Cover Image: Speak of the Devil

Speak of the Devil

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Member Reviews

Seven women are interconnected through strained solidarity and trauma, both past and present. It is said that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned . . . but which one of these seven aching souls took the ultimate revenge upon their evil tormentor?

I can’t say that this novel was always exciting or that it grabbed me from page one . . . it was, however, well-written and quite compelling for the most part. I especially enjoyed the unique vernacular of some of the characters. I found the story's ending to be a bit abrupt, and yet, also satisfying.

Learning the details of how a man could end up without a head, following a murder investigation, and a slow stroll through a complex and sordid past. Overall, an entertaining way to spend a day or two.

I'd like to thank NetGalley for an advanced copy of Speak of the Devil for my unbiased evaluation.  3.5 stars

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I received a free copy of, Speak of the Devil, by Rose Wilding, from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Seven women, one man, not the best odds though, but who killed him? Ana, Nova, Sarah, Kaysha, Olive, Josie, Sadia, which one is the murderer. This book kept me guessing until the end, a true nail biter.

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Heart pounding thriller that left me on the edge of my seat. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. Definitely one of the best books this year.

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7 women are gathered around a severed head of a man they all knew and they all hated. Each have a motive for wanting him dead. But the bigger question is which one of them did it?⁣

From the beginning the book starts off with a bang and I really loved that. But it slowly started to go flat for me. I found it hard to differentiate from the 7 different P.O.Vs. Also, the jumping back and forth between timelines got really confusing.⁣

Speak Of The Devil definitely has an interesting premise but this one was just not for me.

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Seven women. A sketchy hotel room with a man’s head sitting in the middle of the floor. Every one of them had a good reason to want him dead. But no one is admitting to it. And they all have a lot to lose.

While they all suspect each other, they band together to find out who did the deed before the police think it’s one of them. But oh my, do these ladies have some secrets, and they will all be revealed soon.

This was rather dark. It’s a good look at women and how they are talked about in relation to the monstrous men around them and how they chose to not stay quiet about it.

NetGalley/ June 13, 2023, St. Martin’s Press

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There was too much going on here - love the premise, wish it had been with 4/5 women instead of 7. It would have flowed better/been more bingeable

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This was a strange but interesting story. Everyone has their reasons but only some are known. Along with their reasons are secrets, whose are worth killing over?

Dive into the lives of these women and discover what their pasts and presents have to do with the one man that bonds them all together.

You keep reading because you just know you’ve got it all figured out but then you don’t. I definitely recommend this story for anyone who likes a good mystery.

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Excellent read! I liked getting to know all seven women and couldnt wait to see how this was going to play out. Highly recommend! What a great debut! Will definitely read more by this author.

thank you to net galley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.

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This book was a fun read, if a little far-fetched. One murder, seven suspects and a plot that intertwines them, and the investigating detective, in clever ways. The narrative bounces around among each of the women with a possible motive to want the victim dead, how they came to know the victim, and how they all pulled together to share their experiences. Initially I thought the setting of the turn of the millennium would have a deeper meaning, but, if everyone had a cell phone some of the plot wouldn't work, so I think that's why it's set when cell phones weren't ubiquitous. Even so, it's a good read, and the final reveal is a surprise even when several of the suspects have been ruled out. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Fast paced and full of suspense, Speak of the Devil was a great read. Seven women are all linked together by their hatred of one man, Jamie, whom one of them has killed. All have motive, but which one killed him?
I loved the character development of all these women and how by the end, I detested this man so much that I really didn't care who had done it and hoped they'd get away with it. A really good whodunit. Very well written.

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Debut author Rose Wilding has constructed an amazing story that’s compulsive, unsettling, disturbing and un-put-downable! Set in Northeast England, the tale begins on New Year’s Eve 1999 in the top floor of a hotel as seven women surround a head without a body, which will later be found on a stack of bibles, the top one opened to Leviticus 24:19 about “eye for an eye”.

Seven separate POVs plus the detective out to solve the case at first seems daunting. I admit I started a notepad as I learned all their names and tried to match them with the publicity materials that say The Wife. The Widow. The Ex. The Journalist. The Teenager. The Mother Figure.The Friend. Some were obvious and I eventually concluded that the wife and the widow were the same person (and never could figure out an easy sobriquet for Olive). The head, however, could be nicknamed The Adulterer. The Kidnapper. The Rapist. The Murderer. The Plagiarist. The Animal Torturer. The Pedophile. Deserving of his fate (I went overboard at this point: who cooks for his lover who hates mushrooms, and tells her to just pick them out, and then goes into a snit when she does?); he’s the probable victim of one of the seven who, even though they’ve been meeting in a sort of Jamie’s Victims support group, suspect each other, support each other and acknowledge murder was in each of their hearts.

