Hawke's 'Speak of the Devil'

Speak of the Devil, the new novel by Richard Hawke, is a fast-paced story that begins with a massacre during New York City's annual Thanksgiving Day parade.

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

New York City serves as the setting for a thriller by rookie novelist Richard Hawke. It's called SPEAK OF THE DEVIL. Alan Cheuse has a review.

ALAN CHEUSE: This fast-paced story opens with a massacre among the balloons and floats of one of New York's finest events, the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. A shooter guns down civilians and cops and races into Central Park, chased by private investigator Fritz Malone, son of a former police commissioner.

Malone, a savvy tactician and a good shot, wounds and captures the shooter. But rather than immediately solving the messy multiple murder, he finds himself stepping deeper, ever deeper into a plot to hold the city hostage for millions of dollars.

Malone, telling the story in his own clear, simple way, holds the reader hostage, taking us into the heart of the police bureaucracy and police corruption and steering us from Upper Westside restaurants to Bronx convents, art museums, Brooklyn dance clubs and dens of prostitution. Good cops and bad, mean spirited psychiatrists and dull witted desk jockeys, crime savvy nuns and a flirtatious mayor make up some of the population of novelist Richard Hawke's energetic New York scene, a scene that gives us the city almost as if we're living in it for the first time, accompanied by a guide who knows it in intimate ways. Times Square never takes a night off, Malone observes as he rushes about his beloved city in pursuit of the perpetrators of the ballooning crime. Neither does this novel.

NORRIS: The book is SPEAK OF THE DEVIL by Richard Hawke. Our reviewer, Alan Cheuse, teaches writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

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