Member Reviews

Speak of The Devil on the surface is a suspense thriller about seven women and their connection to a single man. At the opening scene we know he’s been violently murdered, they’ve all gathered. It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Who did it, who called them together, and what do they do now?
Told from multiple points of view, and going back in time, the early parts can get caught in the weeds. There’s a lot of threads connecting these women, and the subject matter is difficult touching on gaslighting, emotional abuse, sexual assault, systemic problems in law enforcement, and child neglect. Stick with it. Once the connections started to make more sense this moved really fast for me. I’ve got four pages of notes. First to keep the characters straight, second because I had BIG thoughts!
This is a story of generational trauma, of nature vs nurture. It’s about ignoring women because believing them ‘could ruin his life’. It’s about “an impossible decision between what is legal and what is right”. I really appreciated the hard earned connections between these women who didn’t always believe or trust one another. I would have loved to see a late chapter from Alice.
I think this makes a fantastic Bookclub or buddy read, it’s endlessly discussable! If you’ve read this let me know. There’s a very small plot hole (or maybe I’m missing something?!) I’m dying to talk to someone about!
Thank you to Minotaur Books @Minotaur_Books , Rose Wilding @Rose_Wldng , and Netgalley @netgalley for the early copy.

Was this review helpful?

Speak of the Devil is a thriller that hooks you from the very first page. On New Year’s Eve, seven women find themselves in a room with a dead man—or part of him, at least. All of them have a motive for his murder, but each of them denies committing the crime.

This story follows these seven women, as well as the detective in charge of discovering the killer. The reader sees these women in the aftermath of the murder, as well as in flashbacks of their experiences with the victim. We discover motives right along with Nova, the detective, and the case becomes increasingly complex. It becomes clear that Jamie (our murder victim) was abusive throughout his life, so the stories of these women cover decades.

This is a story about a horrible, manipulative man, and the women he betrayed and destroyed. It’s also a story about how society disregards abuse victims and abusers often get more chances than they should.

This book kept me interested until the end, though the solution to the mystery felt rushed at the very end of the book. I liked the characters and thought they were well-written and complex. I also enjoyed how motives were unveiled one by one and flashbacks are interwoven with the days following the murder.

Sensitive readers should know this book contains sexual content, graphic violence, rape, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, forced outing, homophobia, and suicide.

Was this review helpful?

The blurb was interesting but the story didn't live up to it for me. There are so many characters and suspects that half the time I had trouble remembering who was who. The writing felt disjointed. The wrap up seemed to come out of nowhere.

Was this review helpful?

I had high hopes for this one. The synopsis was very intriguing. A group of women who had a past with the dead body. Who is the killer??

For me, this was difficult to read. Too many characters to keep straight. I found myself confused often as to who was who. However, the premise was great. Maybe with a few less characters it would have been easier for me.

Told in multiple points of view, the book reveals each woman's relationship with the dead man in past and present timelines.

I wasn't all that surprised by the ending, but it really could have been any one of them who was the killer.

I would read another book by this author.

Thanks to netgalley and Minotaur Books for the arc.

Was this review helpful?

This is definitely a twisty, dark mystery from a great new author. The story moves quickly and easily kept me engaged but you do need to pay attention to all of the characters and clues being presented. As the story unfolds we learn that backstories of each suspect and how she is connected to the murdered man (the truly awful Jamie). The women have been through terrible situations and there is no sympathy to be had for the victim. I really enjoyed this story and couldn't wait to find out how it wrapped up. I am excited to see what Rose Wilding writes next! Thanks to Rose Wilding, St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This one was a no-go for me, just not my cup of tea. I’m sure others would enjoy it, especially if you enjoy a darker plot much like Bad Sisters on AppleTV+.

Was this review helpful?

Speak Of The Devil is a dark, utterly spellbinding debut novel. I was captivated from the beginning of the story all the way up until the very end. A huge thank you to Minotaur Books, the author and NetGalley for the advanced digital copy of the book.

