Cover Image: Speak of the Devil

Speak of the Devil

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Member Reviews

One decapitated head and 7 suspects! This seemed right in my wheelhouse of genres I love to read.  
Jaime Spellmam is an awful man, and someone or multiple someone's decided it was time to end his reign of torture on women.   It's up to the seven women gathered around his head to determine just who that is.  

Unfortunately, the novel as a whole, didn't work for me.  I think the biggest detractor was I didn't feel the suspense or tension normally felt while reading a thriller. My expectations were not met. There were things I liked and things that were flat.  The plot/premise of the book is what grabbed me.  I thought I'd be going into a fast-paced, twisty thriller.  It wasn't.  It was very much a slow burn. Much more a character driven story than plot.  And well done diverse representation of characters. I think we get 8 pov's.. the author did well telling the story through them but for me I didn't connect to any characters because we didn't stay with them long enough. It was a strange combination of great character development but lack of emotion.  You are getting all these suspects with a connection to the deceased and some with each other.  But the connection is never shown within the story, the reader is told about it.  Felt all a bit choppy.  And the ending was just an ending.. no real twists or thrills.  Overall I say 3 stars.. writing was good, plot interesting.. just didn't grab me to where I couldn't put the book down. Being a debut novel I do think the author has a lot of promise.   There is a foundation of really good writing.. just a few tweaks and it could have been gold.  
If you decide to read, which if you like those slow burns I do recommend, grab a pen and paper to keep track of who's who.  It helped me keep it all straight. 

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read and review honestly an advanced digital copy.
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The book never really grabbed me from the start. A bunch of truly unlikeable characters, but with an interesting premise, I thought it would be good. Poor execution of the plot and story line.
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“Speak of the Devil” by Rose Wilding ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Genre: Thriller. Location: Northeast England. Time: December 31, 1999- January 13, 2000.

Midnight at The Towneley Arms Hotel, 7 women gathered around the gruesome head of Jamie Spellman. The head sits on a bible opened to Leviticus 2:19 (an eye for an eye). Each had a motive to kill him; each swears they did not. To protect each other, they must lead the police astray. A circle of women, all harmed by the same man:
* the isolated young wife living in the woods with her daughter,
* the widow and former lover who refuses to believe the past,
* the pregnant, betrayed teenager,
* the reluctant mother figure who wonders about nature vs nurture, 
* the betrayed friend forced to choose sides,
* the former lover drinking and harming herself to keep her secrets, and
* the journalist, with her own trauma, who called them all together. 

Friends or enemies, lovers or ex lovers, pregnancies or loss, accidents or murders, silent or vocal, invisible or believed? Detective Inspector Nova Stokoe must sort it all out. But complicated connections make her question what she knows and believes.

Author Wilding has written a book about exploited and manipulated women, and what happens when they refuse to be victims anymore. The book is set in a part of England known for its regional accent and vocabulary, so she uses local slang and word spellings to keep the prose authentic to the area. 

Wilding slowly reveals the backstories of the women, ramping up the tension as you read their reasons for wanting Jamie dead. There are known and unknown connections between them, so make a list of characters. Seriously- make a list of characters or you may get lost!

The murderer wasn’t a complete surprise, but the end of the book felt a bit unfinished, and it’s a solid 3 stars from me🌵📚💁🏼‍♀️ Thank you Minotaur Books, Rose Wilding, and NetGalley for this early ecopy. Publishes 6/27/2023.
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There is something undeniable about the thrill of discovering an impressive new author with their debut novel, knowing that you are about to start an extended journey with this individual that could potentially span years. Readers will have that feeling when they pick up Speak of the Devil by Rose Wilding—a truly unforgettable work of fiction that feels more like the work of a seasoned veteran than a first-time writer venturing into the crime fiction genre.

Aficionados of crime fiction can hardly ask for a more gripping opening to a novel than that which is offered in Speak of the Devil. In a demolished apartment building on the top floor penthouse suite, seven women stand in a circle around the severed head of a man, with no body in sight. The life trajectories of each of these women was derailed in some tragic way by the evil machinations of Jamie Spellman (the dead man) and readers are quickly told that one of the women present killed him. But which one?

