school, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another . . . and now there’s no going back.

Rumor has it that a notorious killer, who committed a brutal crime as a child, has been living a new life under an assumed identity in Joanna’s seaside town. So who is the criminal hidden in their midst? Suspicion falls on everyone.

As Joanna becomes obsessed with the case, her curiosity will expose her son and his father to the supposedly reformed murderer—who may be ready to kill again. She will learn how dangerous one rumor can become . . . and just how far she must go to protect those she loves. She is going to regret the day she ever said a word.

Praise for The Rumor
“A brilliant premise with a killer twist. The Rumor depicts the prejudices and secrets that simmer in a small seaside town to devastating effect.”—Colette McBeth, author of An Act of Silence

“This mystery has an unusual and resonant theme—how a single rumor can morph into a completely unmanageable, deadly force. . . . [There’s] psychological acuity throughout and [an] astonishing ending.”Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984819345
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/18/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 70,315
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

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 in London, and has worked as a lecturer and manager in further education. She has now relocated to the small town of Frinton-on-Sea on the North Essex coast. The Rumor is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt


It starts with a rumor. Whispers at the school gate.

I’m not really listening at first. I promised Dave I’d pick up the keys to the Maple Drive property and meet a client there. I don’t have time to stand around in a gossipy huddle with this group.

But then I catch sight of Debbie Barton’s face—the way her jaw’s just dropped—and my curiosity gets the better of me.

“Say that again,” she says. “I don’t believe it.”

I edge closer, as does little Ketifa’s mother, Fatima. Jake’s mother—is it Cathy?—looks from side to side before she speaks, milking her moment in the spotlight for all it’s worth.

“There’s a strong possibility that a famous child killer is living right here in Flinstead,” she says, pausing to let her words take effect. “Under a new identity, of course. She murdered a little boy when she was ten, back in the sixties. Stabbed him with a kitchen knife, right through his heart.”

There is a collective gasp. Fatima brings her hand to her chest.

“Sally McGowan,” Cathy says. “Google it when you get home.”

Sally McGowan. The name rings a bell. Probably from one of those Netflix documentaries I sometimes watch when I’ve nothing better to do. Kids Who Kill or Serial Killers I Have Known.

“Who told you this?” I ask.

Cathy takes a deep breath. “Let’s just say it’s someone who knows someone whose ex—husband used to be a cop. Well, this cop’s buddy heard him talk about her one time. She was released when she was a young woman, has been moving around since then by all accounts, trying to keep a low profile. Now she’s ended up here. It might not be true, but you know what they say, there’s no smoke without fire. And what better place to hide out than somewhere like Flinstead?”

Debbie sucks her teeth. “I think it’s disgusting that people like her get to start all over again. Where’s the justice in that?”

“You’d rather they were kept in prison their whole life?” I ask. “For a crime they committed when they were children?”

Debbie stares at me. “Adult crime, adult time, isn’t that what they say? And if they are released, don’t we have the right to know where they are?”

“What, so they can be mobbed by vigilantes?”

Now all three women are staring at me. I wish I’d kept my mouth shut, but sometimes I can’t help myself. I don’t even know why I’m listening to all this crap. I should know better.

Cathy sniffs. “It’s not fair that someone like that gets a second chance. What about the parents of the little boy who was murdered? They don’t get the luxury of starting a new life, do they?”

“Well, it probably isn’t true anyway,” Fatima says. “And if it is, there’s nothing we can do about it. It was years ago. I doubt she’s still dangerous.”

Lovely, sensible Fatima. I must suggest she drop by for coffee and a chat soon. Get to know her a little better. But not today. I’ll be late if I don’t get a move on.

“Thanks, Jo. I really appreciate you doing this on your day off.”

Dave hands me the keys and the freshly printed property listing for 24 Maple Drive, the new Pegton’s logo emblazoned at the top.

“It’s no problem,” I say. And it isn’t. There aren’t many employers as flexible as Dave Pegton. It’s been a godsend finding a job that fits in around Alfie’s school times, and so close to home as well.