The premise of this gripping book is that seven different women each with their own harrowing story are all indistinguishably connected by the suffering they have endured at the hands of one man, Jamie Spellman. As they stand gathered inside a hotel room at midnight looking at his severed head the question becomes not why, but which one of them committed the crime?

Each of these complex women had motive. When the murder investigation ensues they are all suspects. And as each of their stories unfold the secrets they’ve long held start to unravel, too. Speak Of The Devil is a powerful, completely immersive story that unflinchingly examines the roles of women who have to deal with loathsome men and what happens when they finally become fed up! A blistering, suspenseful mystery that is not to be missed.

Was this review helpful?

Seven women have been called to a hotel room where they find the head of Jamie Spellman, a man who has ruined each of their lives. One of them is a murderer. Each one had a reason to kill him, but no one will admit their guilt. Kaysha, a reporter, had been sexually assaulted by Jamie. She has been following him ever since and initially brought the women together in a support group. Ana worked with Jamie and considered him a friend until he stole her research and passed it off as his own, earning a promotion and prestige. Sadia was the wife that he cheated on and threatened. Sarah was the mother of his daughter and Josie, a teenager, was currently pregnant with his child. Maureen was the aunt who raised him, but saw the type of person he really was. Olive never stopped loving him, even though he was responsible for her daughter’s death. All have motives to murder him, but who picked up an axe and decapitated him?

Kaysha has been in an on again off again relationship with DI Nova Stokoe. By manipulating the evidence at the scene she ties the murder to an investigation that Nova is currently conducting. She rekindles their relationship hoping to monitor Nova’s progress to keep the women safe while she investigates. Rose Wilding takes you through each of the women’s encounters with Jamie, showing how manipulative he was and how he damaged each of their lives. He was handsome and charismatic, but could turn vicious when anyone questioned him or attempted to stand up against him. As Nova discovers their stories she develops a sympathy for these women, but she is an officer of the law and murder is not a justified punishment. Wilding’s narrative is emotional and sometimes infuriating, but she keeps you guessing who committed the murder until the very end. This one is hard to put down. I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s - Minotaur for providing this book for my review.

Was this review helpful?

I love it when I get to discover new authors. This book drew me in from the first chapter. There are a lot of suspects so you need to pay attention to not get lost on who is who. The pacing was well done and kept me engaged. I enjoyed learning each characters back story and how slimy the corpse was

Was this review helpful?

The idea behind the book is good – multiple women find themselves in a room with the severed head of a man they all had a negative past with. Any one of them could be the killer. It then proceeds to tell you the back story of all these women and their connection to the deceased. The issue I had was that I feel like there were just too many to keep them all straight the way it was presented to the reader. Granted, if you have time to read it for longer stretches of time than I did, maybe it would be less confusing as to who’s who.

Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for gifting me with an advanced copy to read and provide an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Akin to Agatha Christie, you have multiple suspects and one murder. Who is the killer? Between 7 women, there is a dead man in a hotel room where they have been mysteriously summoned. He's lost his head. Each woman has a reason they could be the culprit, but they all want to protect the other, so they must find out who did it.

Warning, there are a lot of triggering events related in the background stories of each women, Dark and sinister is the only way to describe their stories. This is a book that is definitely not for the faint of heart. There are times when the stories get crossed, confusing, and hard to keep up with. However, we find out how they are all connected leading to the ultimate climax, that may have been a little predictable.

It took me a little longer to get through this one, just because the themes were hard to stomach. This is not the typical book I read, but I did finish and will be thinking about it for a while.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the ARC. The opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This book is creepy good! What makes it even better…This is Rose Wildings Debut Novel!! New Year’s Eve, 1999 and seven women are stand in a hotel room in Newcastle. They stare in horror at the center of the room where a man’s severed head sits on the table. Each woman knew this man and each had a reason to do this, although no one is admitting to the murder. As the murder investigation begins, alternating in time and place, we get the story of each woman and her connection to the man (and to each other).
But who killed him? And why?

