Friday 20 October 2017

Little Deaths by Emma Flint @flint_writes @picadorbooks #LittleDeaths

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.

Little Deaths by Emma Flint was published in paperback by Picador on 24 August 2017 and is the author's debut novel.  My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Finally, I read Little Deaths! This one has been on my shelf for months and kept getting overlooked. I packed it in my suitcase and read this whilst in Croatia last month, and enjoyed every single page.

I've read a few books recently, written by English authors and set in America. This is a brave thing to do, and could easily be criticised. Personally I think Emma Flint has done this so very well. I loved her character's voices, her setting and her plotting. It felt authentic, I felt as though I was settled in 1960s New York. It worked for me.

Lead character Ruth Malone is recently separated from her husband, and the mother of two young children. Ruth is well presented, but bored of her waitressing job. She wants more from life and often leaves little Frankie Jr and Cindy alone in the house when she goes out walking, or to meet men.
She wakes one morning to find the children are gone.  After days of searching, both children are found, but in horrifying circumstances.

Told from the viewpoint of both Ruth and local journalist Pete Wonicke, Emma Flint paints a picture of the prejudice and injustices that were prevalent at that time, and to be honest, sometimes still are.

The police, led by a deeply religious Sheriff find the empty liquor bottles in her rubbish, and the letters from men hidden in the apartment and immediately presume that Ruth is responsible for her children's deaths.

To the outside observer, Ruth appears cold and emotionless. However, the reader is privy to her innermost thoughts and her constant self critical thoughts. Journalist Pete is the only person to pick up on Ruth's real character, he sees beneath the shine and the make up and becomes obsessed with her, and the case.

Evocative and thought provoking, Little Deaths is a stunning debut novel. The writing is assured and at times, quite beautiful. This author really does paint incredibly vivid pictures with her words. Accomplished, savage and quite riveting, I'm so impressed with Little Deaths and look forward to reading more from this exciting new 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.

Find out more at
Find her Author Page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @flint_writes

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