The Rumor

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

A rumor can do all sorts of damage - sometimes just to a single person and sometimes it rockets through a town and like a brush fire destroys all in its wake. Sally Mcgowan killed a little boy when she herself was only a child. She went to jail and was eventually put into witness protection. The rumor begins that Sally Mcgowen may be living in Flintstead Michigan, where Joanna Critchley  lives with her son Alfie and her Mom living in a home nearby. Jo tells someone else about this possibility, and then she has to repeat it again at her book club and then Alfie's father wants to look more into this so he can write a book about it. Jo finds herself trying to figure out who Sally is. Then some things happen that begin to scare Jo, and things unravel from there until the book concludes with a shocking end. 

This book was a super slow read for me. I could not get into the story, and the characters felt flat. The story also felt like it had holes all over the place, and to the end, this reader did not feel like those holes were adequately filled. About 80% through the book it finally grabbed me and I was interested in reading it through to the end. Overall though, this was a disappointing read for this particular reader. The idea for the book was a good one though, I just wish it had been better executed.
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A short psychological thriller. Murder, family, friends, small town.. I felt the parts of the ending were too predictable. But then there was a twist at the very end..
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A fun and suspenseful read! With a Big Little Lies type of vibe, this story kept me guessing until the very last page. I love small towns with big secrets and had high hopes for this book; and I wasn’t disappointed. Though there were times I felt the story got buried in mundane details, the plot and the twists more than made up for it.
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The Rumor, written by Lesley Kara, just was not a book that I was able to get into. Generally, I love thrillers, I love the mystery and this book should have had everything I wanted.
It was well written, but there was something missing in the story that made me want to keep reading. Getting through this novel was a bit of a chore.
Could be that, while the idea of a rumor kicking this all off sounded interesting, the level that it is brushed off when first introduced just... made the rest of the novel end up feeling forced?
Looking for a thriller? REALLY want to read something that feels like All the Missing Girls? Maybe this can be that for you. The plot didn't push, and the characters just didn't propel the story forward.
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The Rumor is a novel of psychological suspense that examines the role rumors play in today's society. It has a pretty strong moral message, but I never felt that the author was preaching. Instead, the situations in which the characters find themselves deftly tackle some of the most important questions of our time, handling things like honesty, fidelity, and trust with much grace and insight.

Single mother Joanna Critchley has just moved to a small seaside town with her young son Alfie. She's hoping to give the boy a fresh start after some rather nasty bullying he experienced in London, and she thinks living near her mother in a quieter place might do him some good. For the most part, she's right. Alfie settles in well, seeming to make friends with some of his classmates, but Joanna herself is struggling to adjust to her new surroundings. She doesn't have much in common with the other mothers she encounters on a daily basis, and she hopes her own social awkwardness won't rub off on Alfie.

One afternoon while she's waiting for Alfie to come out of school, she strikes up a conversation with a group of women who are also waiting to collect their children. Hoping to impress them with her knowledge, Joanna repeats a rumor she recently heard in her neighborhood. Someone in town isn't who she seems to be. In fact, this person was sent to prison for murdering a child many years ago, and is now living under an assumed name in an attempt to escape her past. The women are shocked by what Joanna tells them, and it's not long before the news has spread throughout the community, inciting a rash of fear-based violence as everyone tries to figure out who the killer really is.

Joanna never wanted to ruin the life of an innocent person, but it soon becomes clear that the town's residents will not rest until the truth is uncovered once and for all, and Joanna finds herself torn between her desire to be accepted by the community as a whole and her strong belief that distancing herself from the storm of gossip is the safest option for herself and her son. Unfortunately, avoiding trouble might not be an option for Joanna, especially once she begins to suspect that the mysterious killer might have ties to her own past.

The novel moves quickly, making this a book you could easily devour in just a couple of sittings. The plot itself is pretty straight forward, especially during the first half, but that doesn't make it the least bit boring or predictable. There are a couple of big twists toward the end that I actually found quite surprising.

The cast of characters is on the large side, and I'm not sure every character really needed to be included. I sometimes found it difficult to keep them all straight in my head, especially as many of them only show up a couple of times. The main characters are all very well-developed though, making it easy for me to relate to them and their various struggles. A smaller-sized cast of supporting characters would definitely have been easier for me to wrap my head around though.

This is the author's début novel, so I'm willing to look past its few flaws. It's a book I enjoyed reading, and I'll be keeping an eye out for more of Ms. Kara's work in the future.

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4 solid stars

Whenever I start a new thriller, I am always prepared to get sucked in and to hate it. I have a deep love for them, but they always leave me disappointed. But “The Rumor,” was impossible to hate. I couldn’t put it down!

“The Rumor,” told a brilliant story about Joanna, a mother who has moved herself and her son to a small seaside town to live closer to her mother. Trying to fit in, Joanna spreads the rumor of a notorious killer lives in their small town under an alias. With everyone suspicious, Joanna becomes obsessed with the case, but someone doesn’t want the truth to come out. When the truth comes out, it's devastating for everyone.

Can I just say WHAT A DAMN ENDING! I am still reeling from how epic it was. This book is one of the best darn thrillers I have read. Seriously, I don’t say that often but this book was just too good. The characters were interesting, Joanna really was my favorite. Her need for the truth was so exciting to witness. But the plot is overall the best thing about this book. I mean secret killer living in a small town? Who wouldn’t love a plot like that? But then toss in all the twists and turns, and you got a brilliant book. 

Lesley Kara knocked it out of the park with this book and I am excited to see what else she writes! If you enjoy thrillers that are impossible to put down. Then pick this one up.

