The Dare by Lesley Kara – Review – First Monday Crime.

About The Book

As a child, it was just a game. As an adult, it was a living nightmare.

‘This time it’s different. She’s gone too far now. 
She really has.’

When teenage friends Lizzie and Alice decide to head off for a walk in the countryside, they are blissfully unaware that this will be their final day together – and that only Lizzie will come back alive.

Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. But as she tries to cope with her grief, she is shocked to find herself alienated from Alice’s friends and relatives. They are convinced she somehow had a part to play in her friend’s death. 

Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is horrified to find long-buried memories suddenly surfacing. Is the trauma of the accident finally catching up with her, or could someone be trying to threaten her new-found happiness?

Twelve years is a long time to wait, when you’re planning the perfect revenge . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Dare is a dual time frame novel that is full of intrigue and twists. I have read a few reviews where the reader guessed at what was occurring but I can honestly say I never had a clue!

In her teens Lizzie suffered the trauma of her friend being killed whilst on their walk. As well with coping with her loss she has to deal with accusations from her Alice’s sister and school ‘friends’ that she hadn’t had a seizure as she claimed and was really responsible for Alice’s death.

Years later and in a steady relationship she has come to terms with Alice’s death and is making plans for the future. But she is dismayed when an unwelcome face from her past brings a lot of doubts and concern and she understandably feels ill at ease. Is this unwelcome friend genuine or are they a threat?

Most of this novel takes place in the present time and it was this part of the novel that I preferred. Older Lizzie has learned to live with her illness and is making plans for her future, younger Lizzie was very unhappy and struggling. Even before Alice’s death she never seemed to have the confidence to relax and make friends. 

I enjoyed this novel for its intrigue but also for its insights into how it feels to have epilepsy. Alice’s daily struggle felt like a real one, adapting to the changes in her life and feeling strong enough to make career and family plans. And of course how she felt stable enough to cope with the past coming back to haunt her. 

The Dare is a great novel that I read very quickly. 

Lesley Kara will be one of the panelists on First Monday Crime, she will be appearing alongside Inga Vesper, Mara Timon and Tariq Ashkanani. The moderator will be Jonathan Whitelaw. You can watch it via the FM Facebook page at 7.30pm on Monday 4th October.

The Rumour by Lesley Kara – Review.


About the Book

A casual comment.

There’s a killer among us.

That’s all it takes.

She stabbed little Robbie Harris.

To change a life –

She’s living under a new name.

For ever.

She’s reformed. So they say . . .

Joanna is going to regret the day she ever said a word.

My Review

It’s rare that I review a book when it is a few months away from being published, but for this book I was happy to do so. I imagine that this book will be very popular. It was just what I needed to read after having a slight book slump, it was a book that I needed to carry on reading.
Joanna is struggling to fit into her new life after living in London and in a bid to make life easier for her son she engages in gossip at the school gate. It does get them accepted by the ‘in crowd’ but it places them in danger.
Joanna was a character I liked instantly. I sympathised with her predicament, she regretted what she said and she did it without thinking about the consequences. That people who were innocent could be accused of terrible things and have their lives ruined.
It is one of those novels that makes you suspect everybody. I did guess (correctly) fairly early, but it didn’t stop me enjoying the novel. There is a threat from more than one person. It only has short chapters and was very quick to read. Most of it is told by Joanna’s point of view but there are also glimpses of Sally and you see how she is coping with possible exposure.
The topic could be a difficult one. A child killer who herself was a child and who has been released whilst still young and the victim’s family seeing them lead a normal life. But the author shows both sides, that the killer has far from a normal life. Despite this it was difficult to warm to Sally though, even when you heard her side of the story and knew what her upbringing had been like and at times I did have sympathy.
There were many characters I liked, there were some sad lives and the author shows different ways of acceptance and coping. These will have to remain nameless because if you read this book you will suspect them just like I did.
A brilliant debut novel that I couldn’t put down and which had an ending that made my jaw drop. I’m sure it will do well.

With thanks to Alison Barrow for the signed proof and for the inviting me to the publicity launch at Theakston Crime.