The Rumor Game

Thomas Mullen

The Rumor Game
Little, Brown Book Group
United Kingdom
27 February 2024

The Rumor Game

Thomas Mullen

A determined reporter and a reluctant FBI agent face off against fascist elements in this gripping historical thriller set in World War II-era Boston from the multi-award-nominated author.

Reporter Anne Lemire writes the Rumor Clinic, a newspaper column that disproves the many harmful rumors floating around town, some of them spread by Axis spies and others just gossip mixed with fear and ignorance. Tired of chasing silly rumors, she wants to write about something bigger.

Special Agent Devon Mulvey, one of the few Catholics at the FBI, spends his weekdays preventing industrial sabotage and his Sundays spying on clerics with suspect loyalties - and he spends his evenings wooing the many lonely women whose husbands are off at war.

When Anne's story about Nazi propaganda intersects with Devon's investigation into the death of a factory worker, the two are led down a dangerous trail of espionage, organized crime, and domestic fascism - one that implicates their own tangled pasts and threatens to engulf the city in violence.

With vibrant historical atmosphere and a riveting mystery that illuminates still-timely issues about disinformation and power, Thomas Mullen delivers another powerful thriller.


Pearl Harbor has been attacked and America looks set to join her allies in the war in Europe. On the streets of Boston, far from the killing fields, there are battles of a different sort taking place, all somehow linked to the devastating events taking place overseas.

Anne Lemire is a young female journalist trying to make her voice heard in a world of men. Although raised Catholic, Anne’s mother is Jewish and Anne has struggled for years to find her place in society. While she may not know her own feelings around religion and belief, she does know that the attacks on Jewish people in her neighbourhood and the rise of fascism in the United Sates are fundamentally wrong. If only she could find a way to do something about it, something that will make a real difference, something more than just disproving the local rumours and gossip in her newspaper column.

Devon Mulvey is an Irish Catholic FBI agent who also has difficulty fitting in, even if he is back working in his hometown. As he tries to track down the killer of a Jewish factory worker, he also has to deal with the realisation that his own family might be behind some of the propaganda and attacks that have been happening close to home. His job is to investigate sabotage by Nazis, fascists, or their sympathisers, within industries working to help the war effort. To do so, he too must uncover rumours which may, or may not, turn out to be true.

As Anne and Devon’s paths cross, tensions heat up and fiction becomes fact. Based on true events, this thriller explores fear, antisemitism, corruption, and loyalty in a time of great change. It is also disturbing and remarkably relevant right now.

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