Read Little Deaths by Emma Flint Online


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 heIt'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....

Title : Little Deaths
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 32595029
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Little Deaths Reviews

  • Wendy Darling
    2019-03-06 03:26

    2.5 stars The first third of this book was so engrossing. A woman is accused of murdering her two children--but Ruth is not your typical mother, and she will not garner the usual sympathy, because she's always perfectly made up and she drinks in excess and she takes a lot of lovers and she's--gasp--a cocktail waitress. I was interested in this portrait of a woman who is judged so harshly by her outward appearance; for some women, careful clothes and makeup are armor used to mask what's going on inside, even during the most stressful times. But that is pretty much the only thought-provoking idea to come out of this. I have no idea what happened, except that the last two thirds of this character study got derailed by an ineffectual, not-very-bright, off-putting journalist and a terribly inept mystery that is littered with uninteresting people with half-hearted motivations and very little conviction. (Not to mention a couple of pretty spectacular info-dump interviews shoe-horned in late in the game.) There are a few brief moments when you catch a glimpse of what this book could have been through Ruth's private grief, but they come early on and are quickly forgotten. The kids' brutal (though non-explicit) murders barely register, because they're merely props like everything else. In the end, what's clearly meant to be an examination of slut-shaming and a challenge of feminine ideals still misses the mark; it doesn't really go anywhere, and both the characters and the reader leave the book unchanged. A huge miss as a suspense novel and a missed opportunity as both character study and as feminist commentary.

  • Hannah Greendale
    2019-03-22 00:28

    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.It is 1965 in Queens, New York and Ruth Malone - single mother, cocktail waitress, and purveyor of sexual pleasures - discovers that her two small children have gone missing from her apartment. Swayed by neighborhood gossip, the discovery of letters from various men found in Ruth's apartment, and a large bag of empty liquor bottles discovered in her trash can, Sergeant Devlin immediately assumes she's guilty. When police make a horrifying discovery about Ruth's children, her position as a prime suspect in the case is solidified. Meanwhile, Peter Wonicke - tabloid reporter for the Herald - is looking for a big story to make his career. He inserts himself in the investigation and uncovers evidence vital to the case, but his fixation with Ruth clouds his judgement, and the truth is at risk of staying undisclosed forever. Little Deaths is a literary crime thriller with intrigue and deceptive characters, but its shining feature is superb writing. Descriptions of even the simplest things - the application of makeup, the touch of a child's fingertips, a bite of food swallowed by a grieving mother - are both sensory and poetic. She felt her daughter's eyes on her, stroking her powdered cheeks, her sooty lashes, the sticky cupid's bow of her lips. Felt those tiny fingers like kisses, patting her skin, tugging and twisting her hair. She swallowed coffee and the nibbled corners of things and they were bitter through the grief-taste that lay thick on her tongue. Voices were muffled, finding their way down through the weight of her grief, and her throat was choked with it. Sexual desire is portrayed in subtle yet alluring ways, a testament to the butterfly touch of an author who can convey deep desire with few words. As he watched her, Ruth lowered her gaze. Moistened her lip with the tip of her pink tongue. Crossed her legs. He imagined his own name on her lips. He saw her neat white teeth flash as she formed the long-ee sound, and then heard the noise of her tongue stuck in against the roof of her mouth. Like the smallest, softest kiss. Though Ruth is a rough character - sympathetic for her agonizing and unfair circumstances, but unlikable for neglecting to feed her whimpering dog - she redeems herself as a woman who holds fast to her role as a mother. She does her best to care for her children and, when they are gone, she clings to her memories of them. Moments where her attachment to her children is conveyed are painful and hard-hitting. She stretched out a hand but Devlin was suddenly there, pulling her back. Forbidding her to touch. She opened her mouth, but the flies and the heat and the smell and the sudden awareness that this was the hair she had shampooed and combed and braided for four years made everything go dark for a moment. While not overly suspenseful, the author drops a trail of breadcrumbs - in the form of tiny inconsistencies in character testimonies and the unrelenting sense that Ruth had means, motive, and opportunity - that will keep readers turning pages. Little Deaths makes for a satisfying debut novel. -This book is a work of fiction but is based on a true story. Readers interested in learning more about the case that inspired the author to write Little Deaths are encouraged (by the author in her Acknowledgements page) to check out The Alice Crimmins Case by Kenneth Gross and Ordeal by Trial by George Carpozi Jr.

