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October 14, 2023

Rumor of Evil by Gary Braver ~ a Review

by MK French

Detectives Kirk Lucian and Mandy Wing investigate the apparent suicide of a woman and realize her hanging was staged. This death is connected to the death of Vadima Lubescu, a Romany exchange student accused of witchcraft almost twenty years ago. She died when the treehouse she was sleeping in caught fire. There was a cover-up and the rumor of curses she placed on people prior to her death. Kirk and Mandy investigate the rumors, uncovering more secrets and deaths. Can they determine the true cause of it?

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of mystery novel Rumor of Evil by Gary Braver
October 2023; Oceanview Publishing; 978-1608095933
audio, ebook, print (320 pages); mystery

There's the main thread of the murder investigation, and we see chapters from nineteen years before when Vadima arrived. Soon we see the tie between Vadima and the murder victim, but not why; the chapters about Vadima are told from the POV of the host family's daughter Morgan, and the victim had been one of Morgan's best friends. We know that long before the investigators do, but not the importance of it. The hysteria that the teens worked themselves into, as well as the racism against the Romani, was heartbreaking to read. The people were persecuted throughout history, and privileged teens looking up things online and wanting to see a conspiracy to justify their hatred escalated quickly.

Following the investigators, we see as they dig into the victim's life, trying to find suspects and motive. We also see a subplot for Kirk's personal life and grief, a counterpoint to the grief and life of the murdered woman. We dive into the past as well as through the present, leading us closer to the actual culprit. The story really picked up once the police had the connection to Vadima, and they were essentially circling the people who had been present at the time. There were several people who had motive, but only one killer, and the detectives close in and figure out who it is at the end, right after we do. Even Kirk's subplot gets solved by the end of the novel,  making it especially satisfying. 

Buy Rumor of Evil at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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