A small seaside town is the setting for this mystery that explores something that’s quite intriguing and almost unique in crime fiction. A rumour has started and mainly spread by young mother’s in the school playground on the school run. The rumour is that a child killer involved in a historic case and now in witness protection, has moved to their town.
The obvious anxiety for the safety of their children is uppermost in their minds but some of them take a salacious delight in spreading the rumour and one of them Joanna, mother of Alfie spreads around snippets she’s picked up via her journalist boyfriend because she wants to fit in with the groups of mothers more.
Unfortunately, rumours by their very nature can spread and take on a life of their own, particularly in a small town.
Suspicion and paranoia is rife. Who could it be? Is the child killer Sally McGowan, who was just ten years old when she stabbed five year old Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago living in the town without their knowledge?
Joanna becomes obsessive about the case, searching for articles online about the case and trying to match the photos with women in the town. Unwittingly at times perpetuating the rumours and making the situation worse.
The book gives an interesting glimpse into the life of someone in witness protection. The restrictions and the effects on their physical well being and mental health not only having to deal with the consequences of their own actions but also having to cut off from their family and friends and live in abject fear for the rest of their lives that someone might discover who they really are. Also the lives of the family of their victim(s) that are never the same again. Do they want and seek revenge or would they themselves rather sink into obscurity and just be left alone.
There are horrible consequences to all the gossip and speculation for more than one person and the book keeps giving up surprise after surprise leaving the reader in the dark about a situation to the very last page.
The author has really captured the stifling and claustrophobic atmosphere of small town gossip
Gripping. Haunting and intriguing