Wednesday 3 March 2021

The Dare by Lesley Kara @LesleyKara @TransworldBooks #TheDare #BookReview


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 . . .

The Dare by Lesley Kara is published in hardback on 4 March 2021 by Bantam Press / Transworld. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Lesley Kara's third novel has been one of my most anticipated this year. I read and enjoyed both her debut, The Rumour and her second book, Who Did You Tell. I read The Dare in just one day, snuggled on the settee, feeling sorry for myself as I dealt with the after effects of my COVID vaccine jab.

If there's one way to forget how rough you are feeling, it's this way! The Dare is one of those rocky rides of a story that compels you to carry on turning the pages, and just as you think you've got it all sussed out ..... BANG, the author throws another curveball, and sends you around so many twists that you begin to feel dizzy.

This is the story of how one childhood tragedy can affect the whole of a life. Lizzy was just a young teen when her best, and only friend,  Alice was killed by a train on an unmanned level crossing. Whilst Lizzy was there at the time, she remembers nothing. Her only memory is regaining consciousness after an epileptic seizure and seeing the sleeve of Alice's denim jacket tangled in some bushes. Young people are cruel, and Lizzy suffered the taunts of her peers, and the suspicion of many. So much so that her family moved away from the area and Lizzy has tried to move on. She has never forgotten Alice.

Twelve years later and finally Lizzy seems to be settled. About to marry the love of her life; handsome and kind Ross, a GP with a local practice who has ambitions to become a partner in the practice. There's just the shadow of Alice's death that hangs over Lizzy. She's never told Ross about her past, and just lately there have been little things that have brought back the devastating events to her. Silent phone calls, a toy train abandoned on the garden wall, and then, a news item about another young girl who has died in a similar way. 

Suddenly and quite unexpectedly, Lizzy's comfortable world comes crashing down around her with the appearance of a face from the past. A person who can bring nothing but terrible memories and pain. Battling with the fear of her seizures returning, and maintaining a controlled appearance in front of Ross becomes just too much and Lizzy falters, and crumbles.

Once again, Lesley Kara gives her readers a well written story that offers surprise after twist after surprise. Her characters are really well created, and I especially enjoyed learning more about Lizzy, being able to creep underneath the front that she displays and discovering her weaknesses and fears. Cleverly done and really well handled. 

The Dare is gripping and relentlessly suspenseful. I found the emotional tension really compelling. It's an intricate exploration of how one event can shape a life, and how a deeply, and long held desire for revenge can cause total mayhem and destruction. 

Lesley Kara lives on the North Essex coast in the UK. 

When her children started school, she studied at Greenwich University, London, and trained as a teacher. 

She worked for many years as a lecturer and manager in a large college of further education in London, but now writes full-time.

Twitter @LesleyKara

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