The Devil and the River by R.J. Ellory
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Devil and the River” as Want to Read:
The Devil and the River
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Devil and the River

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  579 ratings  ·  86 reviews
When Sheriff John Gaines is called to the riverside, it is to supervise the recovery of the body of a teenage girl. The corpse is perfectly preserved, she could have died yesterday. But the locals of Whytesburg are in for a shock. For Nancy Denton, missing for two decades, has come back to them from the cold embrace of the riverbank.
Paperback, 418 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Not Avail
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Devil and the River, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Devil and the River

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  579 ratings  ·  86 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Devil and the River
Manuel Antão
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Eloquent Writing: "The Devil and the River" by R. J. Ellory


First something about Ellory’s writing style. Ellory is a master at describing everything in very visual terms. To me it’s what gives identity to the writer’s voice, ie, it’s what distinguishes their writing. How can we achieve this visual style? For starters by using physical references; they’re the main elements that pull me into a Story because it allows me to be immersed i
...more
Kendall
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
A teenage girl is found brutally murdered half submerged in mud by the river. Sheriff John Gaines starts looking into missing persons reports since she cannot be recognized. What a shocker to find out that this girl has actually been missing for 20 years! But, it looks like it's been only days. How can that be?!

As he begins his investigation, Sheriff John Gaines finds there is so many lies and secrets that have been buried.

I have to say I was not that impressed with this mystery. I feel like i
...more
Linda Strong
A teenage girl is found partially submerged in mud. She has been brutally murdered. Sheriff John Gaines immediately starts looking at any missing persons reports as no one recognizes her. Imagine his surprise when he learns that this girl went missing 20 years ago. She is perfectly preserved, looking as though it's only been days instead of years.

As he begins his investigation, he finds that there are decades of lies and secrets that need to be unearthed. The truth doesn't always set you free.

Th
...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Sometimes the mind slipped its moorings.’

One summer evening in 1954, sixteen-year-old Nancy Denton walks into the woods of Whytesburg, Mississippi. She is never seen again, yet her mother still waits and hopes that she will return home. Two decades later, a young woman’s well-preserved body is unearthed from a riverbank. She has been brutally murdered. But by whom, and why? Sherriff John Gaines investigates. John Gaines has his own demons to face, and much of the first half of the story involve
...more
Gianna Lorandi
Having loved A Quiet Belief in Angels I was looking forward another RJ Ellory book but unfortunately this one didn't grab my attention as much. Found the plot and characters a bit flat.
There's too much Vietnam war back story which it was probably nice to some people but I wasn't in the right frame of mind for it.
...more
Mike
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On a summer evening in 1954, a sixteen-year-old girl named Nancy Denton walked into the woods near her home in Whytesburg, Mississippi. Twenty years later, on July 24th, 1974, a heavy rainstorm caused the riverbank to crumble revealing Nancy's almost perfectly preserved body... so begins The Devil and the River by R. J. Ellory.

The main focus of the story (at least in the first half) is Sheriff John Gaines, something of an outsider, trying to piece together what happened long ago. Trying to sepa
...more
John Herbert
I'm totally biased towards the books of R J Ellory.
Each new book from him is like an event, one NEVER to be missed.
Yet again another intriguing tale - girl aged 16 goes missing in 1954, found dead on a riverbank 20 years later - found by sheriff John Gaines, a man suffering from post Vietnam hangup supreme.

Not only do you follow the sheriff's moves towards uncovering this and several other mysteries, you virtually live in his socks, as you suffer with him again and again the Vietnam stuff and th
...more
Lisa
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
This improved as it went along. But like other readers mentioned, it dragged due to the excessive and unnecessary references to the Vietnam War.

The plot was solid, but the book started out extremely gory. I loved the sheriff, the main character. The ending was great. 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars.
Leah
Jun 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2013
Lies and corruption...

A young girl disappeared from the small town of Whytesburg, Mississippi, 20 years ago - a runaway, or so it was thought. But now, in 1974, a fierce storm has disturbed the mud at the river and Nancy's perfectly preserved body has risen to the surface. Sheriff John Gaines is a man who has seen a lot of horrors in his life, mostly during his tour in Vietnam, but he's shocked to see that the girl's body has been horribly mutilated. Still fighting the demons of his own war memo
...more
Beau
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love anything written by this man, another cracking read. Fell a bit in love with John Gaines
Peter Wilson
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I believe this guy is the best crime/thriller writer around.He never disappoints and it's always a true pleasure to read any of his novels. ...more
Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller
Let’s get the bad news about THE DEVIL AND THE RIVER out of the way before we get to the good news. Ellory, who is an unheralded master of thriller and mystery fiction, gets in his own way too much and too often here.

One of Elmore Leonard’s rules of writing was to edit out everything that reads like writing. If Ellory had followed that rule in his latest effort, it would be about a hundred pages shorter. It’s not that those pages are poorly written. In some instances, they contain some of his fi
...more
Bookreporter.com Historical Fiction
Let’s get the bad news about THE DEVIL AND THE RIVER out of the way before we get to the good news. Ellory, who is an unheralded master of thriller and mystery fiction, gets in his own way too much and too often here.