Home. I’ve got Dave to thank for that, too. The tiny two—bedroom cottage he generously described as “in need of some TLC.” You’ve got to love the jargon. What it actually needs is intensive care, but seeing as it was the only place I could afford, I ended up putting in an offer on it. New house. New job. And all because I walked into the right realtor’s office at the right time. Serendipity, isn’t that what it’s called?

Dave walks back to his desk. “Good luck with Mrs. Marchant, by the way,” he says over his shoulder.

“Why? What’s up with her?”

Dave smirks. “You’ll find out soon enough,” and before I can quiz him further, the phone rings and he’s talking to a client.

Maple Drive is a mixture of 1920s and 1930s houses. Some of them are single—family, but most are two—family townhouses. It’s not the most expensive street in Flinstead—the area known as the Groves is where the seriously moneyed live—but it’s popular, especially the water end of it, which is where number 24 is situated. Dave has described it on the listing as having an “ocean view,” and it probably does if you open one of the bedroom windows, lean out, and crane your neck to the left. An ocean glimpse might be a better description, but it’s a nice—looking house. Well maintained. Established front garden. And even a glimpse of the water adds dollars to the value.

Susan Marchant opens the door before I’ve even rung the bell. A curt nod is all I get in response to my cheery good morning. I’m expecting her to step back and usher me in, but she just stands there as if I’m one of the “cold callers” listed on the sign above the bell. The ones who aren’t welcome.

“I was hoping to have a quick scoot around on my own first,” I say. “Just so I’m familiar with the layout.”

I always find it helps if you’re prepared for what you’re about to show someone. Not everyone tidies and cleans their house prior to showings. I’ve come across all kinds of strange and unsavory things before. Dirty underwear tossed all over the floor. A large brown turd coiled in a toilet bowl like a sleeping snake. Although from what I can see beyond Susan Marchant’s shoulder, that won’t be the case here. It’s clean to the point of being clinical, the rooms half empty. Looks like she’s moved most of her stuff into storage already.

“Why?” she says, her brows knitted together. “Don’t you have the floor plan on your listing?” There’s a coldness in her eyes and voice that throws me.

“Well, yes, but . . .”

“Too late anyway,” she says, squinting out at the street. “That must be Anne Wilson.”

I turn to see a blue BMW pull up. A woman in a pale—green raincoat and with two—tone hair—dark blond with coppery ends—climbs out of the passenger seat, raises her hand at me, and smiles. Thank God for smiley people. Now the driver has joined her. He’s tall and distinguished—looking. Silver—gray hair. I get the feeling he’d like to have opened the door for her if only she’d given him the chance. They’re walking up the driveway toward us holding hands, so either they’re one of those rare couples still very much in love after years of marriage, or this is a new relationship. I’d put money on the latter.

It’s one of the things I love about this job—meeting new people all the time. Trying to guess from the snippets they reveal about themselves what they’re really like. And viewing clients’ properties is absolutely the best part of what I do. Tash, who’s one of my oldest friends, says it’s because I’m a nosy parker. But that’s okay, because she’s exactly the same.

Once, when she and her boyfriend were on vacation, they pretended to be interested in buying an expensive penthouse apartment, just so they could have a look inside. I suppress a smile. They had to park their dilapidated old Volvo a couple of streets away so the realtor didn’t see them get out of it. I often think of that story when I’m meeting prospective buyers. You never really know if people are genuine.

Reading Group Guide

1. Lesley Kara depicts the paranoia, fear, and frenzy that seizes a community when a dark secret comes to light and how one piece of gossip can be unimaginably destructive. Jo spreads the rumor about Sally McGowan to ingratiate herself with the local moms; Michael buys into it to further his career. Is there any benefit to gossiping?

2. Do secrets take on more power the more they’re shared? What about when they’re bottled up? Are we responsible for all the information—true or false—that we play a part in spreading?

