Review: Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans


Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans
Shake the Devil Off: A True Story of the Murder that Rocked New Orleans by Ethan Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I became interested in the story of the murder of Addie Hall and suicide of Zack Bowen after watching the television show, Final Witness. I had a few questions after watching that program and I thought that maybe this book would answer them. While a few were answered, I found myself with more questions.

The book says that it is about the murder, but when I read it, I found that it was more about Zack, his history in the military (including fighting in Iraq), how he dealt with his past once he got to New Orleans, and what New Orleans was like after Katrina and after the murder-suicide. Information regarding Addie was sparse. When she was mentioned, it was often in a more negative fashion. Her mental health problems were ridiculed, while Zack’s were treated with compassion. That was rather disheartening to me.

I hated that the book was billed as being about the murder, but really had very little to do with it. It almost felt like a very long op-ed piece about how the military failed veterans and how the government failed Katrina victims. While those topics are important and are worthy of discussion, they weren’t really as pertinent to the story of Addie and Zack as the writer made them. If he had looked into her past and done as detailed of an investigation of why she was the way she was, then he might have been able to provide a better picture of why the murder happened. Instead, his presentation of his research ended up feeling disjointed and unfocused.

View all my reviews


About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.