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
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In a small coastal town at the school pick up line another mom passes a bit of gossip that she has heard, a rumor that Sally McGowan a child killer is living in this quaint town under a new identity.  Joanna hears tidbit of gossip and casually shares it with new book club so she will fit in.  As they rumor takes on speed a local shopkeeper is targeted because she has the same initials as Sally McGowan.  As the rumor spreads Jo starts suspecting that Sally is targeting her for spreading it to book club.  Her son is targeted in a Halloween class picture, and Sally's new twitter account starts following Jo. She seems to stop trusting the people around her and her mom is suddenly getting sick. The Rumor will keep you on your toes and a has a surprise plot twist.
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Just goes to show how much damage a rumor can cause. Joanna casually mentions that a person who killed a child many years previously, has moved into their small town. Suspicion starts and every friend seems to be 'the one'. Joanna belongs to a book club and some members start taking turns at child care, but who can Joanna trust with her own child. As the rumor spreads, one local person is targeted and the locals seem to gang up and act very nastily towards her. Then new unexpected information surfaces.
A good story with a twist at the end.
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Joanna has moved back to her seaside community with her six year-old son, Alfie. As they settle back in, a rumor has the ability to derail her new life...
This novel took me quite a bit to really sink into, but once I did, it became hard to put down and kept me guessing to the end.
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This book was a very intriguing read. I think I may have mentioned before my fascination with suburban dramas. The Rumor is a great book is you like that genre as well. 

Joanna has sacrificed a lot in her life. Most recently a move back home in hopes of helping her son. A move that also brings her closer to her mother and possibly her son's father as well. 

What starts off as a simple shift of focus quickly spirals out of control. Putting Joanna in the middle of a potentially dangerous situation. A situation where she doesn't know who she can trust and what is the truth. 

Twist and turns galore, The Rumor will have you thinking twice about what you say next.
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Joanna Critchley hears, and repeats, a rumor that a child killer has moved to her small town. Despite the fact that the killer was convicted of manslaughter 30 years ago and she was only 10 at the time of the crime, the citizens of the town get out their pitchforks and try to identify the monster in their midst. I never bought the fact that people would be so nosy and so exercised about this. Have they never heard of rehabilitation and second chances (or minding their own business)?  I also never for a second considered that this was taking place in the United States. Everything about the book screamed England, however a misguided decision by the author and publisher tried to convert this English thriller into an American one. It didn’t work, and when a reference to Iowa was suddenly thrown into the book it was really jarring. If you must read this, I think you’d probably be better off getting a British edition. 

Unfortunately, I thought the book was just ok and I can’t really think of a good reason to seek out the British edition. Joanna was too limp to be interesting and if she mentioned one more time that her son’s father was black I would have smacked her. There are a couple of twists at the end of the book. I didn’t see the first one, but then I wasn’t really very interested in identifying the killer. Once the killer was identified, the second twist was obvious. 

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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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!
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In 1969, a young girl was imprisoned for stabbing a playmate of hers to death.  After serving her time, she is released, assumed a new identity,  and is now rumored to be living in the seaside town of Flinstead.  The rumor spreads and takes on a life of its own.  

This psychological thriller with good character development is a very fast read.  The twists and red herrings keep you guessing

I liked this book, but there were two things that bothered me.  There seemed to be some geographical confusion about where it takes place.  Although it resembled a British story, the setting was definitely the US. The confusion over trying to guess where it was located distracted me a bit. Near the end of the book, it was revealed that it was set outside of Boston.  And, it turns out, that the original book was set in the UK.  I think I might have enjoyed the original as much or more than this retelling. The other thing that distracted me a bit was wondering why suddenly, years and years later, this rumor surfaces.  

Despite those distractions, I had difficulty putting this novel down and read it in three sittings.
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I received a free copy from NetGalley.  Rumors.  Do you tell them?  Do you listen to them?  Do you act on them?  Can you ever escape your past?  Should you?  And of course secrets, lots and lots of secrets. 
The twists at the end are fantastic.  Don't start this one at bedtime unless you plan to stay up finishing it.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for an ARC in exchange for my honest thoughts.

Overall, I found this to be a fast-paced, interesting read. The book centers around a rumor--seemingly nothing more than idle gossip--that a woman helps to spread, largely as she's searching for something to say to belong to a group of other mothers. Kara pretty much nails that awkward social situation where you don't really know people and you're searching for a way to connect. The rumor itself seems outlandish and very unlikely to be true--that a famous child-killer (in both senses: the murderer was a child herself when she killed a young boy) is now living in their community. As it turns out, it might not be so unlikely after all. 

This is a page-turner that I think will appeal well to readers of domestic noir and thrillers. My only complaint is that the climax scene seemed a little rushed and over the top. Otherwise, a solid read.
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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.
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Wow!  This book is really good!  I don't want to give anything away, so won't go into the plot, except to say how much I enjoyed the characters in this book, and the suspense which included several twists and turns.  I love a book that takes you along on this suspenseful journey to suddenly veer and drop you off the cliff at the end.  If you love a great suspense story, with an ending that you don't see coming, you will love this book!  (I was given a copy of the book from NetGalley for my honest review, but would have gladly purchased a copy!)
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A good psychological thriller.  It really shows you the power of gossip, especially shocking when the intent of the gossip is just trying to fit in a new small community.  A Mom protecting her son.  The story was a bit predictable, but with just enough questions on what the outcome will be, to keep you engaged.  Thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read an advance copy.
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This book is quite the mystery. It will keep you in suspense the whole way. It shows what a rumor that’s passed around can do. Don’t miss The Rumor.

#TheRumor
#NetGalley
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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.
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