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This fresh, exciting, twisty debut psychological thriller explores with terrifying credibility how rumours can wreck lives . . .

When single mum Joanna shares a rumour at the school gates – desperate to ingratiate herself with the clique of mothers at her son’s new school – there is 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 when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death over 47 years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives amongst 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?


In this chilling tale of paranoia, suspicion and accusation, Lesley Kara keeps you guessing until the final page.

Paula Hawkins, No.1 bestselling author of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN and INTO THE WATER

A great debut with a slyly clever premise and a rollercoaster ride to the very last sentence.

Fiona Barton, bestselling author of THE WIDOW and THE CHILD

An intriguing premise, a creeping sense of dread, and a twist you won't see coming! Everyone is going to be talking about The Rumour.

Shari Lapena, bestselling author of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR

A brilliant premise with a killer twist. The Rumour depicts the prejudices and secrets that simmer in a small seaside town to devastating effect.

Colette McBeth, author of AN ACT OF SILENCE

Pssst, have you heard... #TheRumour is a cracking thriller about the damage that idle gossip can wreak in a small town. I thought I had the twist worked out. Boy was I wrong!

Tammy Cohen

A brilliantly addictive debut...with a reveal that caught me completely by surprise.

Good Housekeeping

Shocking and convincing.

Literary Review

Suspicion and lies, paranoia and anguish follow in this twisty psychological thriller.

Choice Magazine

Gripping...the evocation is beautifully done.


Whip-smart . . . every well-crafted page simmers with tension and menace.

Sunday Mirror

Tense and very twisty . . . will have you hooked.

Fabulous Magazine (Sun)

Captivating . . . a subtle examination of the damage that gossip can do.

Daily Mail

This is one of those novels that sweeps you away and doesn't let go until the final killer blow.


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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    August 6, 2019


    416 pages

    RRP $26.00

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • Trade Paperback


    January 2, 2019

    Bantam Press

    320 pages

    RRP $37.00

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • EBook


    December 10, 2018

    Transworld Digital

    320 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle NZ
    • iBooks NZ
    • Google Play EBook NZ
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia NZ


It’s happening again. Don’t ask me how I know. I just do. I see it in the roll of the waves, the way they’re bearing in at a slant. Fast. Relentless.

I feel it in the nip of the air on my skin, smell it in the rotting leaves and damp earth, hear it in the silence of the watching crows. You’re coming for me again and there’s nothing I can do to stop you.

This is how it happens. One night I go to bed and everything’s fine. Everything’s under control. The story has ceased to be a story. It’s real. Solid. Unbreakable. Then I wake up and it’s changed. Cracks have appeared overnight and I realize that I’ve been fooling myself all this time, that I’ve only ever been the most fragile of constructions.

I’m the hunted. I’ll always be the hunted.


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My Inspirations for Writing The Rumour

I started writing this novel in August 2017, but the original idea came to me a few years before when someone I was working with passed on a rumour to me.