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2019-03-17 02:05

    Onvan : Little Deaths - Nevisande : Emma Flint - ISBN : - ISBN13 : - Dar 304 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2017

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-03-10 21:24

    3.5 Ruth Malone wakes up one morning and finds her two young children gone, their bedroom door hooked from the outside. Did this woman, separated from her husband, get rid of her children? The detective on the case is positive she is guilty. After all there were all those liquor bottles found in her department, most of her neighbors believe she is guilty, her lack of tears is enough proof.A young woman judged guilty because of her lifestyle, her demeanor, her attention to her own grooming, her visits to bars and the men she brought home. Judged guilty by all, except for a few. We read about this happening all the time, people judged guilty only based on appearances, police determined to get a guilty verdict at all costs. I think that is why this book worked so, well for me, I found it believable, real. Emotionally raw, intense. Well written, for the most part well plotted. A few things bothered me, but for the most part well done.ARC from publisher.

  • Susan
    2019-02-24 01:14

    It is 1965 and a sweltering summer in Queens, New York. Ruth Malone is a young mother to five year old Frankie and four year old Cindy. Recently separated from her husband, also called Frankie, Ruth raises eyebrows in her neighbourhood. Unlike the other mothers, who stand around the stoops gossiping in drab housedresses, Ruth is always well put together. The clack of her heels is a familiar sound. She laughs too loudly, drinks too much and is a little too fond of male company. Ruth is tired of her life and her marriage. She wants a better job than her current one, waitressing. The heat irritates her and so, sometimes, do her children – especially Frankie, who looks up to his father and tends to push against the boundaries. Still, Ruth knows that Frankie wants custody of Frankie and Cindy, and so she attempts to clean her apartment – slinging empty bottles in the trash . At night, she often leaves the children alone; to walk the dog or to see men. However, life goes along as usual until, one morning, Ruth awakes to find the children gone…Based on a true story, this is an excellent literary crime novel. Author Emma Flint paints a portrait of that time, and place, perfectly. You can feel the heat, the limitations that Ruth feels and, most of all, the judgement. For when the children go missing, the police look askance at the empty liquor bottles and the letters from men and draw the conclusion that Ruth is implicated in her children’s disappearance. As time goes on, all Ruth knows is to pull herself together, to paint her face and present a face to the world – even if she is crumbling inside. However, her lack of obvious emotion and grief, is simply seen as more evidence of her guilt.This story is also told from the point of view of Pete Wonicke, a young journalist who needs a break, a story. When he gets the chance to take the Malone case, he has to decide whether to write a story that sells, or write what he believes to be the truth. I really thought this was a wonderfully written novel and I think it says a lot about what the public expect to see and how judgemental they can be when expectations are not met. Although set in the mid-Sixties this is a very relevant book, which you can easily relate to more modern cases and the easy, judgemental attitudes of social media. At the end of this novel, Emma Flint outlines her next novel – I, for one, will be keen to read it.

  • Mandy
    2019-03-08 05:22

    This fictional story is based on a true case, the Alice Crimmins case.The year is 1965 and Ruth Malone finds her children missing from their bedroom. The police are convinced from the beginning that she has hurt the children, and begin to build a case against her.This book is written in third person throughout, and the reader gets Ruth's perspective, as well as a reporter, Pete, who is assigned to cover the story.When I first heard about this book, I was excited to read it. Then when it first came out, some of the reviews were not so good, so I lowered my expectations.I think that I liked it better because of this. The first third or so of this story is good. I was interested from the beginning, which is from Ruth's point of view. I was intrigued by Ruth, interested in her side of the story. The reporter, Pete, not so much. I found him a little lame, and I found my interest waning as the book went along. I also found the ending predictable, I'm afraid. I did like the writing style, and would read more from this author, I think.

  • Emma
    2019-03-05 21:28

    Ruth: mother of two missing children, drinker, whore. She is not the usual picture of grief, instead composed in the day, let loose at night. Unlikeable. Gossip worthy. People think she did it, especially Detective Devlin, desperate to convict her despite the lack of evidence. But is she guilty of murder? Or guilty of failing to live up to the male standard of female behaviour in 1965 New York? She's too free, too sexual, too alien to these men unless she performs her role as mother or slut. Even the plucky reporter hoping to save her from the world, and from herself, wants to force her into a male-defined role. Flint is staggeringly good here, sharp with her characterisation; Ruth is both distant from the reader and laid bare. It's just as hard to read about the way she is dismissed or blamed as it is to spend time in her head, she's real and she's messy.And yet that keen commentary is then overwhelmed by the sheer improbability and ridiculousness of the ongoing plot. It falls into cliche and madness. I ended up skimming whole pages of the painfully hard to read, ridiculously obsessive reporter, then the denouement felt shoved in at the end. The book started at 5 and finished at an average 3.

  • Amy
    2019-03-07 01:31

    All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.comThis book caught my eye immediately for several reasons. First, the cover is so striking in its simplicity, then the blurb is intriguing, I love that it takes place in the sixties, it’s one of my favorite eras. After I received my copy I discovered that the author was inspired by a real case and that was just the icing on the cake for me. I haven’t read a true crime novel for quite some time, but the idea of reading a book with truthful elements was so interesting to me. Ruth Malone is living her worst nightmare, both of her young children went missing and then were discovered days later murdered. Unfortunately for her, she’s the easy target for the police and her community as she’s different from her neighbors. She’s a party girl, she drinks more than is considered to be acceptable, is promiscuous and is estranged from her husband, Frank. She dresses provocatively and takes pride in her appearance and the worst part is that she doesn’t behave the way people assume a grieving mother would. Devlin is the cop working the case and he presumes she is guilty on the very night Frankie and Cindy go missing. Everything about Ruth and the person she is was frowned upon in the sixties and it was interesting to think that not much has changed as far as how many women are still judged based on the way they look today. Pete Woinecke is a rookie reporter who manages to nab this story and though he has very little direct interaction with Ruth he falls under her spell and develops an obsession with her. He believes she is guilty in the beginning but as he continues to search for answers, he wavers and wonders if she may be innocent after all. I had a similar experience as one minute I would be sure she was innocent, then the next things would flip as she said or did something that made me shake my head. The ending of this one was dramatic and unexpected and you do find out what really happened to the Malone children, but there is no real sense of justice being served. This made it all the more honest and true to life as in reality, things are often left messy and unfinished. This isn’t your traditional mystery/thriller type novel, it’s deeper than that, it has the vibe of literary fiction and I was reminded of Tana French minus the density of her work. Every word that Flint wrote serves a purpose and the result is a powerful and profound read, she’s a genuinely talented writer and storyteller.

  • Liz Barnsley
    2019-03-21 00:12

    For me, Little Deaths was a marvel of a novel. Poignant, thought provoking, beautifully written and engaging, also randomly rage inducing – I went through a spectrum of emotions reading Ruth’s story and at the end I was wrung out.Also, warning: Will cause google mania as you look up the case that Emma Flint took her inspiration from. That is also extraordinarily fascinating. I have today purchased her recommended book on the subject.Little Deaths starts with a tragedy – two missing children. I don’t think its really a spoiler to say there is not a happy ending for the tiny ones – what follows is a multi layered, insightful and scarily authentic dig around the court of public opinion, the influence of the press and the dogged determination of a police investigation headed up by an obsessed detective.Set in Queens, New York in the Summer of 1965 Emma Flint brings that time, that place, to beautiful, occasionally awful, always vivid life. You will see and hear it, find focus in the community surrounding Ruth as she faces every mothers worst nightmare. Ripples going outwards, infecting and affecting so many lives, this novel shows you all the nuances, those places inbetween, it was gripping, utterly gripping from the very first page. That did not go away.I think it should be noted that in this reviewers opinion if you are expecting a psychological thriller, a “whodunnit” then you won’t get that. Whilst there is resolution in a sense, whilst there is an element of “Did she Didn’t she” that is the peripheral of Little Deaths. Whilst still intriguing on that level the heart of it is in the characters, their influences, a snapshot of a time, a place, a judgement that one would hope we as a society would have left behind us now. We have not though as the cases glaring at us from todays headlines prove all the time.I’m back to Little Deaths is a marvel of a novel. Literary crime with a dash of eloquence and a story rooted in the truths we don’t like to think about.Highly Recommended

  • Peter Boyle
    2019-03-05 01:30

    This story felt very familiar to me. Maybe it's because it is the tenth work of fiction inspired by the infamous Alice Crimmins case. Or maybe it's the fact that every character was a cliché, every twist seemed telegraphed. I just felt like I'd read it all before.Ruth Malone is a struggling cocktail waitress in 1960s Queens, recently estranged from her husband Frank. One sweltering July night, her two children go missing from their beds. And when their battered bodies are found a few days later, the ensuing murder investigation becomes the hot topic on every New Yorker's lips. The public quickly make up their minds about the identity of the guilty party - with her late-night carousing and long string of lovers, Mrs Malone is not society's idea of a perfect mother. But one young journalist sees something special in Ruth, and will not rest until he proves her innocence.Every stock aspect of the noir novel is present in Little Deaths: the flame-haired femme fatale, the hard-nosed detective, the rookie reporter chasing his first major scoop. The plot features precious few surprises until the ending, which seemed quite improbable to me. Flint does deserve praise for capturing the social disapproval and media frenzy surrounding a woman who is tried for her lifestyle as much as her children's deaths. But overall this book feels like a stale entry in the literary crime genre, and is best avoided.

  • Richard
    2019-03-01 04:09

    A difficult read in terms of the subject matter. The murder of two young children isn't always going to be an uplifting read. However, when the matter is treated with care and an original eye a fictional account can helps us see our humanity and the frailties of life.Ruth Malone is struggling in her relationship with the children's father so lives as a single mother, working long hours as a cocktail waitress to meet the needs of the household. Ruth is a woman first and therefore in her presentation she is always immaculate. Others will judge her, feeling she puts her needs before those of her kids, leaving her home a mess while looking her best and ready to entertain men.Seen as promiscuous due to the 1960's setting in a working neighbourhood in New York. The loss of her children as they go missing on her watch, and the ultimate tragedy of them being found dead breaks her and all see can hold on to is her appearance, something others fail to see for what it is as she seeks to overcome her grief and sense of guilt.Ruth has several shady relationships in this story; a fine female friend and a strong mother but mostly a group of men attracted to her beauty but maintain their relationships for carnal pleasure. Nothing satisfies Ruth she just needs to be treated as special and loved; this appears to be how she viewed her darling children.In addition, the story is marked by a young journalist who over steps his professional boundaries as he is drawn to this femme fatale who he desires to save and be found innocent of murder. An old detective Devlin is convinced of her guilt and strives to build a case, waiting for Ruth to trip herself up or for her to confess and reveal who helped her in this horrendous crime and nature.A compelling story that seeps into your reasoning and you never feel quite ready to give up on Ruth but despair that she must know more of what happened.When she is finally arrested, and brought before a jury, no woman will sit in judgement as all are convinced of her guilty. As the evidence seems to be contrived to be against her and witnesses seem prepared to lie you wonder how far the journalist will go to save her. Did he uncover the truth among all his earlier interviews? Can his unnatural involvement and knowledge of the case find the salvation Ruth needs to avoid a guilty verdict?Tense at times, beautifully constructed and written. You feel the despair of seeking the truth by the journalist. You become frustrated by Ruth's inability to help herself or speak the truth. You are not prepared for the shocks and the lengths others will go to in this case and trial.Good courtroom drama, a wonderful sense of time and place. The writing has a rhythm that carries you along and belies the fact that this is a debut novel.

  • Blair
    2019-02-27 04:23

    I read this in one stretch, which I think was the best way for me to read it, not because I couldn't put it down, but because I could easily have lost interest if I hadn't committed to consuming it in a single gulp.A much-hyped debut for 2017, Little Deaths opens on a woman in prison, and then tells us how she got there. Ruth Malone is a cocktail waitress who lives with her young children, Frankie and Cindy. One day, Ruth goes to check on her kids and discovers they are not in their bedroom; soon afterwards, they are both found dead. We learn about Ruth from her own point of view, and also that of Pete, a journalist who becomes fixated on the case and infatuated with the woman at its centre. This is quite a slow story, an unfolding of events rather than a web of lies and surprise twists. But the same question hangs over every scene. Did Ruth murder her children? And if she didn't, what happened? What the plot reminded me of, more than anything, was the case of Amanda Knox – both the real story (fairly fresh in my mind because of the recent Netflix documentary) and the many fictionalised versions that came after it, chief among them Cartwheel, an excellent novel by Jennifer duBois. There is the same sense that Ruth is suspicious because she doesn't behave as a woman in her position 'should'. That her attractiveness in itself makes her untrustworthy. She doesn't cry; she goes shopping for a new dress the day after her daughter's body is found. She's always perfectly composed, fashionably dressed, made up. In the weeks and months after the crime, she goes out drinking and sleeps around. She seems almost nonchalant, and that angers women and disgusts men. There is a strong sense of emotional detachment throughout the book, which means horrifying developments – the deaths of the children and the reveal of their killer – lack the impact they should have. Holding a character at arm's length from the reader is always a tricky balancing act (how's that for mixed metaphors), and here, Ruth's development suffers for it. We can't know too much about her, because then we'd know whether she did it, but I think we're supposed to sympathise with her. And it isn't that I didn't sympathise with her, exactly, but she always felt like a ghost. A blank space. A person you hear about second-hand from someone else. Not a full-colour, warts-and-all character leaping off the page, making you race through the book to find out whether she's vindicated in the end. (view spoiler)[I didn't much care if she had to stay in prison. Flint perhaps gets her exterior heartlessness too spot-on in that I actually felt she (Ruth) didn't truly care either. (hide spoiler)]For me, Pete's obsession was a really interesting angle: when we catch glimpses of him from other characters' perspectives, it becomes clear his fantasy of pursuing the truth is just that, and he is, in fact, basically stalking Ruth and becoming increasingly deluded. But Pete's story is mainly told from his own point of view, and there is little exploration of his motives.Meanwhile, the most successful element of Little Deaths is its recreation of a gossipy working-class neighbourhood in 1960s Queens. I was very surprised to discover that Flint is British; the novel and its characters feel quintessentially American.While this is a decent debut novel, I can't help but feel such an emotive premise should create the sort of story that provokes stronger reactions: a plot that moves you, characters to love or loathe. It's strong on atmosphere and period detail, but, like Ruth Malone, it has an emptiness at its heart.I received an advance review copy of Little Deaths from the publisher through NetGalley.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  • ☮Karen
    2019-03-25 03:22