Rose Wilding’s strength lies in her ability to bring each of these women to life—giving them each point-of-view chapters—as they outline their various connections to Mr. Spellman. It makes for a miasma of time shifts that keep readers on their toes, but never loses them in the fog of temporal variance. There’s also an eighth woman—the detective investigating the crime—who is the impetus for several of the women telling their story. No doubt, it is a lot of characters to keep track of, but readers who invest fully will be justly rewarded by the conclusion.

At a time when the community is demanding diversity in their crime fiction, Rose Wilding has this covered—also proving that writers can craft characters beyond their own lived experiences as long as they do the research necessary to present them in non-stereotypical ways, free of unwarranted judgement and scorn. The seven women in Jamie Spellman’s sphere are racially diverse, they represent  varied sexualities (lesbian, straight, bi), most are cis-gender, but there is trans representation, their  ages vary widely, as do their backgrounds, and lastly they reflect different personality types—at least one of which is capable of murder.

Now Speak of the Devil could have suffered if these women all had similar conflicts with Jamie Spellman, however Wilding seems to have an inherent understanding of this, so the backstory for each woman is unique. We have relatives, coworkers, friends, and lovers—each of whom has a legitimate reason to want Jamie Spellman dead. The reader’s experience of figuring out which one did the deed is a bit like: “she should kill him,” “oh, she did it,” “how can she let him live,” to the eventual, “I’d like to kill him myself.”

Speak of the Devil is a gritty read—which should have been signaled by the dripping severed head on the table in the opening chapter. The list of trigger warnings that could accompany this novel include major topics like domestic violence, rape, humiliation, and self-harm, as well as less egregious ways of inflicting damage that under Rose Wilding’s writing skill and ability to craft tension hit equally as hard as the criminal mistreatments do. This is not a novel for the faint of heart, but again, those that can stick with it will find they are glad that they did.

Rose Wilding’s Speak of the Devil is easily one of the strongest debuts of the season and it will leave crime fiction readers anxious to see what she has to offer next.
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Review: Rose Wilding’s Speak of the Devil 

Seven women stand in shock in a seedy hotel room; a man's severed head sits in the center of the floor. Each woman - the wife, the teenager, the ex, the journalist, the colleague, the friend, and the woman who raised him - has an excellent reason to have done it, yet each swears she did not. To protect each other, they must figure out who is responsible, all while staying one step ahead of the police.

3 Things That Work: 

The book opens with seven women sitting around a severed head. They point at one another accusingly, pleading, “Did YOU do this?” Need I say more?  

Because Wilding wrote seven different POVs, I reserved making any predictions about the murderer until the 75% mark. Color me surprised when I guessed correctly! The whodunit factor kept me guessing until the bitter end. I saw a comparison title of Bad Sisters (Apple TV+ series) and wholeheartedly agree. 

That ending, though…whoa, there! Whoa! A furious hurricane of female rage beheading a worthless piece of garbage psychopath who rapes and kills women. Delightful! 

Minor criticisms: A lot of POVs to track, and some are better fleshed out than others. It ended abruptly after the murder cleanup. I wanted a little more here. 

TW: rape, suicide, transphobia, domestic abuse, grooming, infertility
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3.5 stars which I will round up to 4 as when I wasn't reading I was thinking of who killed the ex-journalist brutally.

Seven women,  so many secrets. 

All of them had reason to kill Jamie Spellman.

Jamie Spellman had very few redeeming characters:  being nice was not one of them.

I was intrigued as to who the murderer was and honestly I felt for all these women.

