Saturday, February 17, 2024

The Rumor Game

The Rumor Game by Thomas Mullen
2/27/24; 368 pages
Minotaur Books

The Rumor Game by Thomas Mullen is a highly recommended historical mystery set in Boston during WWII. It is 1943 and reporter Anne Lemire is investigating disinformation while FBI agent Devon Muvey is preventing industrial sabotage.

Annie Lemire writes the newspaper column The Rumor Clinic. In it she debunks various seditious rumors, gossip, and disinformation running rampant around town. Although her editor isn't interested in the story, Anne is also investigating antisemitic assaults on teens by Irish gangs and printed propaganda being spread around the city. Special FBI Agent Devon Mulvey is investigating national security concerns including the fatal stabbing of an employee of Northeast Munitions, Abraham Wolff. Their investigations lead them to meet each other. It turns out they knew each other as children. More importantly, their investigations actually converge and careen toward dangerous connections to organized crime, espionage, and domestic subversion.

Mullen's does an excellent job capturing the historical details and atmosphere in the setting, which is essential to the plot. All the actions the characters undertake and all the areas of Boston they encounter reflect the city and the times in which they live. This is a mystery that also explores the use of disinformation and power to control the people enmeshed in the struggle for domination. Although the action does move at a slower pace through much of the beginning of the novel, the last quarter mark a gripping turn and a heart-stopping pace.

The narrative is consistently interesting throughout the novel. There are several mysteries and questions that need to be answered and it is the search for all the answers through the investigations undertaken by Anne and Devon that will hold your attention even when the pace feels slow. The interest is in seeing the intersection of the two complicated investigations and anticipating the merging of them. The romance between Anne and Devon is secondary to the action and intrigue they are embroiled in investigating. Thanks to Minotaur Books for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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