I admit the 8 POV structure seemed hard to pull off, but Ms. Wilding did it. The uniting POV is the detective’s — we learn as much about her and her ties to some of the victims as she interviews each suspect she discovers. Nova is the best character — someone who understands how women become marginalized even when they seek police help. Nova has been trying to fix the system from the inside for a while, but realizes she’s coming up short. I honestly did not figure out who the murderer was until near the end (overlooking a huge clue in the beginning). Be aware that the ending was abrupt — I would have preferred an epilogue. 4.5 stars! A terrific first novel.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a free advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review!

Literary Pet Peeve Checklist:
Green Eyes (only 2% of the real world, yet it seems like 90% of all fictional females): NO One would think with seven women, the odds would be high that someone has green eyes, but this author almost never describes anyone’s eye color (Maureen has blue eyes).
Horticultural Faux Pas (plants out of season or growing zones, like daffodils in autumn or bougainvillea in Alaska): NO And it’s lucky that the pond has koi who keep the waters murky

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This one grabs you from the start with a severed head in the center of a run-down hotel room with seven women gathered around it. Where's the body? Who killed him? The seven women all know this man, Jamie, and had been hurt by him in one way or another. Many of them loved him at one time, but now hate him. Apparently he was a very charming manipulator.

This was a rather dark read that started out with a lot of promise, but then slowed quite a bit. Although the story was interesting, it didn't evoke a lot of feeling on my part. I would have liked more character development. The women are all very different it seemed to me, so I still wonder how Jamie chose his women. Ultimately this is a story of power and manipulation and revenge.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books through Netgalley for an advance copy. This book will be published on June 13, 2023.

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We've all witnessed stories about women who've been scorned, be they books, movies, video games, TV shows or what have you. It's an age old trope, and something that is sometimes very poignant, especially in today's post-Me Too culture. It's also something that will likely never disappear from popular culture or fiction in general.

Speak of the Devil by Rose Wilding is one such tale, in which seven scorned women come together to discuss and disparage one man who negatively affected all of their lives. It's a story of how one awful, abusive, mean spirited and selfish person can impact many others, and it doesn't end well for Jamie Spellman. In fact, the book begins as the seven women congregate inside of an old hotel suite turned storage room, and soon discover that Jamie's head is sitting on a stack of Bibles in the middle of their circle. He's dead, and not only that; he's been beheaded, too. The question is: Who did it?

Unlike other thrillers, this particular novel doesn't become a murder mystery from the start, and doesn't take the form of a typical one. In fact, the majority of its pages are devoted to the women in question and their dealings with Jamie. Interwoven within is the plight of a female detective, who's trying to solve the case while also having romantic feelings for one of the seven.

There's Maureen, who raised Jamie until he was fifteen because her sister passed away while delivering him. However, the two never had a close bond and Maureen always kind of hated the boy. Then, there's Sarah, a bisexual alcoholic whose life was greatly affected by her meeting Jamie and getting into an abusive relationship with him. They're joined by Kaysha (who Jamie preyed upon) and several other women whose lives would've been a lot better if they'd never met Mr. Spellman or been enchanted by his good looks and manipulative personality.

As such, Speak of the Devil is part women's fiction and part mystery of sorts. By reading it, we learn information about these ladies and their reasons for detesting Jamie and perhaps even wanting him dead. However, I didn't feel like it was as cohesive a reading-driven investigation as it could've been, and found things muddy. Simply put there are too many cooks in the kitchen here, meaning too many vantage points and too many individual stories. While I like the premise and enjoyed parts of the book, it was hard to keep track of everything because there were several different womens' stories to read and all of their 'voices' sounded the same.

As expected, there were characters who I preferred reading about and others that I wasn't too keen on learning more about. It was also occasionally difficult to parse what was being said, because Speak of the Devil is filled with lots of -- what I thought was -- Scottish slang. I was wrong, though, because while the author never seems to state which city everything takes place in, a lot of it does occur around the Tyne Bridge, which is apparently in a part of England. I never would've guessed, though, because the incredibly strong, common and (only occasionally) hard to parse slang seemed so Scottish.

