The basics: As Speak of the Devil opens, Anna is proposing to Jack. Simultaneously, detectives, armed with a search warrant Anna signed, are about to raid a brothel. Unbeknownst to them, a vicious gang, led by El Diablo, the titular devil, is also storming the brothel.
My thoughts: While it's hard to call any of federal sex crimes prosecutor Anna Curtis's case happy, this case is particularly horrid. I winced several times in the first ten pages, but Leotta hooked me from the very first page. She manages to set up a complicated story quickly, and I couldn't devour this book fast enough.
One of the things I most appreciate about Leotta's books are how much happens in both Anna's professional and personal life, both during each book and in between them. (Michael Connelly similarly ages his characters and moves storylines along quickly, and y'all know I love Michael Connelly's books.) Until this novel, while I've enjoyed the mysteries and thrills of the legal storylines, Anna is what kept me coming back. With Speak of the Devil, the mystery takes center stage for the first time, and it firmly establishes Leotta as one of the best mystery storytellers around. There's a huge twist in this story that left my mouth hanging open for minutes. It was perfectly executed and completely shocking. And where Leotta takes things after the twist are as good as the twist itself.
The verdict: Speak of the Devil is Leotta's breakout mystery. Once again, Anna is a character to root for, and Leotta moves her personal story ahead at a satisfying pace. What sets Speak of the Devil apart from her prior books is that this time, the mystery is the best part, particularly one of my favorite twists ever...across literature, film, and television. Speak of the Devil is a smart, thrilling page turner, and I hope A Good Killing (out May 12, 2015) is just as good.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 289 pages
Publication date: August 6, 2013
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Speak of the Devil from Amazon (Kindle edition.) Better yet: start with Law of Attraction. Buy it from Amazon (Kindle edition.)
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