Book Review: Devil In The Hole by Charles Salzberg

DevilInTheHoleTitle: Devil In The Hole

Author: Charles Salzberg

Publisher: Five Star

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Format: Paperback 254 pages

Source: Partners In Crime

My Rating: 4

Summary: In the ballroom of a sparsely furnished Connecticut mansion, police find a shocking sight: four bodies lined up next to each other, three teenagers and a middle-aged woman, each lying peacefully on a blanket, each shot once in the head. In an upstairs bedroom: an elderly woman and the family dog, both of them shot as well. 

The only person missing is the husband, father, son, and prime suspect, John Hartman, who’s got a three-week jump on the police. Through the eyes of almost two dozen characters, including the neighbor who reports the crime, Hartman’s mistress, a dogged state investigator, the family minister, and some of the characters Hartman meets on his escape route, we piece together not only what happened and how these shocking murders affect the community, but how John Hartman evades capture, where he’s headed, and maybe even why he committed this gruesome crime in the first place. 

Based on the notorious John List murders and already compared to works by Norman Mailer and Russell Banks, Devil in the Hole is gripping, literate, and haunting.

My Review: 

I received this book for a fair and honest review.

This is not just a book about a crime. It’s a horrific crime that is hard to wrap your head around. What kind of person murders their family in cold blood like that? Then just simply walk away like nothing happened.

This book is not read like a documentary where the author just describes the murders, and how the town handles the shocking news. It is told in varying points of view of people that knew the husband/father John Hartman.

Although this book is fiction, it is also based on a real murder case. This book is perfect for readers who enjoy reading about true crime.


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  1. Sounds like a page turner. I can’t wait to read this one!!! Thank you for sharing your insight. Very nice!

  2. Thanks for the very kind review, Gina. I did use the actual murders as a jumping off point for the boo, because it was such a unique case, but everything after is totally imagined.

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