Summary and book reviews of Speak of the Devil by Richard Hawke

Speak of the Devil

By Richard Hawke

Speak of the Devil
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  • Hardcover: Jan 2006,
    336 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2007,
    384 pages.

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Book Summary

It's a beautiful Thanksgiving morning in New York City. Perfect day for a parade, and Fritz Malone just happens to have drifted up Central Park West to take a look at the floats. Across the crowd-filled street he sees a gunman on a low wall, taking aim with a shiny black Beretta. Seconds later, the air is filled with bullets and blood.

Fritz isn't one to stand around and watch. A child of Hell's Kitchen and the bastard son of a beloved former police commissioner, Fritz is all too familiar with the city's rougher side. As the gunman flees into the park, Fritz runs after him. What he doesn't know is that he is also running into one of the most shocking and treacherous episodes of his life.

Though Fritz assumed that chasing down bad guys is perfectly legal, the cops hustle him from the scene and deliver him to the office of the current commissioner, who informs Fritz that someone dubbed "Nightmare" has been taunting the city's leaders for weeks, warning of an imminent attack on the citizenry. What's worse, Nightmare has already let the officials know that the parade gunman was a mere foot soldier and that there's more carnage to come unless the city meets his impossible demands. The pols don't dare share this information with anyone–not even the NYPD. What they need for this job is an outside man. And in Fritz they think they've got one.

Racing against the tightest of clocks, Fritz finds himself confounded by Nightmare's multiple masks and messengers. The killer is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. But as Fritz's frantic investigation takes him from a convent in the Bronx to a hookers' haven in central Brooklyn, the story behind the story–complete with wicked secrets on both sides of the law–begins to emerge. As Fritz zeroes in on the terrible, gruesome truth, the killer retaliates by making things personal, forcing Fritz to grapple with his deepest fear: sometimes nightmares really do come true.

In his brilliantly paced and stunningly original debut, Richard Hawke delivers a tale of flawed and unforgettable people operating at the ends of their ropes. It's literary suspense that doesn't let go until the last page.

I

If she had known she would be dead in another five minutes, maybe she wouldn't have swatted her son so hard. That's just my guess. His balloon had been drifting into my face, that was the problem. It wasn't bugging me, but it was bugging his mother. He was a towheaded kid with a round pink face. The balloon was larger than his head. I couldn't say one way or the other if the kid was having fun, but Mom clearly wasn't.

"Ezra, if I have to tell you one more time."

She seemed to be wound awfully tight for nine-thirty in the morning. But I've never been a parent, so I'm hardly the person to judge. Maybe the kid was an absolute handful and his actions drained his mother daily of her reservoir of patience. Maybe the reservoir wasn't terribly deep to begin with. Or maybe the two were running late that morning and ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

Thriller writer's beware, there's a new kid in town - or should one say a new pseudonym! Richard Hawke (aka Tim Cockey) enters the over-crowded thriller market with his wisecracking private investigator, Fritz Malone, and the critics are full of praise.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

A loaded backstory, compelling minor characters and clever, literate writing promise great things ahead for Hawke, who crams too much into the finale. In fact, it's hard to believe this is a first novel.

Kirkus Reviews

The welcome latest addition to the peeper community is a semi-tough, semi-slick, semi-noir son of a former NYPD commissioner. ...Like most of the noir persuasion, Fritz is a confirmed ironist, but his is somehow a kinder, gentler mode.

Booklist - Allison Block

Starred Review. Hawke explores the moral high and low ground (nuns and prostitutes and pimps, oh my!) in a deftly paced debut that crackles and pops from page.

Library Journal - Jo Ann Vicarel

Read this for compelling characters and an intriguing, fast-paced plot and pick up the next book, too. Hawke has what it takes to write great thrillers.

Author Blurb Michael Connelly
From first line to last, Speak of the Devil moves with a rare combination of intrigue and intensity. Its engine runs on high octane adrenalin. Richard Hawke delivers a winner.

Reader Reviews
Melissa

Film Noir
Combination of the great reading of Paul Michael on this audio book and Hawke's writing. This was a whodunit with a great lead character. Fritz Malone, P.I., evokes the vision of an old black and white film noir - hat tilted, cigarette dangling out...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

About the author: Richard Hawke is a pseudonym of Tim Cockey, also author of the humorous mystery series featuring undertaker Hitchcock Sewell which starts with The Hearse You Came In On. Speak of the Devil is the first of his Fritz Malone series written under the name Richard Hawke. The second will be published next week (Mar 13, 2007) and was written up in the February issue of "BookBrowse Previews". Booklist gave it a starred review saying, "Hawke's smart prose, easy wit, and unforced pathos make this a great suggestion for readers mourning the loss of Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar or Stephen Greenleaf's John Marshall Tanner."

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