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BookBrowse Reviews Speak of the Devil by Richard Hawke

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Speak of the Devil

by Richard Hawke

Speak of the Devil by Richard Hawke X
Speak of the Devil by Richard Hawke
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2006, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2007, 384 pages

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A brilliantly paced and original literary suspense debut that doesn't let go until the last page.

From the book jacket: 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. 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. 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.

Comment: Thriller writer's beware, there's a new kid in town - or should one say a new pseudonym (see sidebar)! Richard Hawke enters the over-crowded thriller market with his wisecracking private investigator, Fritz Malone, and the critics are full of praise. Publishers Weekly describes Speak of the Devil as a 'hugely enjoyable debut thriller' and comments that it's difficult to believe it's a first novel. Booklist gives it a starred review, and Kirkus Reviews welcomes Malone - a 'semi-tough, semi-slick, semi-noir son of a former NYPD commissioner. Library Journal also offers praise albeit qualified by the comment that a particular plot element was a little unlikely.

The last word goes to the arguable doyen of the thriller genre, Michael Connelly, who says, '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.'

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in January 2006, and has been updated for the March 2007 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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