Speak of the Devil pulls you in slowly (after the startling opening) but as you get involved in the women's lives you will keep those pages turning.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for a compelling read.
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This was an excellent who dunnit! 
Eight women, all egregiously wronged by the same man, get together to talk about him & the depths of their fury, a support group of sorts. When (only) his head turns up at one of their meetings, no one knows who actually did the deed. Which one finally took the monster down?  Which one of them snapped? 
This one kept me guessing til the very end. There were so many options and each one of them seemed capable, even likely. I especially liked the satisfying ending.
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I wish to thank NetGalley and Minotaur Books for the opportunity to read an advance electronic copy of this book. The story began with a shocking setup, and I thought it would be an intriguing read. I regret I was never fully invested in the story. 

 A diverse group of women of various ages and backgrounds had been mysteriously invited to a room in a rundown hotel. They were of different ages and different situations in life. There were seven of them in the group. A man's severed head was revealed in the room's centre, and each of the women had been wronged, manipulated, cheated, or deceived by the dead man in the past. All had some connection with the murder victim, and some of the women had a connection with each other. It was apparent that none were sorry he was dead. The majority opinion was to cover up the crime to protect the unknown perpetrator rather than calling the police. The female detective had reasons to avoid a thorough investigation. 

 I regret the book didn't work for me, but some found it fascinating. Prospective readers should not be deterred by my review. I failed to care for any of the characters and their past unpleasant connections with the dead man. The story lacked tension, being all tell and no show. When I realized I was taking a copious amount of notes to avoid confusing the characters' names, I knew  I didn't care who committed the murder. I ended up skimming through the pages. I thought the ending was anticlimactic, and very little was resolved with the solution. 2.5 stars. Speak of the Devil is due for release on June 13.
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Thank you to Minotaur Books and Rose Wilding advance readers’ edition of SPEAK OF THE DEVIL for an honest review. Thank you also to Macmillan Audio for the gifted audiobook copy!

SPEAK OF THE DEVIL begins in a hotel room, seven women stand around a severed head on the floor. None knows how it came to be there, or at least no one will admit it. They all know this man and all have good cause to want him dead, but which knows more about his demise or where the rest of him is? The women must protect themselves and each other while also seeking answers before the police come for them.

This was a very unique way to present a murder and I really enjoyed the process of following along and uncovering everyone’s secrets. I was really in the mood for a mystery story when I picked this up, so this was a really good quick binge listen. I felt that the author did a good job of balancing the present day mystery with the flashbacks to each of the women’s lives and their interactions with the victim. Trust me, no one is feeling at all bad for his death reading his story!

I think this is a good book to go into without knowing too much about it. It is a fast read (I finished it in a single evening) and one well worth picking up!
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I really enjoyed this revenge murder mystery. There were eight POV (the seven women and one detective) which I liked because it kept me from being able to guess who the killer was.
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"Speak of the Devil" by Rose Wilding is an entertaining, but predictable, thriller.  The plot follows seven women, all of whom have a motive for the gruesome murder and decapitation of the man who unites them.  I liked that the cast of characters was so diverse, but it was difficult for me to keep everyone straight.  All the characters blended together and it was tough at times to tell from whose point of view I was reading.  The first chapter was amazing and completely drew me in; unfortunately, it was downhill from there, especially since it was quite obvious to me who the killer was from very early on.  I never became invested in any of the characters and so didn't care much about what happened to them.  

Overall, I don't think reading this book was a waste of my time. It was a good way to pass a lazy summer afternoon, but it definitely wasn't up there with other thrillers I read this year.  I found it to be an average read, thus the three star rating.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to read an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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The premise and plot sounded really exciting. However, the writing was choppy and not easy to read/get lost in. Characters were also not very well defined initially and it got very confusing very quickly. DNF @ 15%.

Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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The idea behind this book is perfect. One man does his best to screw over several women and then it bites him in the ass - I mean, perfection. The execution wasn’t quite there for me though. 

I received both the ebook and audiobook through NetGalley. The narrator was great and really brought emotion into the story. I think it was relatively obvious where it was going before it got there, but it was a decent ride to the end. 

The biggest thing for me was it was longer than it needed to be. While I did like getting everyone’s full story, it wasn’t completely necessary here for the story to be told. The dual timeline wasn’t the easiest to keep up with at times, however I do think it was the best way to handle this story. 

