Speak of the Devil
Review: Anna Curtis, a prosecutor in the Washington DC Sex Crimes and Domestic Violence Division of the State Attorney's Office, is celebrating her engagement to homicide detective Jack Bailey when she learns that a "green light" has been placed on her, an order to a local gang to kill her on sight, in Speak of the Devil, the third mystery in this series by Allison Leotta.
A raid on a nearby brothel sparks the order. Coincidentally, both Anna's team and the MS-13 gang descend upon the brothel, but for very different reasons: the former to investigate human trafficking, the latter to engage in a night of wild sex and violence. MS-13 is run by a man known as Diablo, who has chosen to embrace his chosen identity by having horns surgically implanted in his head and filing his teeth to points. Anna turns her investigation into Diablo and his gang and when she gets too close, the "green light" was activated on her. Though she now has round-the-clock police protection, Diablo orders his best member to kill her. And if he doesn't, his second best will kill him and take his place. But Anna is struggling with coming up with sufficient evidence to convict Diablo directly … and with constant surveillance and a wedding to plan, it is almost too much for her to bear.
Speak of the Devil is a difficult novel to read at times, with scenes of violence depicted in realistic detail. The storyline is structured well enough, but excessive gang activity tends to dominate here: what makes a young teenager want to join a gang, why they stay, what their duties are to each other and most especially their leader, and what happens when they disobey: torture and death. The two principal characters, Anna and Diablo, are a little — actually a lot — larger than life, not necessarily unrealistic but definitely front and center. Jack Bailey and his daughter are prominent on the romantic side of the story, but nearly everyone else fades into the background, not really distinguishable among themselves. A fine thriller for those readers who have a high tolerance for graphic on-page pain but probably a pass for others.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Speak of the Devil.
Acknowledgment: Simon & Schuster provided a copy of Speak of the Devil for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Touchstone (Hardcover), July 2012
ISBN-13: 9781451644845; ISBN-10: 1451644841
Location(s) referenced in Speak of the Devil: Washington DC
— ♦ —
Speak of the Devil by Allison Leotta — An Anna Curtis Thriller
Publication Date: August 2013
List Price: $25.00
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites