Little Deaths – Emma Flint

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.

My review:  Little Deaths is inspired by the true story of Alice Crimmins who was tried for the murder of her two young children in Queens, New York in 1965.  Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction and reading books based on true-crime always have that extra level of authenticity for me. This is a stunningly raw and gritty story which really kept me glued to the pages and reading at every possible moment.

Set in Queens, New York during the hot Summer of 1965 the story unfolds with the abduction of two little children from their apartment they share with their single mother Ruth Malone.  With a determined and unwavering police detective who is committed to prove the mothers guilt, an obsessive and bewitched journalist who is on a personal quest to find her innocent, Little Deaths is a thought-provoking tale of prejudice, morality and is a wonderful debut novel.

About the Author: Emma Flint grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne, and has been writing fiction since she knew what stories were. She graduated from the University of St. Andrews with an MA in English Language and Literature, later completing a novel-writing course at the Faber Academy. She worked in Edinburgh for four years, and now lives in north London.

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.

All of these themes informed and inspired Little Deaths, a heady blend of sex, murder, obsession, noir and a femme fatale. Set in 1960s suburban New York, the novel re-tells a horrifying true story with a modern feminist slant.

To read more about Little Deaths and the true crime the book is based on below are some interesting links:

  • The Washington Post – click here
  • The Guardian – click here
  • Hazlitt – click here

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