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Little Deaths

2.4 (1461)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Little Deaths.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Emma Flint(Author)

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It's the summer of 1965, and the streets of Queens, New York shimmer in a heatwave. One July morning, Ruth Malone wakes to find a bedroom window wide open and her two young children missing. After a desperate search, the police make a horrifying discovery.

Noting Ruth's perfectly made-up face and provocative clothing, the empty liquor bottles and love letters that litter her apartment, the detectives leap to convenient conclusions, fuelled by neighbourhood gossip and speculation. Sent to cover the case on his first major assignment, tabloid reporter Pete Wonicke at first can't help but do the same. But the longer he spends watching Ruth, the more he learns about the darker workings of the police and the press.Soon, Pete begins to doubt everything he thought he knew.

Ruth Malone is enthralling, challenging and secretive - is she really capable of murder?

Haunting, intoxicating and heart-poundingly suspenseful, Little Deaths is a gripping novel about love, morality and obsession, exploring the capacity for good and evil within us all.

A phenomenal achievement. Little Deaths is one of those so-very-rare accomplishments: a lightning fast, heart-pounding, psychologically resonant crime novel that effortlessly transcends genre.If you believed that literary fiction can't be a one-sitting read, think again (Jeffery Deaver)Utterly atmospheric and with style to burn, Emma Flint's Little Deaths is a novel that troubles and transfixes from its simmering first pages all the way to its searing final words (Megan Abbott)Wrenching and real and deeply moving. I fell fast and hard under the spell of this lush, moody, film noir of a novel (Chris Bohjalian)A stunning feat . . . Ruth Malone's descent into hell is a riveting tale of bad luck, heartbreak and prejudice, written with the pace of a thriller and the rich detail of a historical novel (Jane Casey)A gripping read that is at the same time deeply real. A beautifully written and realized debut. I absolutely loved it. (Kate Hamer, author of The Girl In The Red Coat)

4.4 (7944)
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Book details

  • PDF | 320 pages
  • Emma Flint(Author)
  • Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (24 Aug. 2017)
  • English
  • 3
  • Crime, Thrillers & Mystery

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Review Text

  • By Justhavingfun on 5 April 2017

    Summer, 1965, it is Queens, New York and the streets are sweltering in a heatwave. Ruth Malone wakes one July morning to find her children, Frankie and Cindy gone. The police go on to make a devastating discovery. The police see Ruth's perfectly made-up face, provocative clothing, empty liquor bottles and love letters and jump to conclusions. A conclusion further fuelled by local gossip. Tabloid reporter Pete Wonicke is sent to cover the story and at first sees what everyone else does. However the more time he spends following Ruth the more doubts he has over Ruth's guilt and he is faced with seeing how far the police will go. Ruth Malone is a lot of things but did she really murder her children?I would say I enjoyed this novel, but not a tremendous amount, however I really do not get the hype over this. At the end we are told this is based on a true case which instantly made the novel more interesting to me, so perhaps I would have liked this more if I had known that before.For the plot to work Ruth has to be a flawed character, which she is. I really could not connect to her, there were glimmers of a character that I could get on board with, but these were few and far between. Ruth as a character has to be the way she is but I did not think the other characters were developed enough to really know either.Despite all these negatives I would say I liked this novel and the plot stripped back is decent and extremely emotional but this was sorely lacking for me to have loved it.

  • By silas on 13 September 2017

    Not finished yet but good story.