Detective Inspector Nova Stokoe is heading up the murder investigation but she has connections of her own with some of these women, all of which are gradually revealed. The victim, Jamie Spellman, as we find out, is a repulsive human. It was almost impossible for me to feel any sort of compassion for this character, due to his vile actions. I didn’t care that he was dead, but I was intrigued as to who had actually murdered him in such a horrific way and why.
There are a lot of characters to keep track of, which got a little confusing in the beginning at times. Thankfully the descriptions and style of each character helped differentiate them. And with so many characters this is very much a character driven book, they were all riveting and relevant.

This book has plenty of twists and turns and I had no idea who the real killer was until the final pages! Speak of The Devil has a publish date of June 13th. I can’t wait to see what else Rose Wilding will come up with next.

Thank you to NetGalley, Author Rose Wilding , and St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books for the opportunity to read and review an advanced reader's copy of this book.

Was this review helpful?

New Year’s Eve 1999—Seven women gather in a hotel room and stare in shock at a man’s head on the bed. Each woman has been involved with this man and hurt at one point in their life. And each woman denies killing him. To protect each other, they must figure out who in their group killed the man and stay one step ahead of the police. Is it the wife, the pregnant teenager, the ex-girlfriend, the journalist, the colleague, the friend, or the woman who raised him?

Speak of the Devil is a fast-paced, often confusing book. I don’t get confused while reading; I did with this. This book didn’t lag, even with all the jumping from past to present and back again. The author kept the flow going despite the plotline going back and forth in time.

Speak of the Devil takes place in the Northumbria region of Scotland. The author did a great job of painting a picture of the towns portrayed from 1964 through 1999. I also liked that she weaved the local accents into the storyline. She did it so that it didn’t take away from the book. Instead, those accents added to it.

The main storyline in Speak of the Devil revolves around Jamie and the women he has bullied, abused, and treated like poo. I will warn you all that there are numerous POVs, eight in total, and each of these POVs travels back and forth in time. I am not a big fan of multiple POVs, but the author made it work in this book. But, I did have to take notes about the different relationships, which took away from my reading pleasure.

I didn’t like Jamie, but at the same time, I did feel bad for him. He was raised by a woman who couldn’t stand him. Those scenes, towards the end of the book, hurt my heart. He might have turned out differently if he had shown a little love and compassion. Each of the seven relationships showed a different side of Jamie. But, a common theme was running through them: He had an insane desire for control and wasn’t afraid to do whatever it took to get what he wanted. He did get what he deserved in the end.

The female characters, for the most part, were well-written. They weren’t as fleshed out as they should have been. I also felt some were written as cliche (Sarah comes to mind instantly). But overall, I enjoyed reading their stories and liked that the present-day storyline had a girl power theme running through it.

The mystery angle of the book was well written. I thought the killer was someone else and was very surprised when the author made the reveal. It was not who I thought it was, and it did surprise me. Looking back, the author was very clever with her red herrings and secondary storylines pointing at one person.

The book’s thriller angle didn’t jump out and scream at me as much as I wanted it to. It was understated and took some time to build. But, once it got going, it was full force.

There was some great LGBT representation going on in the book. Three of the women were lesbians (with two being in a relationship with each other). There was quite a bit of transphobia displayed in the book. I was beyond mad for this woman for 90% of the book, and I couldn’t understand why her job was acting the way it did. Then I remembered—-it was 1999. Understand people and jobs that didn’t discriminate were few and far between.

The end of Speak of the Devil didn’t gel with me. After the murderer was revealed, the author said nothing about what was done to the killer or what happened to the woman in jail for the murder. The only storyline that the author wrapped up well was the one with Nova. The others were left open with no ending other than Jamie’s death. It irritated me. I wouldn’t say I like it when books do that. I wanted at least an epilogue to explain what happens after.

