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Publisher's Summary

Sharyn McCrumb, New York Times best-selling author of the acclaimed Ballad series, examines one of the most famous public executions in US history in her stunning and powerfully written Depression-era novel.

Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them.

Suddenly thrust into the role of primary caretaker for her family following the tragic death of her husband, Ellie Robbins is appointed to serve out his term as sheriff of their rural Tennessee mountain town. The year is 1936, and her role is largely symbolic except for the one task that only a sheriff can do: execute a convicted prisoner.

Ellie has long proven she can handle herself. But becoming sheriff is altogether different, and the demands of the role are even more challenging when she is forced to combat society's expectations for a woman. Soon enough, dark secrets come to light, and Ellie must grapple with small-town superstitions and the tenuous ties she shares with a condemned killer as she carves out a place for herself in an uncertain future.

"There is no one quite like Sharyn McCrumb. No one better either" (San Diego Union-Tribune), and her luscious narrative brings her unforgettable characters to life with the "pure poetry" (The New York Times Book Review) that defines her astounding novels. Prayers the Devil Answers combines masterful historical research and captivating folklore to make an atmospheric and suspenseful tour de force.

©2016 Sharyn McCrumb (P)2016 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

Surprising twist.

Loved the story. The narration was great. I didn't want to be interrupted while listening! Very captivating.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Sharon never disappoints

I have been a longtime fan of Sharyn McCrumb. I devour her books based in our mountains and foothills. Can't wait for the next one

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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not a mystery

I have read a lot of Sharyn McCrumb's mysteries and though this one held up to her high standard of storytelling and character development, the term mystery hardly fits. The pace was painfully slow at times. I hope this is not a harbinger of the tone and pace she plans for the next of her historical mystery series. I keep thinking I must have skipped some chapters that would have developed the missing heart of this story. The ending makes his motive for killing his wife seem to be a frivolous affair ("ain't we got fun!") while his love for his wife remained intact. It just doesn't make sense. In the end we are left with a crime not of passion but of incommunicable feelings and a drifting apart.

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Boring

I tried to like this book. I usually quit a book that I don't like but I stuck it out. I enjoyed the narrator and I hoped it would get better as I listened. But it didn't. It was a very boring book. Nothing really happened. The best part of the book was the last 30 seconds.

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No mystery here

A fine piece of writing but not the usual who-done-it we mystery/detective/thriller we , mystery fans enjoy. I did like the slow unrolling of this rural Tennessee woman's life from WW1 through her preWW2 job as sheriff.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Dull as ditch water.

If you like a story with no mystery, uninteresting people and no reason to like or care about them then this book is for you. If not look elsewhere. Try one of Sharyn McCumbs other books they are very good just not this one.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful