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Speak Of The Devil (2013)

by Allison Leotta(Favorite Author)
3.99 of 5 Votes: 4
145164485X (ISBN13: 9781451644852)
Anna Curtis
review 1: I have thoroughly enjoyed each of Allison Leotta's books, and "Speak of the Devil" is a terrific addition to her Anna Curtis series. Set in suburban Maryland, it explores a fascinating crime involving the violent gang MS-13, a brothel, a mysterious and terrifying gang leader, and a cop whose true motives remain tantalizingly unclear for most of the story. Leotta has a particular talent for writing nuanced, unnervingly likeable "bad guys," and scenes with the gang members come to life with amazing realism. Many of her readers know that Leotta, a former federal sex crimes prosecutor, writes a blog in which she breaks down the fact and fiction in "Law & Order: SVU," and her novels have a cinematic quality that is very appealing to crime-drama fans. At the same time, her writi... moreng is superb, and she manages to create believable characters-- the MS-13 members, the women working in the brothel, and Anna Curtis and her loved ones-- who come across as completely original, never stereotypes of their various roles. One of the most admirable things about the Anna Curtis series is the way it portrays women. In "Speak of the Devil," as in her other novels, even when the women are crime victims they show believable strength, realistic flaws, and unique personalities. This is an excellent book both for the crime-genre fan and for the literary fiction reader who wants a change of pace. I normally read literary fiction but I can't get enough of the Anna Curtis books.
review 2: Allison Leotta threw me at the start of this mystery by tossing in Diablo or the Devil as a main character. I smelled a supernatural character coming and they turn me off. Fortunately, she soon steered me back to reality and I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of her book. Diablo is a clique leader of the infamous MS-13 gang that has been ravaging DC and other major cities for some years. Begun in Los Angeles with roots in El Salvador, the gang is famous for violence and rape as initiation rituals. They customarily feature tattoos and a total lack of conscience, like a gang of psychopaths on the loose. The plot of Speak of the Devil concerns a federal sex crimes prosecutor, Anna Curtis and a series of murders and rapes by MS-13 members. Set in DC and its suburbs, the case seems ripped from the headlines as cases similar to the cases Leotta includes in her book have recent origins here. Complicating things is the approaching nuptials of Anna and homicide prosecutor Jack Bailey, whose wife, Nina, was eliminated by MS-13 a few years before the story begins. There is evidence that at least one policeman may be on the inside and that makes the case more complex, especially when Anna is “greenlighted” or marked for elimination by the gang. Mostly mystery but partly romance as Anna picks out her wedding dress and wedding cake and works on her bridal reception, the novel spends about the right amount of time on each though male readers may get a bit impatient with the soft stuff. The pace is excellent, the action never flags and the level of tension increases as Leotta introduces new and unexpected characters and situations when the plot threatens flagging. An excellent summer read by an author who spent 11 years in the federal prosecutors’ office as a sex-crimes prosecutor before turning to writing full-time. less
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Loetta's best book so far. A good read all the way through!
Excellent, well written and not predictable.
book 3
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