3. Flinstead is home to people of different classes, and so Jo feels a pressure to play into the local mommy antics to help make opportunities for Alfie. Discuss the ways in which we perform and offer things up for the benefit of our children.

4. Jo struggles with having an unconventional family in a homogeneous town. Discuss a time when you felt like an outsider.

5. On page 208, Liz says, “There’s darkness in everyone’s soul . . . We’re all of us capable of evil thoughts and evil acts under certain circumstances.” Do you agree with her?

6. The Rumor is based on the British child killer Mary Bell, who strangled two toddlers and has lived under a series of pseudonyms since her release from prison. In one of the interludes written from Sally’s perspective, she mentions that living in secret under witness protection is a kind of hell. Do you think that living in constant vigilance with a secret that slowly devours you is a fitting punishment for Sally? Do you think she deserved to be punished more explicitly?

7. Marie goes after Alfie because she feels like Sally was never properly punished for killing Robbie. Do you agree with Marie’s eye for an eye mentality? What are the limits to the culpability of children?

8. Do you think Sally did the right thing not telling Jo who she really was? Did the italicized sections written in her voice help you to try and understand her?

9. If you were Jo, would you want to know the truth? Why or why not?

Customer Reviews

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The Rumor 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Lesley Kara’s debut novel "The Rumor" was an exciting read. Thank you to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for the advanced digital copy. This was completely captivating, chilling, twisted tell. A gripping story full suspense, paranoia and accusations. The storyline shows how spreading a rumor can have dangerously destructive effect in a small town. This one will keep you intrigued until the very end. A good psychological thriller to add to your reading list. Synopsis: Rumor has it that a notorious killer, who committed a brutal crime as a child, has been living a new life under an assumed identity in Joanna’s seaside town. So who is the criminal hidden in their midst? Suspicion falls on everyone. As Joanna becomes obsessed with the case, her curiosity will expose her son and his father to the supposedly reformed murderer—who may be ready to kill again. She will learn how dangerous one rumor can become and just how far she must go to protect those she loves. She is going to regret the day she ever said a word.
412037RH 7 days ago
I love the way this authour writes. This was a good story how one little comment, rumour, can get out of hand a ruin someone's life. This is about a woman, Joanna, and her son, Alfie, move back to her hometown. Her mother lives there and Joanna is trying to make friends. She hears a rumour and decides to share it. Will it be a good thing or not? At times the story did drag but I did enjoy it and would recommend it.
Witchy1 9 days ago
A little harmless rumor, that's all it was. But oh, what an evil act we can start with such a little hint! Twists and turns everywhere in this gem of a book. Thank you to NetGalley for this peek at a stunner of a book.
CapriciousNiteOwl 13 days ago
“The Rumor” ended up being just an average read for me. I have to admit that I was struggling to get into the story, and I was just unable to focus on the plot. It is really hard for me to pin point why this book did not keep my interest as much as I thought it would based on the synopsis. Maybe because I just didn’t care for any of the characters, or maybe there was just too many of them, and only just few were important to the story. While reading this book I read two other novels in between, just because I could not stick with the story. There was one thing that I really liked about “The Rumor”: it was thought provoking at times. The author talks about the effects the gossip has on a small town community, and how just a small, innocent rumor can blow up into something so big, that it can destroy lives and reputations of people involved. The main character, Joanna, not only uses gossip to get herself invited into the “popular” moms’ circle, but she also uses it to re-direct any negative or unwanted attention. In the end, what she did backfires, and instead of finding herself in a more positive situation she brings a lot of negative and undesirable attention to her family. I can see why this book has a lot of 4 and 5 stars reviews, it is a quick, twisty, psychological thriller, that keeps you guessing up to the end, but this story just did not click with me. Thank you NetGalley, Ballantine Books, and the author, Lesley Kara, for giving me an opportunity to read an ARC of this story in exchange for my honest opinion.
Anonymous 18 days ago
This book felt slightly longer than it needed to be, but man oh man, was it suspenseful! The twist at the end was completely unexpected, and it was a quick read -- great for summer!
