Little Deaths: A Novel by Emma Flint

Little Deaths: A Novel

byEmma Flint

Kobo ebook | January 17, 2017

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A WASHINGTON POST BEST THRILLER/MYSTERY OF 2017
A PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST BOOK OF 2017

"Riveting."---People magazine

It's 1965 in a tight-knit working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, and Ruth Malone--a single mother who works long hours as a cocktail waitress--wakes to discover her two small children, Frankie Jr. and Cindy, have gone missing. Later that day, Cindy's body is found in a derelict lot a half mile from her home, strangled. Ten days later, Frankie Jr.'s decomposing body is found. Immediately, all fingers point to Ruth.

As police investigate the murders, the detritus of Ruth's life is exposed. Seen through the eyes of the cops, the empty bourbon bottles and provocative clothing which litter her apartment, the piles of letters from countless men and Ruth's little black book of phone numbers, make her a drunk, a loose woman--and therefore a bad mother. The lead detective, a strict Catholic who believes women belong in the home, leaps to the obvious conclusion: facing divorce and a custody battle, Malone took her children's lives.

Pete Wonicke is a rookie tabloid reporter who finagles an assignment to cover the murders. Determined to make his name in the paper, he begins digging into the case. Pete's interest in the story develops into an obsession with Ruth, and he comes to believe there's something more to the woman whom prosecutors, the press, and the public have painted as a promiscuous femme fatale. Did Ruth Malone violently kill her own children, is she a victim of circumstance--or is there something more sinister at play?

Inspired by a true story, Little Deaths*,* like celebrated novels by Sarah Waters and Megan Abbott*,* is compelling literary crime fiction that explores the capacity for good and evil in us all.

Title:Little Deaths: A NovelFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:January 17, 2017Publisher:Hachette BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316272493

ISBN - 13:9780316272490

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointing Little Deaths was inspired by a true story and takes place in Queens, New York City in 1965 with the noise of the World's Fair in the background of a sweltering summer.  The story focuses on the dysfunctional family of Frank and Ruth Malone, recently separated, and their two children, Frank Jr., 5, and Cindy, 4. Ruth's father, who she adored, died when she was still in high school and her relationship with her mother was rocky to say the least.  Marriage seemed her only way out of a miserable situation and she couldn't wait to finish high school, marry Frank and make her escape.  She felt it would make her secure — which it did for awhile.  Once it no longer did, she asked Frank to leave their apartment and she looked for security elsewhere.  A 26-year-old cocktail waitress, Ruth often came home with company, drank too heavily, and gained a certain reputation.  She was, however, a devoted mother who provided love, time, and routine for her kids.  The book begins on July 12th as we follow Ruth's routine — a day like any other.  The 13th begins the same way and then, without warning, everything goes awry.  When she unlocks the kids' bedroom door, they're gone!  Panic sets in immediately. Flint paints a picture of a lonely, scared, insecure mother who grieves in her own way, while the police, neighbours, and even reporters, see an alcoholic tramp who seems to have not shed a tear over her children who turn up dead — Cindy that very day and Frankie more than a week later.  They already have her convicted; they just have to find the evidence.  Pete Wonicke of the Herald begins with the same attitude but slowly sees a different person emerge.  His own convictions of what is right or wrong will be challenged before the story is over. At the beginning of this story, I was rather put off by some of the language and questioned whether I would like the novel or not.  As I got further into it, it became a compelling read up until the trial.  While we probably all accept that corrupt cops are a part of our police history (and hope that such things no longer exist today although that may be naive), it seemed to me that the trial itself was unrealistic.  The prosecutor's summing up in particular, saying he had proven this and that, was totally bogus as he had not proven any such thing and the most damaging evidence had been refuted completely.  Having said that, the solution to the killings came as a total surprise but then it all ended rather abruptly.  All in all I had mixed feelings about the book but found it generally disappointing.
Date published: 2018-06-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from What a struggle. I had to drag myself to the end of this story. It started off as a great mystery. A single mother is accused of murdering her two young children. It has all the elements of a great mystery but it was so slow. I wasn't interested in any of the characters and I lost interest before I was even halfway done. I forced myself to finish but let me save you the pain. Don't.
Date published: 2018-01-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Could not finish This was a slow book. I struggled to keep reading. Lost interest.
Date published: 2017-04-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Starts off strong but nothing to write home about While this book is one of 2017s most anticipated books, I was left disappointed and dissatisfied. Little Deaths focuses on Ruth Malone, a woman who defies gender norms while living in Queens, New York during the mid 1960s. Ruth is an attractive woman who is never seen without heels and her face made up, she works as a waitress and has Intimate relationships with different men while fighting for custody for her two children and then subsequently trying to prove her innocence in the murder of her two children. Ruth is not a woman that people in her neighborhood sympathize with. To the community of Queens she is seen as neglecting her children and being seen with different men while trying to work and support her children. She lives a life she was never meant to live...she gets married and has a family by the time she is 26 but what she really craves is freedom and to be cared for a man who treats her well and loves her but is instead bogged down by the realities of being a mother while working a dead end job. The beginning of the book jumps into the abduction and later murder of Ruth's kids. While the novel starts off strong, Ruth is considered a suspect in her children's death but not a main one. Instead, the novel gets distracted with Ruth's past lovers and a news reporters obsession with Ruth and her case. Ruth's estranged husband is not even considered a suspect and until a major plot revelation in the novel. These distractions weaken the novel and bore the reader in contrast to the fast pace start and end of the novel. The novel focuses on Ruth provocative lifestyle and she is misunderstood by those who see and witness what she does everyday.
Date published: 2017-03-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Hard to finish #plumreview I didn't really like the style of writing and I found it difficult to stay interested in the story. Most of the characters were unlikable and I didn't really care what happened to them.
Date published: 2017-02-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Based on an actual case Little Deaths is Emma Flint's latest novel. Flint professes that "Since childhood, she has been drawn to true crime stories, developing an encyclopaedic knowledge of real-life murder cases. She is equally fascinated by notorious historical figures and by unorthodox women – past, present and fictional." Those interests are put to good use in Little Deaths. The novel is a fascinating blend of literary mystery, character study and social commentary. Set in 1960's blue collar New York. Ruth Malone is a single working mother of two. She works nights as a cocktail waitress - and yes, she exploits her looks and her body for extra tips. And even when not working, she likes to look good. And so what if she unwinds with a drink now and then. Sex is not a taboo word for her either. Except that one morning she wakes up and her children are missing. Gone. And Ruth's lifestyle, demeanor and attitude all factor into the police's opinion of what happened. The reader knows from the first pages that Ruth is in prison. Flint takes the reader back through the investigation, vilification and conviction of Ruth. Her clothes, her drinking, her carousing, her not behaving 'as she should.' The glimpses into Ruth's past, mind and thinking are fascinating and go far to explain who Ruth is - and why she wears 'armor.' I was sickened by the police investigation, the bullying of the lead officer, the newspaper's bias, the certainty by most of the neighborhood that she is guilty. One reporter doesn't believe she is guilty though and makes it his mission to clear Ruth's name. While Ruth is not perhaps a likeable character, my sympathies were in her corner. And as I read, I realized that really, nothing has changed. Social and public judgement is still there, but has changed venue - appearing online everywhere. Thought provoking for sure - what would be your thinking? Was the ending what I expected? No, not quite. But it absolutely fits. Little Deaths is based on the actual case of Alice Crimmins. Little Deaths is another of Entertainment Weekly's Most Anticipated Books of 2017.
Date published: 2017-02-06