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Speak of the Devil Hardcover – October 28, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Recently, Hernandez has become as prolific as he is proficient. Besides maintaining his half of the Love and Rockets franchise, he has produced compelling original graphic novels, including Sloth (2006) and Chance in Hell (2007) as well as this book, which begins as a quirky tale about a devil-mask-wearing Peeping Tom terrorizing a bland suburban community and escalates into a grisly account of brutal serial murders. If high-school gymnast Val, her busty young cocktail-waitress stepmother, Linda, and moody classmate Paul aren’t as well-developed as we’ve come to expect Hernandez’s protagonists to be, they’re fascinating in their quiet perversity. It goes without saying that any effort by Hernandez, even a relatively minor one such as this, will be marked by deft visual storytelling and pictorial panache. If the suburban setting doesn’t provide the flamboyant vistas found in his Heartbreak Soup stories (Palomar, 2003), its B-movie milieu offers its own expressive opportunities. The worldview here may be dark and cynical, but its over-the-top violence and exorbitant body count suggest a cannily knowing, slightly tongue-in-cheek slasher film. --Gordon Flagg
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Originals (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595821937
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595821935
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,615,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Kenneth D. Kellogg on June 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I my be a little biased but I like everything Gilbert does. Each new book is a night of reading well spent.
This tale was daring and of course crazy. Sometimes I have a moment where I think, this has got to be a dream sequence. And then I find out it isn't and the story moves on to new weirdness.
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Format: Hardcover
This book begins with Val, a high school gymnast, putting on a devil mask and looking into her own window at her stepmother as she undresses. This begins a series of events as Val and her stepmother both get off on the voyeur/exhibitionist relationship. The stepmother has sex with the father with the curtains open in hopes that the Peeping Tom will come back. Val wanders throughout the neighborhood looking in on neighbors and learning their secrets. In the first half of the book, the main plot point seems to revolve around when Val will get caught as she even needs to fake an ankle injury on the balance beams in order to cover up her real injury from looking in windows.

Then her friend Tom catches her and it turns him on to the point that he decides to take on her mask and do his own peeping. This quickly leads to a creepy triangle between TOm, Val and the stepmother (who works as a cocktail waitress) that brings out the knives. Then the book takes a very grisly turn as these three go from breaking privacy taboos to breaking even more rules and living outside the norms of society in every way possible.

These characters aren't fully fleshed out and that appears to be part of the narrative. After all, many murderers when caught can never explain themselves. The history of violence is full of exchanges like "why did you kill the family? THey were home." Truman Capote stresses how the killers in In Cold Blood had a very clear and logical set of reasons for killing the entire family if you ignore the basic immorality of murdering an entire family. These characters begin as creepy people who are devoting themselves to a hobby that many have indulged in (if not purposefully - but who hasn't passed an open window and taken a look in hopes of seeing people having sex inside?) to outright murderers. It has to remain a mystery.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating and disturbing book. It has all the wonderful artistry and story-telling that one expects from Gilbert Hernandez. The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is because it really did upset me, the way it turned out. Can't say any more without spoiling it.
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