Hale: “The Devil all the Time” perfect for thrill seekers

EllieAna Hale

Donald Ray Polluck’s “The Devil all the Time” (2011) is an intricate web of traitorous murder schemes, complex characters  and the root of religious trauma stemming from childhood, that dares the reader to continue. 

A southern gothic novel filled with a mix of bones and bodies.

“Some people were born just so they could be buried,” Pollock writes. 

Seven parts filled with 10 individuals that all stem from the violence found in their bloodline and community. Candidly, this novel is vicious. A hyper-violent novel, filled with crude characters in a foul landscape where crimes are committed with an astounding casualness.

Pages filled with a crooked preacher, a murderous married couple seeking out their “models,” a man obsessing with prayer to the point of crucifixion, and a boy seeking redemption.   

But while these atrocities are happening, testing the reader to see if they dare read on, the under-the-skin agony of the novel begins to prevail. 

A child desperately seeking a sense of hope and normalcy. A man who is sacrificing everything to save his dying wife. And a young girl seeking love for the first time, but failing. 

A harmonious shift of brutality and beauty.

The overall novel is incredibly written and causes the reader to almost feel the pain of the characters, emotionally and physically. The reader can feel the pain of betrayal and the pain of abuse in the name of God.

“Unless he had whiskey running through his veins, Willard came to the clearing every morning and evening to talk to God,” Pollock writes, “Arvin didn’t know which was worse, the drinking or the praying. As far back as he could remember, it seemed that his father had fought the Devil all the time.”

The Devil all the time” was recently adapted into a Netflix Orginal film with big-name actors such as Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson and Sebastion Stan. 

The film that could’ve been easily separated into multiple parts was combined in a cohesive two-hour film, causing the watchers’ hearts to wrench as they watched the gruesome scenes of the book come to life. 

I highly recommend this novel to all crime readers, mystery seekers and thriller fiends on the grounds that this novel and film is bound to have your gut wrenching.