Dan Schwent 's Reviews > The Devil All the Time

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
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Nov 19, 12

bookshelves: crime-and-mystery, hick-lit, 2012
Read from November 14 to 18, 2012

Willard Russell prays over a prayer log for his cancer-ridden wife with his son, Arvin. A spider-eating preacher is convinced he can bring back the dead. A husband and wife pick up hitchhikers, photograph them, and kill them. How will all of their paths intersect?

Knockemstiff was one of my favorite books this year and I was anxious for Donald Ray Pollock to try his hand at a novel. Now I'm anxious for him to write a couple hundred more.

The Devil All the Time dips into the same well as Knockemstiff at first. I had to admit I wasn't sure about things in the early-goings, not until I saw where things are going. The stories don't appear related at all except for the backwoods Ohio setting. Not until Arvin and Leonora wound up in the same place.

The overlying theme of The Devil All The Time seems to be that you can't run forever, something Williard, Roy, Teagardin, and most of the other characters learn the hard way by the story's end. I loved trying to figure out where the various plot threads would knot and tangle together. Besides obviously reminding me of Knockemstiff, it also reminded me of No Country for Old Men at times.

By far my favorite pair of characters to follow was Carl and Sandy. Since I've been watching a lot of Dexter lately, I latched on to the duo pretty quickly. Lee Bodecker was a close second, since he was the closest thing to a common character appearing in all the various threads.

By the time the end rolled around, I wasn't sure who would live, right up until the last page. The Devil All the Time was a brutal thrill ride through the sad lives of a fistful of characters. Five stars, no complaints.
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Reading Progress

11/17/2012 page 100
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Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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Melanie Awesome book.


message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent Melanie wrote: "Awesome book."

I'm hoping I get it by the time I'm finished with the two books I'm reading.


message 3: by Anthony (new) - added it

Anthony Chavez Yeah I wanna get to this book soon too, keep earing so many great things.


message 4: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent After Knockemstiff I'm anxious to see what Donald Ray Pollock can do with a novel.


Cyndi I do not think you will be disappointed! Have your comfort items close at hand! :)


message 6: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent Cyndi wrote: "I do not think you will be disappointed! Have your comfort items close at hand! :)"

I'm not actually starting it until after Mockingjay. After the Hunger Games trilogy, I think I need to read something super-manly.


Cyndi Again you won't be disappointed. You may want to prepare a cleansing ritual for when you finish..so dark! Good reading sir! :)


Melanie I'm going to revisit this one real soon, Knockemstiff was good, but Pollock kicks some serious (bad)ass with this one.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I need to give this book another shot. I read the first hundred pages. Maybe I wasn't in the mood, but everyone just seemed really grotesque and I wasn't sure where it was going.


message 10: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent Anthony wrote: "I need to give this book another shot. I read the first hundred pages. Maybe I wasn't in the mood, but everyone just seemed really grotesque and I wasn't sure where it was going."

You should have held on for a few more pages. I didn't see where things were going until a little after the 100 page mark.


Kemper This here is some happy fun time reading.


message 12: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent Chelsea wrote: "Thank you for this great review. Can't wait to read the book."

Thanks! It's pretty dark but I liked it quite a bit.


message 13: by D (new) - added it

D thanks - i'm in the beginning of the book still, and the stories seem dijointed, wasn't sure there was a point to them all. i'll hang in there and keep going, thanks to your review.


message 14: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent Thanks for reading. I was skeptical for the first third of the book or so.


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