RobinLovesReading 21 days ago
Joanna wants to be included. When she hears a rumor, then repeats it, she is sure this will give her an in. What Joanna doesn't realize, however, is that she has unleashed something she can never turn back from. The actual rumor is that a woman who killed when she was a child, is living under a new identity right under their noses. So, everyone wonders who this supposed killer is. Everyone seems rather suspicious. What's more is that just by expounding this rumor Joanna and her young son are now in the path of a psychopath. Regret will not do Joanna a bit of good. After the rumor, when Joanna begins getting threatening notes, supposedly from the killer of many years ago, she no longer feels secure. Instead, she must now focus on keeping herself and her loved ones safe. Joanna is not alone with things, fortunately for her, her partner, and her son's father, Michael, is a journalist who is not leaving any stone unturned. This certainly raises the intensity of everything going on. Who would have ever thought that a rumor could lead to so much chaos and danger? What of the woman, acquitted of the murder, trying to lead a quiet life? Well, nothing is quiet for anyone any longer. The twists and turns in this book will keep you both guessing and on the edge of your seat. This debut book is of the highest caliber and I definitely look forward to reading much more by her. Many thanks to Ballantine Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
PauletteB 23 days ago
First of all, I'd like to thank Netgalley and Random House-Ballantine Publishers for giving me an opportunity to read and give my honest review. I had great difficulty maintaining interest in this book for several reasons. I found myself feeling irritated with most of the characters. The main character, Joanna, was in a constant state of of panic about everything. I didn't care that Michael was black, but she couldn't seem to get over it. Her mothering skills were awful, and she continued to make decisions that caused her son to have more difficulty than necessary. I almost dreaded what she would do next. It was hard to keep track of the various women in town. When the "big reveal" is disclosed, I felt angry that it seemed to come out of nowhere, and hadn't even been hinted at previously. Nor did it make sense. I finally stopped reading at page 226 of 261 because I didn't care what happened after that.
Anonymous 24 days ago
Joanna (Jo) Critchley has moved back to her hometown of Flinstead on the water. Her mother still lives there and is happy she is back. Jo is a single mother to her young son, Alfie. When Jo became pregnant, she and Michael decided not to get married but remain good friends and he is a great Dad to Alfie. Jo moved back to Finstead because Alfie was being bullied. Michael is black and Jo is not sure if the bullying was because Alfie is interracial. Jo works for Pegton Realty and her boss is very understanding if she needs to be off to take care of Michael. When Jo goes to pickup Alfie after school one day, she overhears some gossip among some of the mothers. Supposedly, a woman named Sally McGowan has just moved into the neighborhood. When Sally was 10, she stabbed a little boy to death. People are nervous and know that while she has served time in jail, they can’t help but be fearful of her. At her book club later that day, Jo repeats some of this gossip and then feels bad about spreading the rumor. One day, Jo walks by a shop because she had been told that the shopkeeper might be Sally McGowan but using another name. Shortly after, the woman has some cruel pranks played on her. When she tells Michael about this, as a freelance writer, he decides he wants to interview the woman and write a book about her, but she is not agreeable. Soon Jo starts to receive some frightening messages and thinks that she has gotten into something dangerous and needs to be careful. The ending truly caught me unaware and I was surprised to learn who Sally McGowan really is. I guess this is also supposed to be a lesson to all of us to not spread rumors. An interesting book and I’m sure a lot of thriller readers will enjoy it. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Anonymous 26 days ago
I received an ARC copy from Ballentine Books, thank you. I really enjoyed The Rumor but I did think for awhile it was set in England because of some of the references. Eventually found it was the US. Some words are used differently in the US and I found that interesting. It was a twisty turney story and I enjoyed very much and it was close to the end before I started suspecting the killer. A rumor can sure take on a life of it's own and mushroom out of control. A good book that you should read!
Amanda_Dickens 26 days ago
