Book Review: The Dare by Lesley Kara

First Published in Great Britain in 2021 by Bantam Press, an imprint of Transworld Publishers, part of the Penguin Random House Group. Published in Australia on the 2nd March, 2021.

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Format: Trade Paperback

ISBN: 9781787633254

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense Fiction.

Page Count: 304

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Penguin Books Australia

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 fiancΓ©, 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:

What an absolutely compelling read that was! I started The Dare after a shift at work, prior to an event (as I needed to pass some time and I didn’t have any of my other current reads on me!) and oh goodness me, let me tell you that once I was drawn into the delicate themes and plot of The Dare, I just couldn’t quite bring myself to put it down!

Oh, where do I begin! I mean, broadly speaking, the twists throughout definitely kept me on my toes! Although I felt like one of the ‘main’ reveals happened sort of in the middle of the book, in brilliant Lesley Kara fashion, she weaves in unnerving trickles of suspense throughout, such as static phone calls that sound awfully like they could be disguising the whir of a train track, to the careful placement of a little toy train atop Lizzie’s fiance’s fence, all suggesting that someone hadn’t quite forgotten what tragically happened all those years ago!

It’s interesting, initially I wondered if Lizzie would be placed in that unreliable narrator category, purely because I felt like she could be conveying to the reader her innocence in what happened, that it was just a tragic accident, purely coincidental that she and Alice were fighting on the train track and that Lizzie did have an epileptic fit, unable to know what was about to happen to her best friend!

Yet, I did wonder from time to time…but then I realised that, I think, it was all quite clever because as much as Lizzie herself was trying to ignore the malicious rumours thrown towards her, because no way would she have pushed her best friend, even if she was blindly jealous of her at times! All throughout, I was just trying to piece together the mystery of what happened that tragic day, wondering all of this!

Now, if we jump ahead 12 years, by no means has Lizzie let the pain and memories of what happened go, but things were definitely comfortable for her, seemingly having her epilepsy under control, settled into a new house with her fiance, Ross. What’s completely evident too, is someone has revenge on their mind and the fact that The Dare was cleverly told not only from Lizzie’s point of view in the present, but also in the past too, projecting the reader right into the heart and sometimes dark grit that was her friendship with Alice!

Also, they’re some quite menacing scenes in between some chapters and story parts, but let me just tell you how Lesley Kara weaved the past to the present was quite remarkable! Connecting the supporting characters in the fashion that she did rendered me slightly bemused, astounded at times, but it completely worked! Definitely recommend The Dare to anyone who loves a Psychological Thriller filled with twists and turns, I know I couldn’t stop turning the pages!

Happy Reading,


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