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Speak of the Devil

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Read Speak of the Devil by Rose Wilding

New Year’s Eve, 1999.

Seven women are gathered in a hotel room at midnight; a man’s head sits in the center of the floor. They all had a motive to kill Jamie Spellman. They all swear they didn’t. But in order to protect each other, they have to find out who did.

Time to go back to good old crime novels, including a twist (lesbians. the twist is lesbians.).

I’ve already talked about how funnily enough, I consider most crime novels uplifting, as long as the grueling horrors aren’t too detailed. Their structure is very clear-cut and they’re not taking any risks, usually, following a very neat timeline of « oh no, someone died! », « oh no, things are getting worse! » (which may or may not include other people dying, or terrible family secrets being revealed, this novel being in the latter category), and « ah, justice has been brought! » (sometimes by murdering the murderer, because crime novels support the death penalty, i guess).

You’d think that with such a cookie-cutter scenario, thrillers wouldn’t be able to surprise me.

And yet!!

In Speak of the Devil, seven women find the body. They could all be the murderer. One of them is in a weird off and on again relationship with the local cop, Woman Number 8, who will investigate the case. And the seven women agree that, whoever committed that murder, they’ll all be in trouble if they don’t all cover for each other.

Except that the cop is smart, and the others make mistakes, and thinks will slowly unravel, and by the end of the novel, we won’t be sure what is even going on anymore.

The death penalty is extremely wrong! But also, whew, I’d also behead that guy.

Loads of content warnings because this is a feminist crime novel, including a beheading in the prologue, and horrific (and impressingly diverse) forms of abuse throughout the entire story.

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