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The Rumour - review

We all talk, whether in person, online or even to random strangers, Oh, that is online!

Lesley has crafted a sensational Rumour, it whispers on the wind around a tiny town that feels so ordinary, it reminds me of the film Halloween as it goes...

Actually, there is a feel of that as the book is set at Halloween, but in reality this is more a Midwich maybe...

Things aren't as they seem, and yet, we seem to know everything and everyone, we know who we are for instance?

Or do we?

This book is so clever, it has twists galore, it starts ever so matter of fact, ever so modern, ever so real...and stays that way. But adds such a feeling of tension and doubt and raw terror as pages turn that you do wonder if it is a horror so try unfolding, oh, it is.... but no slasher one. There is virtually no violence or even much swearing, there is some sex, but that is so normal...

We join a young mum, Jo and her son Alfie in their new home just an hour from London on the estuary of the Thames in North Essex and we see pretty much what we all see everyday, gossip, coffee, texts, stress of child care and even a book club.

So, why is this book so good? Trust me, it is... Because as you read you speed up, you turn pages, you forget about your life, you only care about the lives and secrets and pasts and you want to guess, who is telling the truth, who is the hidden character, what happened, why is it suddenly coming out now, all because of an idle rumour at the school gate.
One fuelled by a few glasses of Prosecco and a glimpse at Sartre and Frankenstein and de Botton, all very middle class and not very malevolent, but it is malevolent and ever so. Subtle at first, little twitches, then it frays and swirls around your mind, you can't sleep, you doubt yourself and others, you make things up to fit how you think and always, always you know deep down, you've heard or seen something before, we all have deja vu, it's a reality, but when it's told to us in such a clever way, it feels like it's a dream, not real, we doubt our own eyes and yet, we have the secrets in front of us, because there are always so few people involved, really involved... 

Lesley has weaved a magic here, with hints and flourishes of what must be going on, we read it, we guess, but I doubt we know... I didn't, I guessed several times, I literally gasped... I felt so much as I read the last few chapters, they did seem to be so much we'd seen as we read, it was all there, it's like a jigsaw, it's just down to who hides the missing pieces...

A cracker of a debut, if you are able get along to Bolton Central Library on Tue 22nd Jan 1pm and meet Lesley and also Fiona Barton, if you can't make it...ask for books to be signed, the HBs are £10 and free postage, Paypal is easiest...
tonythebook@live.co.uk we'll have Fi's backlist for £6 too...

Then it's Diane Setterfield a week later and more to follow... maybe find Bolton and Eventbrite and make 2019 a great year to get out and support culture, books and independents as well as most importantly a library...