Review: Little Deaths by Emma Flint

Quick review for a progressive read. I’ve gone back and forth in terms of my opinions on Emma Flint’s “Little Deaths”. I’ve heard the hype over this novel and it came recommended to me as a library read, but overall – I thought it was a mystery with some points of high tension and emotion, yet there were far too many places it dragged its heels and nearly lost my interest entirely. Ultimately, I muscled my way through the slower, meandering points (mostly from the POV of characters I really didn’t care that much about, a.k.a. The reporter in this tale). The ending was somewhat satisfying in terms of finally giving a resolution to the mystery, but I hated the fact that it took such a convoluted route.

This is the story of Ruth, a woman accused of murdering her children in the 1960s. The narrative keeps you in suspense over whether Ruth may have committed the crime or not. She has a dubious memory, there’s contradictory evidence to her testimony of the night’s events, she’s shamed in the media spotlight over her many sexual relationships and split from her ex-husband and custody battle for the children. There’s also the fact that Ruth is horribly cruel to her children and incredibly selfish. Even still, when the children are found murdered, Ruth has a complex set of emotions – torn between grief and trying to keep up appearances. I usually like narratives that showcase strong and complex characters even if they’re flawed as anything else. (This narrative is full of such infuriating characters). I think with this novel, it was hard to get behind due to the pacing and how some side characters, who were promiently featured as POV characters, really didn’t contribute that much to the overarching narrative at all for events. I did like getting insight from the husband, neighbor and some of the other less featured characters through the narrative, but I felt like I couldn’t care much about the reporter who was moderately obsessed with Ruth and seemed to bungle his way through every avenue he could to prove her innocence.

In the end, I thought it was just okay for the one-time read. I just wish that the mystery had been much tighter than it presented itself. Some parts were emotional, thorough, and completely compulsive reading through, but there were too many moments that were just convoluted and dry for intrigue.

Overall score: 2.5/5 stars.


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