One of Elmore Leonard’s rules of writing was to edit out everything that reads like writing. If Ellory had followed that rule in his latest effort, it would be about a hundred pages shorter. It’s not that those pages are poorly written. In some instances, they contain some of his fi
...more
Richie Garner
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A story about a dysfunctional Southern family and the small town Sheriff, struggling with the scars of PTS after Vietnam.

Sheriff John Gaines simply won’t be frightened away from his investigation by old Southern money after the preserved body of a murdered teenager is found.

This story has a Grisham type plot feel to it that delivers for 75% of the book but occasionally loses its way.

I loved the development of Sheriff Gaines character and the significance of the effects of the war in Vietnam was
...more
Renske Hoogendorp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Natasya Pawanteh
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I've never read anything by R.J. Ellory before, have only heard of him via news on his sock puppet review scandal a while back, and by chance came upon this book in an airport bookshop, and got it purely based on a whim. I'm glad I did.

This was a good story, although it took a little bit of effort in the beginning to get through Sheriff Gaines' internal Vietnam war reflections. Although maybe the twist seemed a bit obvious (and to be honest I expected it halfway through) it took nothing away fro
...more
June
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Ellory is a fantastic author. Makes you care about the characters. I don't know how he writes about certain geographical areas as if he's lived there when he's in England. Describes the hwys, towns, accents, etc. and in this case it's Mississipppi and Louisiana. Even mentions the unwanted kudzu. This book involves an unlikely group of young people of which four are extremely rich teenagers and one in his 30s. One is found dead in the smelly, sinking mud of the area in perfect condition 20 years ...more
Anne
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x-read-in-2017
I have always found R J Ellory's mystery novels to be among the best in the genre but this one seems to be a far more complex story than he has told in the past. I found it to be just a bit slow getting started but once Sheriff John Gaines receives information about the old murder of Nancy Denton, this story just keeps ramping up. It's dark and there are several dead ends in the case but Gaines never gives up in his search for justice for Nancy and for Michael Webster.

I have been a fan of R J El
...more
Zoe Radley
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow this book was a tough read not because anything was wrong with it.... it just deals with some really heavy subjects such as impacts of war on people who go and come back and what happens to communities when people disappear and it’s also about secrets and discoveries. This is an amazing and breathtaking thriller it’s made me think and pause and yes look again at the bigger picture. Love this book might read some more by him.
Larry Fontenot
Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I've probably read all of RJ's books and mostly liked them. This is a return to subject matters more closely aligned with his first novels. And as I think about his books, RJ's first several books, including The Anniversary Man and A Quiet Belief in Angels still are my favorites. But I did like this newest book. ...more
Christine
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful wordsmith. The easy flow of beautifully crafted thoughts and images lazily pulled me along a graceful exposition of plot, character and psychology. Is you decide to read it based on the "Thriller" classification, the pace may disappoint. This is not to say the pace is slow; rather, the craftsmanship lends itself to thought as opposed to emotion. Bravo. ...more
Allan Pendlebury Pendlebury
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed it. I'll look for more by this author. ...more
Sara
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
pamela
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
different plot then I normally see
Sarah Bowers
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compelling as always

Great plot, awesome characterisation. Ellory makes you feel like you are there. Small town America has never been so evocative.
Val Heed
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this story especially the reflections of the effects of war on man.
However I did work out who dunnit before the end.
Andrew
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Good start, looooooooooong finish. A dud from an author I quite like.

Two stars.
Yassi
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
No thrill here.
John Lane
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book it was full of twist and turns right up to the end
Arnie
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Everything R J Ellory writes is an experience you can get absorbed in. A perfectly preserved 16 year old girl who was thought to have disappeared twenty years earlier is found buried in a washed out riverbank. Sheriff John Gains is a Vietnam veteran trying to put his life back together after returning from the horrors of war. The dark side of the South and all it's idiosyncrasies will not make the Sheriff's life easy. There are plenty of twists and turns in this story that travels down Five Mile ...more
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Books combine R.J. Ellory 3 16 Feb 15, 2015 01:25PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Whiteout (Dark Iceland #5)
  • Blackout (Dark Iceland #3)
  • La familia grande
  • Apeirogon
  • A View Across the Rooftops
  • Beneath the Mountain
  • Hulemannen (William Wisting, #9)
  • Ce qui reste en forêt
  • Date with Malice  (The Dales Detective, #2)
  • Mount Dragon
  • Fille seule (Un suspense Ella Dark, agente du FBI – Livre 1)
  • Terminal Freeze (Jeremy Logan, #2)
  • Enquête Laramé: L'héritage de la folie
  • Closed for Winter (William Wisting, #7)
  • Have Mercy on Us All (Commissaire Adamsberg, #4)
  • The Bone Field (The Bone Field #1; DI Ray Mason #2)
  • Regards Perdus
  • Legion of the Damned (Legion, #1)
See similar books…
372 followers
Roger began his first novel on November 4th, 1987 and did not stop, except for three days when he was going through a divorce from his first wife, until July of 1993. During this time he completed twenty-two novels, most of them in longhand, and accumulated several hundred polite and complimentary rejection letters from many different and varied publishers.

He stopped writing out of sheer frustrat
...more

Related Articles

Here’s some trivia for your next vacation get-together: The concept of the summer “beach read” book goes all the way back to the Victorian...
71 likes · 34 comments