The 5 Most Disturbing Passages From Donald Ray Pollack’s The Devil All the Time

The 5 Most Disturbing Passages From Donald Ray Pollack’s The Devil All the Time

The words gritty, twisted, and violent aren’t usually associated with a summer novel, but then again, critical darling Donald Ray Pollack’s just-released The Devil All the Time isn’t your average beach read. Sure to march up the New York Times best-sellers list, this thriller provides a bloody and perverse ensemble of characters, including married serial killers who specialize in hitchhikers, a war veteran turned religious zealot hunting for sacrificial blood, and a sadistic preacher with a taste for teenage girls—perfect fare to take with you on your next trip to the hammock. For fans of No Country for Old Men and Natural Born Killers, we’re offering a preview of the five most disturbing moments from the grisly Southern Gothic novel that’s sure to give you goose bumps no matter how hot the weather gets.

“On one of the Solomons, he and a couple other men from his outfit had run across a Marine skinned alive by the Japanese and nailed to a cross made out of two palm trees. The raw, bloody body was covered with black flies. They could still see the man’s heart beating in his chest. His dog tags were hanging from what remained of one of his big toes: Sergeant First Class Miller Jones. Unable to offer anything but a little mercy, Willard shot the Marine behind the ear, and they took him down and covered him with rock at the foot of the cross. The inside of Willard’s head hadn’t been the same since.”
pages 12-13

“Holding the jar above him, Roy looked out over the crowd and took a deep breath and turned it over. A variegated mass of spiders, brown ones and black ones and orange and yellow striped ones, fell on top of this head and shoulders. Then a shiver ran through his body like an electric current, and he stood up and slammed the jar to the floor, sending shards of glass flying everywhere. He let out that awful screech again, and began shaking his arms and legs, the spiders falling off onto the floor and scurrying away in all directions.”
pages 27-28

“Thinking he was being affectionate, she turned to kiss him just as he plunged the sharp point deep into the side of her neck. He let go of her and she fell sideways, then raised up, grabbing frantically for the screwdriver. When she jerked it out of her neck, blood sprayed from the hole and covered the front of Roy’s shirt. Theodore watched out the window as she tried to crawl away. She only went a few feet before falling forward into the leaves and flopping about for a minute or two.”
page 36

“Even with the sacrifice of the lawyer, Charlotte’s bones began breaking a couple of weeks later, little sickening pops that made her scream and claw gashes in her arms. She passed out from the pain whenever Willard tried to move her. A festering bedsore on her backside spread until it was the size of a plate. Her room smelled as rank and fetid as the prayer log.”
page 61

“A couple of days later, Willard began picking up animals killed along the road: dogs, cats, raccoons, possums, groundhogs, and deer. The corpses that were too stiff and far gone to bleed out, he hung from the crosses and the tree limbs around the prayer log. The heat and humidity rotted them quickly. The stench made him and Arvin choke back vomit as they knelt and called out for the Saviour’s mercy. Maggots dripped from the trees and crosses like squirming drops of white fat. The ground around the log stayed muddy with blood.”
page 52

The Devil All the Time is available at booksellers and

By Tania Jachens

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