PRAYERS THE DEVIL ANSWERS paints a realistic picture of what life was like in the Appalachian Mountains during the Depression. It certainly wasn’t easy, especially for a young widow trying to feed two growing boys like the main character, Ellie Robbins. Her husband was the town’s sheriff, and when he dies suddenly, Ellie decides to finish out his term. Thinking that the job would be mostly paperwork, Ellie is put to the test when there’s a murder in her jurisdiction, and she’s faced with carrying out the convicted killer’s execution.
Overall, I liked the book. I enjoyed how it wove traditions and history of that region into the story. I especially liked Ellie’s character and the challenges she faced as a rare “lady sheriff.” She was tough and knew how to handle herself. The book opens with a tale of a “dumb supper,” and it’s there that we meet Celia, who later becomes a schoolteacher. And then there’s Lonnie, a struggling artist who lands a job in town. Were their fates decided on the night of the dumb supper?
The plot was a bit slow moving, and the three storylines seemed to have trouble coming together, but I was still intrigued by the book (which is based on a true story). It definitely made me curious about Sharyn McCrumb’s other novels – this was the first I’ve read. 3.75 stars.
The audiobook was narrated by Candace Thaxton (a favorite narrator of mine), and she captured Ellie’s stoic, nonsense demeanor very well.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.