I really enjoyed this thriller. Well, kind of. While the pacing at times would drag, I was still intrigued from beginning to end. The characters were well developed. The plot was well thought out and delivered. The atmosphere and writing were really weird though. I could not tell were it was supposed to be set. It would mentioned being in the US but it used a lot of UK terms. After reading I found out that the author is from the UK and the book was originally set in the UK but rewritten with a US setting for the US release. I found this to be very distracting. In my opinion it should have been left alone or edited more. The story is really creepy having the main character having a son near the same age as the one killed. However, this hate towards a person that committed a crime so long ago felt displaced and a bit too much. I understand the mob mentality but this lady was young when she committed the crime and was released. It was a one time thing. Not a serial killer. This thought was constantly popping up and distracting me from the story. I think I would have. liked it more if that was more subtle. More like constant whispers around town and not attacks on the persons business. All in all, I really liked the ending and for that reason I am giving it a 4 instead of a 3.
cindyrnet 27 days ago
This is touted as a read similar to Girl on The Train.......partly accurate, I would say. Story unfolds with a woman moving back to a small town with her young son. And then becoming involved, intrigued, confused about a child killer from a number of years ago. It is an easy read in that it does not jump around to much, but is also a read wherein the author pulls more from what she is thinking than what she is writing, leaving the reader wondering WhY the character is feeling the way she is. Not a bad book, but I had it figured out pretty early on.
JM Free Kicks Fiction 27 days ago
This was a pretty decent psychological thriller. I liked that the author threw enough red herrings into the story that I found myself second-guessing what I thought I knew. I did find parts to be a little implausible (beyond the usual suspension of disbelief), and it seemed to wrap up too neatly (although the jolt at the end was a great touch!) I also am getting tired of authors feeling like they need to throw insulting political references in when they have absolutely no bearing on the plot. If it fits a character politically, it makes sense. But having two or three references for no reason seems like pandering, and it takes me out of the book – always has, always will. Thank you to Ballentine Books/Random House (via NetGalley) for a complimentary pre-release digital ARC of this book.
Anonymous 28 days ago
What would you do if you heard a rumor that a child killer had a new identity and was living in your town? Would you spread the rumor? Joanna lives in a quiet seaside town and can't seem to ignore this rumor. Finding the identity of the killer becomes an obsession...everyone is a suspect. It isn't until the very end of the book that the killer's shocking identity is revealed and Joanna's life is forever changed.
Jolie 29 days ago
I am guilty of judging a book by its blurb. When I read the blurb, I thought that it was going to be a run of the mill suspense/thriller/mystery. I thought that I would be able to figure out who the killer was by the middle of the book. Yeah, well, that didn’t happen. I was taken by surprise by The Rumor , and I loved it. The murderer in The Rumor is based on a real crime. Mary Bell killed a four-year-old and a three-year-old in 1968. The author had Sally follow Mary’s path in life. I was chilled reading those parts of The Rumor. The question that burned in my mind as I was reading was, “What can drive a ten-year-old to kill?“ The plotline in The Rumor was fast paced. There were no slow interludes. Everything that occurred in the book, happened within a few weeks of Joanna repeating the rumor. There was no lag, and there were no dropped or missing storylines. Joanna became a hot mess during the book. The minute she repeated that rumor, she was on a fast track to collide with the killer. There were times where I wanted to shake her, though. Mainly with her personal life. I did feel bad for her at the end of the book. What she learned shocked me as much as it shocked her. I was surprised at who the child killer was. When it was revealed, my mouth dropped open, and I said, out loud, “No effing way.” I was not expecting it to be that person. The author did a fantastic job of throwing out red herrings and pointing fingers at various people in the book. I loved it!! The end of The Rumor was intense. Everything was revealed in a showdown that I can only describe as epic. I couldn’t put the book down because I needed to know what was going to happen. What chilled me was the last chapter. I got chills up and down my spine when I read it.
rlhendrick 29 days ago
Rumors can kill. Joanna, a single mother, hears a rumor from one of the other moms and falls into the trap of gossip. She perpetuates the rumor that a past childhood killer has moved into their community. Everyone is on edge and afraid of who it is and if they are still a danger to children. People are accused and lives are changed forever. But who is the killer and where is she? Is the community safe? Joanna is obsessed with finding out who and where this woman is. Sometimes you don't know the lives of the people close to you. This is a terrific read and will keep you guessing until the last page. Thank you NetGalley for an ARC of this book.
