As in the best mysteries, Rumor of Evil by Gary Braver (Goshgarian), does not just chase a murderer. Instead, the book presents a mélange of the past and the present, family ties and secrets, toxic friendships and heartache, all the while we, the readers, as well as the detectives are trying to identify two killers two decades apart.
Goshgarian stays true to his roots — both as an Armenian-American and as a son of Massachusetts. He introduces us to detectives Kirk Lucian and Mandy Wing of the Cambridge Police Department, who are called to a swish Cambridge house to solve the killing of a woman, Sylvie Cox Thornton, found hanging in the backyard of her home. Is it a suicide or a murder? The duo make for an interesting pairing: Lucian is an Armenian-American with a soft spot for lahmejun and a heavy heart after the senseless killing of his teen daughter by a hit-and-run driver and his subsequent separation, and Wing is a young lesbian who brings her own baggage to the job, with a single-minded mission to get rid of bad folks and make life safer for everyone.
Back to the victim Thornton, who had lost one son and the other had opted to live with her husband after the couple’s ugly divorce.
Once the police settle on the death being a murder, the real fun begins and the body count starts mounting.
The two detectives’ quest for the present-day murderer is tied to the death two decades ago of 16-year-old Vadima Lupescu, a Roma exchange student from Slovakia, who was living with Morgan Bolt and her family, a classmate and BFF, as the kids would say, of the now-deceased Sylvie. The beautiful Vadima had died in a horrific treehouse fire on Halloween at the Bolt home 20 years ago.
Was she killed or did she simply knock over a kerosene lamp by accident? Or did the jealous and ignorant teens she considered her friends take their revenge on her because they thought she was a witch? Or was the revolting patriarch of the Bolt family who had taken a sick shine to poor Vadima to blame?