The Devil All the Time - Donald Ray Pollock

The Devil All the Time

By Donald Ray Pollock

  • Release Date: 2011-07-12
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 353 Ratings


Now a Netflix film starring Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson

A dark and riveting vision of 1960s America that delivers literary excitement in the highest degree. 

In The Devil All the Time, Donald Ray Pollock has written a novel that marries the twisted intensity of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers with the religious and Gothic over­tones of Flannery O’Connor at her most haunting.

Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There’s Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrifi­cial blood he pours on his “prayer log.” There’s Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial kill­ers, who troll America’s highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. There’s the spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick, Theodore, running from the law. And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte’s orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right.

Donald Ray Pollock braids his plotlines into a taut narrative that will leave readers astonished and deeply moved. With his first novel, he proves himself a master storyteller in the grittiest and most uncompromising American grain.


  • Dark, haunting, enthralling

    By cmh2010
    I live just over the hill from Knockemstiff and this book has been on my reading list for awhile now. I couldn’t put this book down. They way Mr. Pollock paints our little part of Appalachia is so incredible. While the story he tells is fiction you would not believe how realistic a scene he sets. To the people who read it and don’t see the point, you are missing out on the entire theme of the book. This is more than just insight into our corner of the world. It’s the most vividly painted picture of the futility of human existence I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. “Some people are born just to be buried.”
  • Worth the read

    By t.kennedy1011
    I appreciate the order in which this book is composed. The ‘full circle’ was a satisfying ending. Definitely gruesome and full of gore but I’d recommend to anyone looking for an enticing read. Didn’t rate five stars simply because I didn’t feel captured right away, took a good few chapters for me to become involved.
  • Mind blowingly great book!

    By <3Bonez
    I could not put this book down. It is disturbingly violent and graphic and terrifyingly f'n great! Read it!
  • Ok

    By Paulypinz
    Kept waiting for something to surprise me in this novel, however failed to deliver. Felt no connection with the characters as there was little development. Thanks for the insight into Hicksville USA, however I fail to find what the author's intentions were. Is it a redemption story? Not really. Is it a commentary on religion? Not really. Is it a mystery novel? Not really. Human nature? Maybe, but that's reaching.
  • Very good first novel

    By MistaH00d
    A real page turner of creepy goodness. The comparisons to Flannery O'Connor and Natural Born Killers are appropriate.
  • 100 Words or Less

    By JRubino
    Wow! The value of life sort of takes a backseat to the motivations of these characters. Oh, it’s well written. And the story keeps you involved – in more of a “What violent scene is coming now?” sort of way. So, yeah, it’s bloody and harsh, in a personal way that is especially difficult to watch. Yet, it all works. It all seems so real. That takes a talent I can appreciate.
  • Sweet

    By tobin basore
    This book is super dark twisted and entertaining!!!
  • Great!

    By SIHD
    Loved it!
  • Violent but great story

    By Peter 14
    An interesting perspective on the violence in everyday life. There's a casualness to the blood that's spilled throughout the story. Great character development .
  • Strangely addictive

    By Kitty73667
    Could not tear myself away from this book. Loved how the characters stories made a full circle and how the villeins got what the deserved!