Devil All the Time
Donald Ray Pollock
Absolutely hands down, without a second thought: Donald Ray Pollock’s Devil All the Time. Is it a “true” crime novel, as in a whodunnit, follow-the-cops-read-the-clues-drink-bad-coffee-and-catch-the-bad-guy? Totally not. But if you define a “crime novel” by the merits of chock-full-o-spine-ripping, jaw-slugging, omigod-that’s-terrible chain of events that degenerate with the turn of every page? Yeah. This book’s got it. Crime galore. Bad guys. A good guy who can’t help but be bad. Sinister, evil examples of humanity whose inner demons motivate their every sadistic turn and eventually lead full circle. Above all else, Pollock is a master (see the review here).