Happy book birthday!
Date Completed: 12/29/2016
Last book of the year was this fantastic roller coaster ride. Little Deaths actually has me feeling like maybe I should read more murder mysteries, although I typically shy away from this genre. This feeling will probably pass, but wow was this chilling.
The story opens with Ruth and her two kids, Frankie and Cindy Marie on their last night together. Everything changes when she wakes up to find her two kids missing, calls the cops, and proceeds on a one-year investigation to find the murderer. Set in 1965, this historical fiction novel follows stereotypes closely, particularly sexist ones as would occur in the times. Reporters and police officers alike look at her perfectly made up face and hair and wonder what could possess a mother to dress so perfectly just after losing her children? Is she the one responsible for the disappearance of her children?
Heart-wrenchingly sad, Flint allows you to pity the protagonist without every really understanding her or even liking her. Each of the character’s worst qualities are on display with this novel, and Flint’s descriptions are satisfyingly and deliciously disgusting. Take her description of a cop called Devlin, “He chewed open-mouthed, the mass of brown and red churning and glistening on his tongue before he swallowed.” Makes your stomach churn a little, doesn’t it? In fact, Flint has crafted each character in such a way that I feel either pity or disgust for each one!
I had no idea how the ending would turn out. I liked being kept in the dark for the duration of the novel, all the while uncovering countless details and being introduced to new characters, yet never really sure which direction the story would go. I was surprised by the end. Not exactly satisfied, but very surprised. That’s not to say the ending wasn’t well-written, because it was, I just didn’t like the outcome. In fact, based on this book, I would definitely read Flint’s other books.
The other main character, who’s point of view takes up most of the space of the story, is Pete Wonicke, a reporter. He’s quite the character. The reader is privy to his thought-processes and how they change throughout the story based both on other’s opinions and his own discoveries. As a reporter he has just one job, report the story. However, Flint has crafted this rebellious young man who yearns to discover the truth and takes readers down his sad spiral with him. I really enjoyed how disturbing his side of the story became. In the end I was left wondering just how dark humanity can get.
This is Emma Flint’s debut novel. She grew up drawn to true crime and has been writing fiction ever since her schooling at the University of St. Andrews. You can read more about her at her website.
I received a copy of this book as an ARC from my local bookstore.