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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: The Gossip by Nancy Bush

We all know the saying about sticks and stones, but the truth is, words can hurt you. And sometimes, they can come back to haunt you, as they do in this case, when a twisted killer decides it’s time to take revenge on the popular girls who slighted him in high school… twenty years later.

The story follows the points of view of several characters, including Emma, a woman with mental damage from a long-ago trauma who is resident in a nursing home with much older people due to her special needs, and Mackenzie, a cop who recently quit the force due to harassment from her boss, now taking occasional investigative work to help out friends. When she’s asked to look into the disappearance of Rayne, who later turns up dead in circumstances which don’t feel right, Mac runs into Taft, an actual PI surveilling Rayne’s ex for different reasons entirely. Their two investigations collide and they decide to work together.

I wasn’t keen on the way Taft tried to cut Mac out of things ‘to protect her’. I did like how she very firmly set him straight on the matter. And it was really interesting to see a character like Emma with a significant mental disability as a principal character with a major role to play. Emma’s acquired brain injury makes her extremely literal and her understanding often limited, but her kindness still shone through and the things she saw and heard - when others dismissed her as irrelevant - ended up being crucial.

This feels like it’s aiming to be a romantic suspense, but to be honest the romance between Mac and Taft felt a bit grafted on and I thought it could have been dropped entirely and the story just played as a straight mystery suspense. The book starting off with a scene from the point of view of a cat also threw me as I wondered for a couple of chapters if it was going to be a cozy mystery! It’s like the author wasn’t quite sure what genre the book was meant to be. Although a good read, I’m marking it down a star for this slightly mixed messaging.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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