August 13, 2013

Speak of the Devil

Speak of the Devil  
by Allison Leotta
publisher Touchstone
source Publisher and Netgalley

I was first introduced to Anna Curtis, federal sex-crimes prosecutor, in Law of Attraction.   Allison Leotta, the author,  is also a D.C. sex-crimes prosecutor.   She writes what she knows, and draws us into the sordid life of the criminals.

The novel opens with a quote from National Geographic Explorer, "The Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, is the world's most dangerous gang."  

Leotta did extensive research into MS-13 for her novel.  She "spoke to police officers and federal agents, and drew on my own experience prosecuting these crimes.   ....  I try to provide an authentic glimpse into the shadowy world."  

Speak of the Devil tells about the most violent member of MS-13 in metropolitian Washington, D.C.,  Diablo, or the Devil.   He is tattooed all over, has had surgery to alter his face and his teeth filed to sharp points.  People who see him, even the homeboys in MS-13,  quake in fear.   Our heroine, Anna Curtis copes with finding Diablo and other gang members while planning her engagement and wedding.  

On a personal note:  as usual, I enjoy reading Leotta's description of DC neighborhoods because I used to live and work in DC aeons ago.   She describes New York Avenue spot-on;  it was a road I used daily in commuting to work.

Some scenes of Anna's wedding planning lull the reader into relaxation and the romance, then BAM! there's violence coupled with twists.   There are secrets.   How far will people go to protect their families?  Can people be redeemed?   

Leotta's first book Law of Attraction covered domestic violence.  The second Discretion* is about high-class call girls.     Speak of the Devil has Anna battling gang violence.   I'm  eager to find out the topic of Leotta's fourth Anna Curtis book.   And more anxious to learn more about her future personal life;  I care about Anna.  

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*Ten Rules for a Call Girl is an eShort Story prequel to Discretion.  It is available free for Kindle and Kindle apps.   If you haven't read Leotta yet,  try this short story.