I recommend Speak of the Devil to anyone over 16. There is language, violence, and very mild sexual situations.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books, NetGalley, and Rose Wilding for allowing me to read and review Speak of the Devil. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

Was this review helpful?

This book was everything I hoped it would be! I love a good revenge story, especially when the characters are done really well. Each woman was their own unique character and they were written so well that I really felt for the them in what all Jamie had done to them. I had a lot of strong emotions while reading this book and that's all due to the fantastic story telling of the author (it's hard to believe this is her debut novel)! I loved Kaysha, wanted to shake some sense into Josie, felt bad for Sadia, wanted to scream at Maureen for how she treated Jamie when he was a little boy, and was thoroughly impressed with Nova and her deduction skills.

Now, on what could have made this book better. There were A LOT of people to keep track of. I didn't start remembering who was who until at least half of the book and that was because I made a cheat sheet of the characters. Seven women could have been paired down to five and it would have still been as successful. I also had a hard time with how some of the native dialogue was written. Maybe that's just because I'm American, but I fumbled over a lot of what some of the small characters were saying. But, if you can get past both of those things, you'll find a really enjoyable read with lots and lots of layers that reveal one amazing story.

I'm giving this one 4/5 stars!

Was this review helpful?

When I received the link for this #arc there was an author’s note attachment. I printed it out but didn’t read it until I was midway through this book. After reading it, I felt a stronger connection to the seven women linked to Jamie’s character and a major sense of empathy for the author as this book was inspired by her personal experience. This book grabbed me immediately from the storyline, to the characters, to the setting, and to the bonds between the women. Jamie is an absolutely despicable character and had me cringing throughout the flashbacks. I was pleasantly surprised when Jamie’s perpetrator was revealed in the end!

Was this review helpful?

Generally, I am not bothered by a lot of characters. But maybe this would have been better with fewer characters to learn about. I feel like the time spent developing those characters impeded the progress of an actual story. I did not find this interesting or thrilling. Additionally, I feel like it took a rather superficial approach to a serious topic.

I am immensely grateful to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for my copy. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

The bit of this book really sucked me in, finding the body and meeting Nova. However, it lost me for a while after that, it was a super slow-burn thriller. The multiple POVs and alternating timelines showing when each woman met Jamie and how he ruined their lives really made it feel like the story wasn't moving forward and it took up a good chunk of this book. But, after we got through of that the story started to pick up for me. I was both surprised and not when the killer was revealed, not surprised because any of the women he wronged had good reason to want to kill him, but until the motive for this woman was revealed she would have been at the bottom of my list.

Was this review helpful?

This book begins with seven women sitting around a severed head. If that doesn't catch your interest, I don't know what will.

Despite the gory beginning, overall this book was not gory.

Jamie Spellman is the man behind the head. He wasn't a good man.

As the book goes on, we get to know each of the seven women, their connection to Jamie and how he treated them. They all had reason to murder him. But who did it?

This one is a bit of a slow burn, but it starts to pick up as you go along. We do find out who the killer is and it wasn't a surprise.

Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur and MacMillan Audio for both an ARC and ALC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Wow, what a twisty tale. I never would have guessed who actually killed Jamie. The opening scene introduces you to all the women who this man has harmed in some way or another. The setting is busy but you get to know each woman better as they each get chapters from their POV.
And the more you learn about Jamie the more you detest this horrible man.

Seven women are gathered in a seedy motel room where a man's severed head sits in the middle of the room. Each woman has her own motive for wanting him dead, but each swears they didn't do it.

The woman who brought them all together knows they need to protect each other. So they must try to figure out who is responsible while also trying to stay ahead of the police.

Thank you so much to the author, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC to review.

Was this review helpful?

This was a very interesting mystery and was like piecing a puzzle. Very taut.
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?