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 hadn’t pegged this novel as a debut at all, there’s definitely no teething stage for this little baby. Rumours are a bit like wildfire – or the corona virus at the moment – it all starts with a casual remark, something small someone says, and then it gets repeated in a group of people and before you know it everybody in the whole damn town catches whiff of it and is convinced of it being a hard truth. It felt frighteningly real and easy how all of this started and got out of hand so quickly without really meaning to. The rumour lead its own life and before I fully well knew, people were on a crusade to find out Sally McGowan’s new identity in this peaceful little town by the sea, even when it’s not even sure she came to live there at all.
Fair’s fair, I was very curious to find out who it was as well and the novel was able to really put the flame under it. There are quite a few suspects to choose from but all respectible women, most of them have children so nobody you would ever think able to commit such a crime. I did have someone in mind though really early in the novel, and this person only came into view well over half of the novel so I became even more convinced I was on the right track, but then other names propped up trying to muddle with my conviction, all of them acting suspiciously in one way or another. I wasn’t placing any bets anymore and a good thing I didn’t. It’s not often a novel can still surprise me like this but the surprise was complete, a real shocker and the real Sally was one of the few people I hadn’t actually suspected at all!
The novel is a great reminder of the dangers of spreading whispered thoughts, of how easily you can accuse someone and how everyone just assumes it is the truth right away, it is frightening and unfair for that person if it’s not true, the damage it can do… We all know it but still women can’t seem not to tell on each other and gossip, but maybe this novel can make you think twice in the future. Luckily in my job discretion is one of the characteristics you really need to have, I do hear and see things that I certainly won’t share with anyone, and I’m the same as a person, so I’m no Jo. My life is safe, for now :-).
The Rumour was a brilliant debut, fast-paced with plenty of intrigue and a very interesting topic too to read about. Do child killers deserve a second chance or do they need to be hunted down for the rest of their life, are we entitled to know where they live at all times? I think you’ll come to the same conclusion as me after you read it, because how could you not? How do they look back and how do they live their lives after the crime in the protection program? I found it quite enthralling to get some insight there from a person living this kind of life, even if it was fictional. I read another novel about the same thing in the past but this one was ten times better for me. I heard through the grapevine myself at the time of publication that this one was a gripping novel full of red herrings and I’m really happy that I can say that ‘they’ were right, it was such a wonderful novel that I already look forward to reading her next one. Fully approved!
I received a proof copy of this novel from a lovely blog friend. This is my honest opinion.