    The story is a heartbreaking one. A single mother of two wakes up to find her kids are gone and no clue what happened to them, that is until both turn up dead at different times. Ruth has had so many men in her life and has been drinking so much, it's possible she can't think clearly and can't trust anyone. She is thought guilty based on her attractive appearance, her aloofness to other housewives, her occupation as a cocktail waitress, her reputation for bringing men home. Poor example of a mother maybe but didn't she love those kids with all her being?One of the men interested in her is a rookie newspaper reporter who can't let the story go until he finds that one incredible clue that will help prove Ruth's innocence. He uncovers police shenanigans and a possible ex-boyfriend who could have done it. He will do anything to help her. The book starts with Ruth in prison, so how's that going to come about?This was just a bit of a slow starter for me but gets pretty intense during the investigation and trial. Then there's a Holy Sh!* ending I for one did not see coming. An excellent debut. I was given an ARC copy by a friend (Diane). :D

  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
    2019-03-13 01:12

    You read this and all of my reviews at Lit.Wit.Wine.DineI was so excited to begin this this book. I knew that it was based on a true story story but it was one I was unfamiliar with. I made the conscious decision not to do any research on the case prior to reading this fictionalized version.As you can probably tell from my rating, I had several problems with the book. The first is that it was really quite boring. It just dragged on until the very last chapters. There were several points at which I almost gave up but I kept on in the hopes that things would pick up. I was truly surprised when it did not. This is, after all, a book about the murder of two children. What I'm sure made for a very compelling news story simply didn't translate well into a novel for me.The second problem I had was related to the way the mother of the children, Ruth Malone, was described in the book. It is often mentioned that she teased her hair, wore too much make-up (her mouth was referred to as "sticky" with lipstick), dressed provocatively, wore cheap perfume, smoked, drank, etc. The picture I conjured in my head was one of a cheap-looking, garishly made-up woman. And that would have been fine except for the way men seemed to react to her. There was no man who didn't immediately fall under her spell. They were falling all over themselves to get to her. Especially Pete Wonicke, the rookie newspaper reporter assigned to her case. After a while I was just like c'mon, really?? As it turns out, Alice Crimmins, the woman who was the actual murder suspect in the murder of her two children, was actually quite beautiful. I'm not sure why the author chose to exaggerate these characteristics to the extend she did. Ultimately, it made Ruth's character less believable to me.Both the Alice Crimmins and Ruth Malone were judged to be guilty in the court of public opinion and this was one part of the book that I thought worked well and seemed very realistic. It brought to mind the cases of Susan Smith and Casey Anthony, both of which I followed closely at the time of their trials.Though this book was a disappointment to me, I would not dismiss Emma Flint as an author. In fairness, I like the way she wrote. I just didn't happen to like what she wrote in this book.2.5 starsThanks to Hachette Books for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Purple Country Girl (Sandy)
    2019-03-03 02:29

    I won a copy of Little Deaths in a Goodreads Giveaway.In the summer of 1965, Ruth Malone’s two young children disappear from her apartment in Queens. Ruth and her husband, Frank, are separated and in the middle of a nasty custody battle for the children, Cindy and Frank, Jr. The police, a rather chauvinistic and narrow-minded lot, almost immediately suspect Ruth has either stashed the children somewhere to get back at her husband - or worse, she has killed them. Their suspicions increase when they discover her trash is full of empty bottles of booze, then they find a suitcase hidden under her bed full of letters from various men. In their eyes, her sexy appearance and rather provocative wardrobe are especially damning. After the children are found dead, Ruth is basically witch-hunted by the police. Ruth does herself no favors by remaining a cold, unemotional woman. She is trailed night and day by police who find her buying a new dress, right after little Cindy’s body is discovered, to be proof of her guilt. Who cares that she may have been purchasing a decent dress for Cindy’s service. Her every move is watched, noted and criticized. She continues visiting bars, drinking and flirting with men, all the while policemen are in the bar observing her. When Ruth is out of the public eye, she does break down and reveal her devastation and you can’t help but be affected by her heartbreak. Ruth’s POV and that of a young tabloid reporter named Pete Wonicke are used by Flint to tell the story. Desperate to find his place at the paper, Pete manages to get himself assigned to the Malone story when it initially comes in as a case of two missing children. Throughout the book, Pete really proves to be the weakest link. He’s a terrible reporter and an annoying character. He jumps on board the Ruth is guilty bandwagon but then rather abruptly decides she’s innocent. I think his lust for her is a big part of his changing his tune. I found him irritating throughout the book, especially as he becomes increasingly infatuated with Ruth. At first, I could not put Little Deaths down. Flint has created a very atmospheric novel with some well-written characters, unique - and mostly unlikeable. There is a sense of urgency in the beginning during the frantic search for the children. After their bodies are found, it still kept my attention as we learn more about Ruth and as the police pursuit of her ramps up. It’s hard not to get angry with the way they treat her as well as with their assumption that she’s guilty because they do not approve of her lifestyle. Unfortunately, it does start to drag and it becomes a bit of a chore to read. There is long passage of telling not showing with Pete and Ruth’s friend Gina (pretty much her only female friend). It’s quite a long passage of her telling Pete all about Ruth and when they first met. After that point, I felt my attention drifting and I don’t feel the book every picked up that initial momentum again.Based on the real life case of Alice Crimmins, who was accused of murdering her two young children in 1965, Little Deaths is well-written and intriguing. Unfortunately, as I turned the pages, my connection to these characters started to dwindle more and more, almost detaching me from them completely. I wanted to smack Ruth much of the time and wanted Pete to just go away. I don’t feel the full potential of this story was achieved but I think Flint is a talented writer and I would read another book by her.