I never did truly connect with this book, and found myself rushing through it to get it done so that I could review it and move on to something else with my second NetGalley book. It's too bad, because I feel that the premise is strong enough to have supported a better book, but the way this one was written wasn't interesting or unique enough. Given how difficult it was to keep the characters straight, and how similar their voices were, I feel that the author hurt her own book. The writing is fine, but it doesn't stand out and isn't unique enough to carry seven different voices, which really limits this novel's quality and appeal.

One other thing that doesn't help is how rushed the ending feels. The resolution wasn't very strong, nor did it feel realistic. Things were also summed up very quickly after a lot of lead up.

When I requested Speak of the Devil, I did so based on its eerie cover and dark premise. However, I didn't enjoy the experience of reading it nearly as much as I'd hoped. After all, I want to like every book I read and don't like giving bad reviews. In this case, though, I must be honest and can't hide how I felt when I'm supposed to review it.

At the end of the day, this is just an OK at best read.

This review is based on an early digital copy we were provided with through NetGalley. Thank you to that site, as well as St. Martin's Press and Minotaur Books. Receiving a free copy did not sway our opinion.

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Speak of the Devil was an interesting read following a group of women who were all connected by one man, who turns up dead on New Years Eve 1999. Throughout the book, we follow each of their stories and experiences with Jamie, the man who connects them all.

One thing I really liked about this book was the subtle representation. We had a trans woman, a couple lesbians, older women, younger women. And none of this was too obvious, but the discussions around the issues these groups face were still powerful. The other thing I liked a LOT was that I had the hardest time predicting where the book was going to go until the last 10%.

Since this takes place at the turn of the century, it was weird to me to be thinking they would be using more modern things to communicate and navigate, only to be reminded it isn’t modern. That was really the biggest thing that threw me off. Also, please note, this book does have a lot of discussion of sexual assault. Which in and of itself is not a problem at all, but I personally have been reading a lot of books with this issue being addressed without me realizing, and I’m getting a bit burnt out on the subject. However, I think this book did handle it well.

Overall, this was a 4 star read for me and I did enjoy it!

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7 women sit in a circle. The centerpiece is a gory head. Each woman is connected to, and has trauma associated with, the beheaded, Jamie Spellman. Speak of the Devil unravels the complex, interconnected stories of each woman and her relationship with Jamie. It is a wild ride.

While there are a lot of characters and storylines, I had no trouble keeping track. Each woman's story has enough to differentiate it from the last. And each woman is easy to care for, as Jamie's character becomes more and more obviously devil-like.

This is a painful story, but also a thrilling one. I was eager to find out what happened. How did Jamie die? Who finally took their revenge and killed him? What happened to reach that point? And will the killer be able to evade the law? Because I really wanted them to evade arrest and conviction. So what made the story painful? So much trauma. Domestic abuse, gaslighting, violent rape and assault, murder... the list goes on. Jamie Spellman is a villain in every sense of the word. In some ways, the gaslighting described is the worst part--watching him turn people against themselves and their loved ones.

Overall, this is a unique story. Well-told. Hard-to-put-down. I really enjoyed it (although I always struggle using the word enjoy on something like this!). Highly recommend. Thank you to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Speak of The Devil was an atmospheric, dark, unpredictable story filled with unreliable characters and a fun plot!

I was hooked to this book from page one! I liked how we had a lot of different narrations allowing for multiple povs. I was happily content trying to figure out who the murderer was & extra happy that the victim was murdered- what a terrible human he was.

The story was great & 100% reccomend. Would’ve been 5 stars but - one complaint too much anti-police narration , all police are terrible dialogue- which I found annoying, false & honestly too political.

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Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me a copy to read I enjoyed the book but I wouldn’t go out and purchase. I would rate it 3/5 stars.

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I had high hopes for this book and it started out great. Seven women sitting in a circle in a room with a man's severed head in the middle. They all know him and have some sort of history with him and one of them murdered him.

I thought "wow, this is going to be good". it was meh. I read the book but there were so many characters that I was thinking I didn't really care who killed him because he was an awful person.

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I loved this story! The plot kept me guessing and I didn't figure out the ending. LOVE! I finishished in one weekend. Would reccomend!

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“Speak of the Devil” is by Rose Wilding. I liked the opening chapter of this book - hooked me in hard. I found what the main male character did to the women in this book to be — well, deplorable and horrible aren’t strong enough words, but they’ll have to do. I did find trying too keep track of who was who and all that a bit difficult (like another reviewer, I had to make notes). This wasn’t an easy book to get through (it’s a rather heavy read).

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