LawladyCase 3 months ago
Brilliant! Flinstead is a small town. The moms at school hear a rumor that Sally McGowan was living in their town under an assumed name. Sally McGowan killed a young boy when she was ten years old. After serving her time, Sally disappeared. Joanna Critchley repeats the rumor at book club. The rumor spreads and soon the town is searching for Sally, accusing anyone they think may be her under an assumed name. They do not want her in their town. Chaos erupts. Jo and her partner, Michael, look for Sally in earnest. The Rumor is a fast-past ride with several twists and an explosive ending. Jo is a normal single parent (although Michael is definitely in the picture). She feels she must find if Sally McGowen is living in Flinstead. Responsibility for her part in all that is happening and could happen weighs at her. Jo doggedly pursues each bit of information, whether true or a red herring. I cannot express how much I enjoyed this book. I could not stop reading and ended up finishing it in one setting. I never expected the ending and was blown away. I, literally, had no clue. I will definitely read every book written by this author! I received an ARC from Random House Publishing - Ballentine Books through NetGalley in
Anonymous 3 months ago
The rumor is set in a small coastal town and centers around a group of Moms. Very reminiscent of Big Little Lies. A rumor is started about a former child killer now living in their town and the ladies all resort to gossip to try to figure out who the killer is. This book kept me guessing until nearly the end and didn’t go the way I guessed. I felt like there was too many characters introduced, with many not being relevant to the story. Nevertheless, I would recommend this book. I was provided an advanced copy for Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.
CynB 3 months ago
The Rumor, by Lesley Kara, is a twisty thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed and could not put down. I finished it in less than a day. It is a story intended to make a mother‘s (or grandmother’s) heart race. This is not my usual genre, and I definitely was surprised by the final resolution. The story stands as a warning to be careful what you say and to whom you say it. Almost all of the characters are likeable and sympathetic, which makes it particularly troubling to identify the culprit, and upsetting when you finally do know. The setting, a seaside village is exceptionally appealing. Unfortunately, location and geography are problematic. This book was originally written for a British audience and “reworked” for American readers, for reasons that completely elude me. Unfortunately, the tweaking was inartful and inconsistent so that it was never really clear where the characters were. I did not let it get in the way of the story, and I very much hope other readers will do the same. I highly recommend this engrossing mystery/thriller! Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books of Random House Publishing for the opportunity to read an electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.
SammyReadsBooks 3 months ago
Rumors can kill… The Rumor is Lesley Kara’s debut novel and tells the story about Jo, a single mother who moves back to her hometown, a small, coastal town in New England. Trying to make friends with the other school moms to help her son to be included and make friends, Jo decides to spread a rumor she heard about a convicted child murdered living in their town under a new name. The story unfolds, but who is this mysterious child killer? With all the crazy characters in the town it could be anyone, maybe even someone Jo knows. With the help of her son’s father, a freelance journalist, Jo tries to figure out who it is, but what she’s looking for might be putting her son in danger. Is listening to a rumor really worth it? This to me was a very easy read. I was intrigued from the beginning and needed to know who this child killer really was? Was it Liz, the eccentric head of the book club? Kay, the kind, older neighbor? Karen, the sort of friend? Karen’s mother, who didn’t seem to like Jo at all? Susan, the woman whose house Jo was selling? Or maybe it was one of the other characters in this town? There were a lot of characters to keep track of in this book and honestly it could have been any of them. That was one of my only issues with this book – the amount of characters. Sometimes I had a hard time keeping track of who was who. I think the author could have had a few key characters and not so many school moms, and the story still would have worked. One thing that impressed me, what that I didn’t figure out who the killer actually was. I was surprised when it hit me at the same time it hit Jo. The other most shocking part of the book is the last sentence, but I won’t get that away! Thank you NetGalley and Ballantine Books for and advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
