The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock Review

I wanted to love The Devil All the Time. I tried so hard to love it, and I did in the beginning. However, things fell apart pretty quickly.

Set in 1960, Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a unique cast of characters. Willard Russell returned from World War II tormented by the carnage. But the hardest thing he will ever face is the death of his wife. He prays and offers sacrificial blood, but nothing calms the cancer. Then there’s Carl and Sandy Henderson who travel the country looking for models to feature in their deadly photographs. You can’t forget to mention the spider handling preacher and his sidekick who are running from the law. Finally, there’s Arvin, Willard and Charlotte’s orphaned son, who grows up in the thick of it all.

The Devil All the Time starts well. It’s atmospheric and gritty. It has the promise of a great story. In the beginning I was hooked.

Unfortunately, the more I read the less interested I became. I could care less about most of the characters. I also thought Arvin would be more involved. He really didn’t become prominent until the end.

Basically, everything happened at the end. The pacing felt off and the payoff comes late. It just kept building and build. And frankly, I got bored. In the last few pages everything finally started to come together, but by that point I’d lost interest. I’m bummed that I didn’t like The Devil All the Time more. I had high hopes for it.

My Rating: 2/5

Purchase

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