Show of Evil by William Diehl {Book Review}

Even if you have watched the movie Primal Fear, you might not be aware of the fact that the movie is based on a book by William Diehl. It’s the first novel from his Vail/Stampler series.

I first read Show of Evil, the second book in the series, and couldn’t find the Primal Fear book so I watched the movie instead. I can’t tell you how well the adaptation is from the book as I still haven’t read the book, but I’ll add my views once I’ve gotten my hands on the book.

I still need to read Reign in Hell, the third instalment of the series.

I can’t wait to get my hands on all the books and read the series in order.

DISCLAIMER: This review could contain possible spoilers based on my opinions. All opinions and views are my own.

Book Review: Show of Evil by William Diehl #bookreview


A small town is rocked by the brutal murder of Linda Balfour. A cryptic code is left in blood on the back of her head linking her to the case of a Chicago clergyman, Bishop Rushman, who was murdered and dismembered years ago by the innocent-looking altar boy, Aaron Stampler.

Martin Vail was Stapler’s defence attorney in the Rushman case and saved him from the electric chair.

Now Vail is Chicago’s chief prosecutor and he’s facing quite the nightmare. Stampler has been locked away in a high-security institution for the past ten years, he couldn’t have possibly killed Balfour?

When another alter boy turns up dead with a similar code in blood on the back of his head, Vail realises that if it’s not Stampler, who could be committing these horrendous crimes?

Vail doesn’t just have to worry about his career coming to an end but also possibly his life.

My Opinion: Positive Thoughts

I absolutely loved this book!

It’s written in enough detail to explain the story from the previous book Primal Fear to have an idea of what has happened without overshadowing with plot of this book.

The lawyers working on multiple cases throughout the plot made it seem more realistic, raising the stress levels of the situation because they couldn’t just give one case their undivided attention.

The antagonist is portrayed so well in the book that I ended up really hating him. Written so maliciously and brutally, the whole character just gave the term ‘bad guy’ a whole new meaning.

My Opinion: Negative Thoughts

There’s a lot going on in the plot and a lot of characters to keep track of-that with still sticking to the actual story unfolding in the book. I wouldn’t say it was too much, but it did at times take my attention away with the confusion of remembering everything and everyone.


The first part of the book had a slow pace but I’m really glad I kept going because as the pace picked up, it just kept going full speed ahead. The book is filled with suspense and I like how the writer kept me guessing about who is behind the killings and why, which is only revealed right at the end. Gripping and cleverly written!

My Rating:

The book has a rating of 3.81 on GoodReads. I gave it a 5. 

This book is definitely one of my favourites!

Show of Evil by William Diehl {Book Review} #bookreview

Have you read Show of Evil?

You can purchase it here.

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