Caroldaz 3 months ago
Joanna is a young single mother, who recently moved to the area. In an effort to fit in with the other mothers, she casually passes on a comment she heard, about a child killer, released from prison, who might be living in their town. Of course the rumor grows, some people think they know who it is. Joanna fears that she will be targeted as the source of the rumor. An interesting and twisty read. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Kaceeey 3 months ago
3.75* A little harmless gossip among the moms waiting at the school drop-off. Did you hear? Rumor is, there’s a child killer now released from prison living in their seaside town. Could that be true? If so, the obvious next question is, are their children safe from this predator? This particular feed of gossip peaks the interest of one of the mom in particular, Joanna. Curious, later that night she googles the story. Gripped with fear, she realizes she may have just met this person! Maybe she needs to warn everyone...maybe it’s not just a rumor anymore! Lesley Kara writes an intriguing and suspenseful thriller that I flew through in just a few sittings. Though I guessed most of the twists fairly early, I still enjoyed throughout. Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine and Lesley Kara for an ARC to read and review.
Nanna51 3 months ago
The theme of this book is trying to belong and the repercussions that come from that attempt. Joanna Critchley has just moved into the small seaside town of Flinstead and really wants to fit into the local clique of moms. In her attempt to do so, she repeats the rumor that a woman who killed a child years ago is now living in their small community. Thus begins the fast-paced psychological thriller, with Joanna determined to find out who this woman is and a killer now set loose on her family. Although the chapters were short which made the book easy to read, it just did not hold my attention as I thought it would. The theme was a good one, but the way the plot developed was unbelievable and too dramatic too quickly. There were so many characters introduced and then not developed at all, so it became a challenge to remember them all. Although I was encouraged to continue to read just to find out who the real child killer was, I did not really enjoy the book. I made myself finish it so I could discover this identity, but the book itself did not keep my interest. There was too much unbelievable action, too many characters and just to much in general. This would have made a good short story but to make it a novel did not work for me. Too long, too dragged out, too boring at times. I do recommend this for fans of psychological thrillers, but you need to go into the book realizing that it should have been a short story, or at best, a novella. Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
Angbaum 3 months ago
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Ballantine for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased opinion. Joanna Critchley has just moved, and is eager to make new friends. Overhearing a rumor that a woman who killed a child when she herself was just a child may well be living in her new town, she gossips to the other mothers at the school to fit in. It works. The women are quite interested in this tidbit, and invite Joanna to their book club and babysitting group. Soon, Joanna and the women begin to suspect other women in the town. When Joanna begins receiving threatening messages regarding her son Alfie, she knows she must put a stop to these rumors by finding out once and for all who the suspected child killer is. But her search for the truth leads her down a very dark and dangerous path, one that could get her and her loved ones killed. This was a quick read, and very engrossing. It definitely kept me guessing.
ADonovan 3 months ago
Highly intriguing. It felt like every chapter, I changed my mind about who the criminal might be. The book showed the power of rumors and suspicion, and how you can twist things that happen to make them fit what you want to believe. Very suspenseful, even though the main crime was committed decades ago.
bookluvr35SL 3 months ago
Flinstead is a small & quiet coastal town....the perfect place to raise a family. Jo moves there with her son Alfie, to be close to her mom. One day outside the elementary school, one of the moms mentions a rumor that a child murderer is living in the town under an assumed name. Suddenly, in Jo's mind everyone becomes suspect. When veiled threats to stop the rumor get aimed at Jo, she becomes desperate to keep her son and herself safe. This book was SO good. I admit I had suspected pretty much everyone by the time I finished the book. Without giving out any spoilers, I will say that it ended with a shocker. I highly recommend it!