  • Tripfiction
    2019-02-28 03:28

    Slow-burning thriller set in QUEENS, New YorkLists of up-coming books to watch our for in 2017 have been buzzing about Little Deaths, so I was keen to see if the book lives up to the hype. It does, it is a fascinating debut.The setting for this novel is Queens, New York in the mid 1960s. It is July, hot and sweltering, the locals are edgy. The murder of two young children, Frankie Junior and Cindy, stirs the community into a frenzy.Ruth – mother to the two murdered children – has separated from her husband, Frank, and has been struggling to make ends meet. The two parents are in the middle of a custody battle, tempers are fraught. She also has a desperate need to be loved and nurtured, and therefore actively seeks the attentions of men to counter the deep loneliness and disconnectedness that blights her life. She is not purely a social drinker, but someone who will dribble vodka into her morning coffee to stave off the profound emptiness.As investigations into the murder of her two young children progress, rookie reporter Pete Wonicke is drawn to the story like a moth to a light, he is enthralled by the woman who increasingly becomes the main suspect. So much so that he puts his job on the line….In some ways this is a very prescient story for today – a woman who is seen to have loose morals is vilified by those around her, mainly by the men but sadly also by some of the women. No-one really bothers to look at the bigger picture of her life, her upbringing, and social circumstance. She is deemed “.. the very picture of a scandalous woman“. As the case against her builds, Pete becomes more and more convinced of her innocence. Whilst all the focus is on her – her lifestyle, her alcohol consumption, her natty and revealing dress style, is the real perpetrator of these crimes being overlooked? She is “judged and pronounced guilty in the beauty parlours, the backyards, and the kitchens of Queens“.Ruth is a woman who hides her inner identity, her feelings are rarely on show for public consumption. She tries to protect herself whilst she is being pitilessly demonised by the police, and because of her manner, she garners little support. The guilt she feels – for all kinds of things – eats away at her. The author reinforces Ruth’s loathing of her own body: she finds it malodorous and despicable (probably too many descriptions of rank armpits to be honest). She keeps herself to herself and no-one really bothers to see the person underneath. She is a shameless woman who deserves all that is coming to her, it seems. Would her situation be so very different in today’s world? Now, that is a really frightening thought….I wasn’t all together sure about the ending, but in a way it is the narrative, the slow-burn, the build-up, the quality of the dialogue and writing that makes this an excellent debut. A little too much emphasis on Ruth’s manner, clothes and make-up, but that is a minor quibble. The story is inspired by the case of Alice Crimmins, whose two children went missing from their Queens apartment in 1965.The location, oppressive and intense in the heat of July, serves as an excellent backdrop to the unfolding story. Kissena Park in Queens features, but it is the anonymous streets, the buildings and cafes that make the time and place feel very colourful and real.

  • Britta Böhler
    2019-03-27 04:25

    Maybe may expectations were wrong, but the story never really convinced me. Bits and pieces were good, especially those about how we perceive others, but - for me - the book lacked suspense (and at times, a good editor...).

  • Roman Clodia
    2019-03-09 03:12

    Although this has the backbone of a familiar crime plot (the murder of two young children), Flint isn't so much interested in the mystery of whodunnit as in the way in which the police 'know' that it's Ruth, the young mother, who's guilty simply because she drinks, has separated from her husband and has other lovers. The ingrained misogyny and cultural stereotypes of the 'bad' woman are what's really on trial here - sadly views which haven't completely dispersed since the 1965 setting of the book.At the heart of the story is a wonderfully nuanced portrait of Ruth: not merely beautiful but with that elusive quality that makes men want her despite the narrowness of her life, her exhaustion, her constant struggle to both be a single mother in staitened circumstances and to hold on to some kind of self-identity of her own. In lots of ways this is a quiet book: very little happens in terms of external action but I found it engrossing and intelligent, written with subtle power and an assured control. Flint can rise to lyricism when necessary ('she was like white ribbons in the dark', on Ruth dancing in the memory of one of her lovers) but she also manages to offer characterisation which shifts in a complicated way, preventing people from being unambiguously good or bad.So a haunting read which presses emotional as well as intellectual buttons - a richly rewarding book.Review from an ARC from Amazon Vine