Overall 3.5⭐️
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New Year’s Eve 1999.

Seven women.  All of whom have a lot more to worry about then a Y2K glitch.

Seven women, inextricably linked by one man.  A man whose head is on a table in front of them.  Where the rest of him lies? That’s anybody’s guess.

Seven women, all with motive, must lie to protect themselves and whoever among them is a killer.

The ex, constantly drenched in a drunken haze.

The wife, thrust out of her deluded fairytale marriage into the full truth of the vile man she promised to love, in sickness and in health. Until death part them at least.

The widow, unwilling to face a truth too horrible to contemplate.

The teenager, paying an unimaginable price for her schoolgirl crush.

The mother figure, fighting a sense of obligation even as revulsion pushes its way in.

The friend, a staunch believer in the victim.  Until she wasn’t.

The journalist, whose motive may be the greatest of all, and who brought them all together.

As the clocks ticks down in the investigation of the murder, each woman’s secret is brought to light.

This was a stellar thriller that kept this reader constantly on my toes, flip flopping on which motive was powerful enough to drive someone to such extremes.  Secretly, I hoped they all had a hand in it…and maybe they did.  That’s for me to know and you to find out.
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This book started off on a seriously intriguing (and horrific) note: a group of women stand over a body. Well, part of  a body. Clearly one of them is responsible of the person's death, but who and why?

After that, I felt things bogged down a little. Speak of the Devil gives all the women a narrative voice in alternating chapters, and that's not my favorite. 

I did read most of it and peeked at the end, but in the end this just wasn't the book for me.
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I am not sure if this book got lost in translation for me, but I spent a good 20% trying to figure out who everyone was. By that time I didn't even care about any of them or their drama. I came for the murder and was very let down by it.
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Speak of the Devil starts strong, and I loved that there were multiple POVs, and the author managed to make each character distinct and easy to follow. It's very easy to confuse that many characters, but it didn't happen. I ultimately gave three stars to the book to reflect my sentiment that the story was very "middle of the road" for me. There were slow moments and some characters were more captivating than others. Ultimately, not a bad book. Thanks for the advance review copy.
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Absolutely intriguing start to the novel! It had my attention peaked immediately. I will state - I LOVE a multiple perspectives novel, but this one started out with so many that I ended up taking notes on who was who. Even once I  could keep them all separate, I continued to take notes because of how interwoven everything was. My favorite thing about this arc was the representation - ALL OF IT! From lgbtqia+ to the representation and internal thoughts of the detective, I loved it all. It did not feel forced or poorly done like representation can sometimes feel. Anyways, LOVED this book! The entire ride was a good time, it didn’t feel like there were filler chapters at all, a classic who dunnit! The ending was great! I’d definitely pick up more novels form this author in the future!
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I liked the book. I wanted to know whodunit. So that alone kept me invested. The multiple POVs were nice, but a bit confusing at times. I had to write some notes down so I could remember who the girls were and what Jamie did to them. Once I had that figured out it was pretty easy to know who was who. I like multiple POVs in a story!

I couldn't really connect with any of the characters, but I did like most of the girls. There was one who drove me up the wall, if you read it, you'll know. Jamie was HORRIBLE. I am totally okay that he got beheaded. 

I listened to the book as I read, I thought the narrator did a good job, but I would have liked it better if each POV had a different narrator. I think it would have helped keep the people straight.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press, and Macmillan Audio for the ebook and audio version of this book, in exchange for my review!
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Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for the opportunity. My review opinions are my own. 

This was a interesting thriller that presents 7 different POV for the reader. As a avid reader I admit the 7 POV is new to me and difficult to follow.  The beginning  captures the reader and you find yourself figuring out the whodoneit between the 7 charcters. It begins with a gruesome murder of a abusive man in a crummy motel and 7 possible suspects around the body. The story slows down a lot in the telling but its well worth reading to conclusion to find out the key to each charcter.  This is not a fast paced read but a interesting telling of the story .
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