SPEAK OF THE DEVIL by Joe Gores

SPEAK OF THE DEVIL

14 Tales of Crimes and Their Punishments

KIRKUS REVIEW

Fans of Gores’s peerless DKA Associates p.i. procedurals (Contract Null and Void, 1996, etc.) will want this collection of 14 reprints (1958—91) no matter what. Others should be warned that although Gores is the master of many voices and formulas—from hipster (“The Second Coming,” about two cool cats who want to witness an execution) to sci-fi (“The Andrech Samples,” whose heroic couple struggle to protect a baby whose birth is a crime), from Twilight Zone (“Quit Screaming,” whose hired killer ventures a little too deep into a Florida swamp) to affectionate parody (“Sleep the Big Sleep”—a nerdy wannabe shamus gets his shot at a big case)—most of the stories here expertly embody their formulas rather than transcend them. Gores-watchers won’t be surprised that the stories most limited by their conventions are the whodunits (“Plot It Yourself”) and the portraits of cunning killers (“Watch for It,” “Killer Man”), the most satisfying the stories that pull off utterly unexpected surprises (“You’re Putting Me On—Aren’t You?”) or that make do with no surprises at all (the Edgar-winning “Goodbye, Pops”). All in all, the collection demonstrates the variety of Gores’s pitches while reminding you that he kept his best stuff for his novels.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7862-2035-X
Page count: 200pp
Publisher: Five Star
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1999




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