  • Patty
    2019-03-23 01:33

    Little DeathsByEmma FlintWhat it's all about...Ruth is separated from her husband, Frank. She has two little children...Cindy and Frankie. One morning Ruth wakes up and they are gone. She becomes the main suspect for their disappearance. Why I wanted to read it...This book is loosely based on an actual crime that took place in Queens in the sixties. Ruth is different...perhaps a bit loose, a bit wanton and a bit openly sexual. The police choose her as the perpetrator almost immediately. What made me truly enjoy this book...Ruth was complex as were her relationships with men. Pete...the young reporter...was too interested in Ruth and furthering his career. He was annoying. I felt only sympathy for Ruth. She was far too openly sexual but she didn't deserve what happened to her.Why you should read it, too...Readers who love unique crime dramas should really enjoy this book.

  • Book Riot Community
    2019-03-15 02:33

    It’s 1965, and Ruth Malone is a single mother in Queens, working as a cocktail waitress to support herself and her young son and daughter. But when her children go missing in the night, the police do not focus their investigation on who took the kids but on Ruth herself. Ruth’s pleas for the cops to find who took her children go largely ignored as the detectives instead ask the pretty redhead about her boyfriends and her late-night drinking, because the police think Ruth did it for attention. Based on the real-life case of Alice Crimmins, Little Deaths is an examination of how a woman’s lifestyle immediately made her a suspect and condemned her in the public eye, making it impossible for her to have a fair trial.Backlist bump: The Song is You by Megan AbbottTune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books:

  • Carol Jean
    2019-03-20 04:12

    Interesting, but...I don't know. It raised so many questions in my mind that I actually went on to read about the actual case. For instance, this woman got out a LOT. In reality, she had a live-in housekeeper, which resolved so many issues raised by the fictional account!

  • Lukas (LukeLaneReads)
    2019-03-22 21:09

    Skin deep.Let the jumble of thoughts commence; I had high expectations when it came to Emma Flint's debut Little Death's. The story about a mother being a suspect in her children's murders is obviously rife with dramatic potential, and I feel in the hands of a different author this could have been great. What it should have been was a character study focusing on the mother's emotions and state of mind, yet the author falls into the trappings of making it a mystery, complete with a big reveal that comes right out of left field. The narrative structure here is what confused me the most. The majority of the novel is told from the point of view of a reporter working on the case and how his opinion changes of the mother over time, yet we never really understand why. He goes from thinking she's done it to thinking she's innocent, yet it's not explained...instead he simply starts to fall in love with her because she's so 'tragic and beautiful'. I don't really understand why his perspective is there from the start. He offers little insight into the mother and just talks about how alluring she is to the point where we want to say 'Okay, we get it'. The author states that this is based on a real case (which is truly saddening) yet I often found it hard to sympathise with the mother because of how the author writes her. Is it wrong that she should be considered a suspect because she had the audacity to dress nice and wear make up after her kids were murdered? Of course. Yet the author doesn't explain enough that this is through grief. She writes the character as being very blasé and because we are very rarely inside her head, it's easy to simply feel that she really doesn't care. Overall this isn't a terrible novel, it's just more of your standard courtroom mystery than anything else. It's a page turner in the way that you just want to know how it ends, not because it's truly intriguing. I was left wanting more and probably won't remember this book in a month. 2 stars.**

  • Kim
    2019-03-08 01:23

    This was good. Had me going until the end.

  • Miss Carax
    2019-03-08 22:27

    Muertes pequeñas no es una novela negra al uso. No se trata sólo de averiguar quién ha matado a los pequeños Frankie y Cindy sino que va más allá de la trama policiaca. Trata los prejuicios contra las mujeres, de cómo se le educa para tener un aspecto y una conducta correctas, y cómo se les reprocha cuando pierden esa compostura o no se comportan como se espera de ellas. Cómo las propias mujeres somos nuestro peor enemigo. No dejéis de leerla.

  • Amanda
    2019-03-06 23:17

    I didn't DNF this, but I did skim through the second half til the end because no matter how much I wanted to, I just couldn't get into reading it. Which is kind of sad, because this was one of my most anticipated releases for 2017 and I was so sure I'd love it.What kept me from losing myself in the book was that the story itself was actually kind of boring. I don't mean to say that the notion of young children going missing/being murdered is boring; I just mean that a story with such subject matter shouldn't be boring, and yet somehow this was. For something that was meant to evoke a pulpy, noir-ish vibe from decades past, I found the progress of the story itself to be too cliche, and, more than anything else, I was disappointed by the lack of mystery. Noir without mystery, whether it's classic or modern, doesn't engross me. In fact, it just seems entirely pointless without it.

