The Devil All the Time by Michael Crawford is the eighth of the twelve books that comprise the series of Michael Crawford's best selling The Devil Is in Your Blood. A high school student, Michael is determined to protect his family in a corrupt town full of questionable characters and corruption. The story begins when Michael receives a disturbing phone call from a man who tells him that his mother has been murdered. Michael has just enough time to gather all of his belongings before the police arrive to take custody of his property before things get any worse.
But when Michael meets up with the man who was once his mother, he learns that the man who killed her is the only person who can save her soul and save his own. He tells Michael that he will do anything to help the teenager overcome the demons that have plagued him since birth. This is where Michael's search for meaning takes a turn, because now he is faced with an even greater challenge that can spell doom for the boy who was once innocent.
What follows throughout The Devil All the Time Michael's attempts to discover his purpose and destiny. For the most part, he seems to be on a constant quest for meaning. His quest is not only an attempt to find the answers to the questions that torment him, but it is also a quest for self-discovery. While he might have an excuse as to why he is looking for meaning, many readers will question the logic behind his decision. One of the questions that comes to mind when I think of Michael Crawford is the following: is there a point to the entire story?
Michael does find a purpose for his actions and the way in which he lives, but that is a completely different thing than finding a purpose or meaning to everything. His story, while quite entertaining, fails to live up to its potential due to the fact that its central character is not given enough depth to become interesting. This lack of depth leads the reader to question if he is actually that important or is the story just a way for Michael to make himself look good and act like a good person. If this were the case, the author should have been more concerned with the inner conflicts within Michael's heart instead of making him an object of pity to the reader. Instead, the story becomes more like a comedy than a tragedy. It becomes a show that is meant to be enjoyed by all those who wish to see what happens to this boy.
It is possible that The Devil All the Time could have been a much better book had it focused on the conflicts within Michael's mind and heart rather than focusing on his physical actions. Instead of spending all of its time on the story, the writer could have used the same amount of time detailing the mental and emotional issues that are causing this boy to act the way that he does. It would have given the reader a chance to see him in his mind before he acted the way that he does. By the end of the book, it would have given us a better insight as to what makes Michael tick and learn something about his character.
Despite its many flaws, The Devil All the Time is still a great read for all ages. There are no plot holes or unbelievable events that throw off the reader's ability to enjoy the book. Michael's actions are a catalyst for his journey, but the book is much more than that.