  • By RatherTooFondofBooks on 26 August 2017

    I read Little Deaths earlier this year but life got in the way of me getting my review written in a timely manner. I’m now quite pleased about that as I’ve had time to really think about the book and I can honestly say that it has stayed with me so strongly.Little Deaths is a claustrophobic read; it’s set in a hot summer in 1965 and the heat feels stifling as it emanates from the page. There is a sense that the heat is intensifying the way everyone behaves.Ruth is a fascinating character; I was intrigued by her and interested in her all the way through the novel. It was shocking to see how quick everyone was to judge that she likely murdered her two children entirely based on her looks and the fact that she was a single mother, but then it seems that all women are judged harshly, and so often it’s by other women and their peers. Ruth is a very glamorous woman and she enjoys going out dancing, but her outer appearance belies how she really feels. Ruth is uncomfortable in her own skin. She has an almost fear of any kind of bodily function – she panics when she feels herself begin to perspire and her mind obsesses about people noticing. She puts on her make up in a fastidious fashion – she cannot bear to be seen without it, even on the morning she finds her children missing. Society judges that she is vain and cold, but actually her make up is her mask – she needs it on in order to face the world, in order to cope. It is so easy for society to make judgements but people are far more complex than what we can see on the outside. For me, Ruth wanting to paint her face was her way of holding herself together when her life was spiralling out of control.The way men see Ruth throughout this novel is also really fascinating. The police seem keen to see her as a scarlet woman and therefore someone who would likely have hurt her children, believing that she would kill them because they held her back from the lifestyle she wanted to be living. Then there is Pete, the young journalist, who quickly becomes fixated with Ruth and therefore believes she must be innocent. He imprints his own beliefs about Ruth onto her and begins to believe that he knows how she’s feeling. There doesn’t seem to be a man in this novel that can see Ruth as she really is – an independent woman who is doing her best in difficult circumstances. Even her estranged husband Frank cannot, or perhaps will not, see that Ruth is actually vulnerable and fragile, and that her wanting to look nice all the time is part of her defence mechanism.Although we, as readers, are seeing a lot of the story through Ruth’s eyes we still can’t be sure that she is innocent. She maintains that she didn’t harm her children or take them out of the apartment, and she that worries people are thinking that she did. I thought she was most likely telling the truth but I couldn’t be sure that she wasn’t suffering from a breakdown of some kind and that she believed she hadn’t done it when really she might have done.I don’t think I’ve ever read a crime or thriller novel before that has made me tearful. As this novel went on I felt more and more sad for Ruth. There is a moment when she feels a compulsion to buy a new dress and the way she is torn to shreds in the media for that one act made me want to weep for her. It was so apparent to me that she just wanted to look nice one more time for her babies, she wasn’t aware of it seeming inappropriate, she was just compelled to do it for them, and as a way of holding herself together. This makes sense knowing what we know about Ruth but the things that were said about her afterwards made my heart break.I actually didn’t know when I was reading this novel that it was based on a true story, so when I read this at the end of the book I was horrified all over again at what society is capable of doing to women in the way we judge. There are still so many cases, particularly when a crime is committed, where society leaps to a judgement based on how the woman looks in a way that we don’t do with men. It’s sobering to think that what happened to Ruth, or Alice Crimmins, the woman she is based on, is still happening now.This book had me completely and utterly engrossed all the way through, I begrudged real life interrupting my reading time.Little Deaths is a stunning literary thriller and I highly recommend it. I read this novel back in January and it has stayed with me all these months and I feel sure it will still be in my top books of the year when I come to compile that list in December.I received a copy of Little Deaths in exchange for an honest review.

  • By VKG on 29 August 2017

    Little Deaths is a compelling whodunnit set in the 1960s, based on a real case. It's more character led than plot led, with a focus on morality and society at that time. I'd read a lot of hype about this book and was interested to see if it lived up to expectations.Ruth Malone is a mother on the verge of divorce. She's struggling to make ends meet and wants more out of life. She's prepared to take risks to do so, going beyond society's norms, even when her children go missing. Her neighbours steer clear of her, her soon-to-be ex-husband doesn't understand her and the police suspect her of murder. Little Deaths is a fascinating look at the attitudes of disproving neighbours, intrusive press and bigoted police towards women at the time.The mystery of what happened to Ruth Malone's two young children intrigued me, with lots of twists, turns and red herrings. The mesmerising writing certainly sucked me into the story straight away. The characters felt very real and the interaction between them is what, for me, kept the story going. Ruth, in particular, was a complex character, judged by her appearance and behaviour rather than what was inside. The period setting was very well described and highly atmospheric, transporting me right into the heart of 1960s New York, with the sights, sounds and smells of city life in the summer heat.I wasn't 100% sure about the ending, feeling it was a little neat and rushed. But overall, I really enjoyed Little Deaths.


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