Sunday 9 July 2023

Speak of the Devil - Rose Wilding

Seven women stand in shock in a seedy hotel room; a man's severed head sits in the centre of the floor. Each of the women - the wife, the teenager, the ex, the journalist, the colleague, the friend, and the woman who raised him - has a very good reason to have done it, yet each swears she didn't. In order to protect each other, they must figure out who did.

Against the ticking clock of a murder investigation, each woman's secret is brought to light as the connections between them converge to reveal a killer.

An addictive feminist thriller about love, loyalty, and manipulation, Speak of the Devil explores the roles in which women are cast in the lives of terrible men . . . and the fallout when they refuse to stay silent for one moment longer.

What did I think?

I didn't realise Speak of the Devil was set in Newcastle until I started reading, so I was delighted with the local setting of Rose Wilding's fabulous debut novel.  I love books set in my native North East and this one is an absolute cracker!

The story begins on New Year's Eve 1999 but there's one man who won't see in the new millennium.  Jamie Spellman's severed head greets seven women when they gather in a hotel room but nobody is shedding any tears over his death.  They all had very good reasons to kill him as I think he is the most vile man ever to have been created in a fictional novel.

The story is told from each woman's perspective, as well as from the point of view of the detective who is investigating his murder.  It's a book that has you constantly questioning 'whodunnit?' whilst getting more and more furious at the way Jamie has treated all of the women in his life.  It really could have been any of them and as each one's story is revealed, I really couldn't blame them either.

I absolutely love the way that Rose Wilding incorporates the Geordie accent into speech within the book; it's done brilliantly and really brings the book and the characters to life.  It really is a fantastic debut novel (I had to double check it actually was a debut as the writing is so accomplished).

Dark, twisty and fury-inducing, Speak of the Devil is a powerful feminist thriller from a magnificent debut author who is heading straight onto my watch list.  A highly recommended read and one that would be brilliant to discuss at book groups.  #WeWillSpeakOfTheDevil

I received a paperback copy to read for the Tandem Collective readalong and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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