  • Lisa
    2019-02-28 03:12

    I finished this book a week or so ago and have been mulling over what to say about it because it is a difficult story to like and yet it's really interesting in terms of people's expectations and prejudices. This is not a traditional crime novel even though all the hallmarks are there - it is much more concerned with the public perceptions of Ruth and not what 'really' happened.Set in the summer of 1965 in New York, Ruth Malone is the mother of two children but also a woman who is seperated from her husband and enjoys time with other men and works in a bar (while her children sleep alone).One morning she wakes up and her children are gone - after searching earnestly she calls the police to investigate and so her condemnation unfurls. The image she presents is not that of a 'typical' grieving mother so therfore she must have murdered them!The book is told through the voice of Ruth herself and a fledgling journalist Pete Wonicke who happens upon the case and becomes obsessed with what really happened and Ruth herself.This was a great way to tell a story as we got Pete's journalistic and personal point of view of the evidence and how Ruth was shaping up to be suspect number one and then Ruth's voice which divulged her deep grief and how she managed that grief and explained how others might think she felt nothing at all.What a woman. In some ways I agreed that she wasn't fit to be a Mother and in other ways I felt such heartache for her - judgements based on impressions!This book was so sad and yet so intriguing - Ruth's voice was so much stronger than Pete's (I began to wonder what was wrong with him towards the end and was losing patience with him but I guess that's part of the power struggle in these cases) but still an excellent crime mystery that I would recommend.

  • Stephen
    2019-03-07 23:13

    based on a true life crime in 1960's america. located in mid 1960's new york 2 children frankie jr and cindy go missing but are found murdered and all the gossip is that the mother Ruth has done it, as she is an alcoholic, dates many men.the novel itself to me is a page turner as it progresses from the disappearance to the court case but had to admit the sting in the tail was unexpected at the end.

  • Luanne Ollivier
    2019-03-24 04:22

    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.

  • Teresa
    2019-03-17 21:11

    Ruth Malone is a beautiful young mother to two angelic children, Frankie and Cindy. Ruth is separated from her husband Frank with whom she is in the middle of a bitter custody battle over their children. Waking up one morning to find both her children missing Ruth frantically rings Frank who contacts the police, and a search begins.Pete Wonicke is a young tabloid reporter who becomes fascinated with the story of the missing children, and even more fascinated by Ruth herself. He is hypnotized by her beauty, her sexiness, and determines to uncover the truth. Soon he finds the story he uncovers is more complicated than even he imagined, and as his infatuation with Ruth grows, and the neighborhood, the press and the police all turn against her, he finds himself doing things he never would have believed himself capable of.This book really sucked me in and kept me riveted. There is a real crime noir feel about it. Set in Queens, New York in the summer of 1965 (the year I was born), I really felt like I was there, sweltering in the heat and soaking up the atmosphere the author has drawn so well for us. The character of Ruth is complicated but believable, and you can understand why she immediately comes under suspicion, as society judges her morals and lifestyle choices, her clothes, her drinking and her sleeping around.This is a book that will keep you guessing right up to the end. A very impressive debut literary crime novel, and a book you will keep thinking about long after you have finished it. Hopefully it will get picked up by the movie industry because it is just crying out to be made into a film.I'm really excited that crime fiction has found a new and great talent to enrich it in Emma Flint. This is definitely an author to watch out for in the future and I can't wait to read her next book. Thank you to Nudge/NB Mag and the publishers Pan Macmillan for my free copy of this book in return for a review.

  • Zuky the BookBum
    2019-03-06 05:13

    DNF @ 60%This begins as quite an emotion filled, distressing novel. We start by meeting Ruth, an alcoholic, single mother in a custody battle with her husband over her two small children, Cindy & Frankie. While her keeping her appearance perfect and spending her time with various men keep her occupied, she loves her kids more than anything. After a pleasant day in the park, she puts Cindy & Frankie to bed, this is the last time she’ll see them alive. Then there’s Pete, a newbie journalist, trying to write the best story of his career. As he tries to dig his way into creating a great story he begins to become obsessed with Ruth, seeing something to her that others seem to be missing. What continues is a beautiful, slow building mystery that focuses on the anti-feminist police force of New York circa 1960 that worms its way into ruining innocent lives and influencing unfair and incorrect public opinions.I definitely have a love/hate feeling towards this book. While it was written beautifully, gave us incredibly in-depth and lifelike characters and built up the mystery of the children's disappearance slowly and steadily, it focused far too much on Ruth’s grief and Pete’s fascination with Ruth. We learn very little about the police investigation… well really, there isn’t much of an investigation, it’s much more of a novel about the aftermath of the children's disappearance and eventual murder. I personally found Ruth’s character too traumatised and distressing to enjoy reading about her.While I can appreciate that this book is a great piece of literature, I just, personally, didn’t like it all that much… Too much of a drama than a mystery.Thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.