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To Die for

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  488 ratings  ·  57 reviews
When her husband is shot dead by her teenage boyfriend, would-be television journalist Suzanne Maretto steps into the role of grieving widow with a brilliant performance. But few suspect her dark side. This chilling novel of ambition and sexual obsession goes behind the mask of an apple-pie beauty to probe the sinister manipulations of a mesmerizing femme fatale.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 17th 2003 by (first published 1992)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,175)
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I loved this book!! Such a unique way of telling a story. The book is fiction but is based largely on the Pamela Smart case of the early 90's; it also rings familiar with numerous other real-life cases that have gotten national media attention throughout recent years, way after the book was written.

Suzanne Maretto is a young woman who has always wanted nothing more than to become a high-profile tv news reporter. She is focused on her career goals to the point of obsession, and anything that get
True Rating 3.5 stars

I had seen the movie first and enjoyed it, I thought Nicole Kidman was brilliant. In reading the book, I realized what an incredibly good job the screenplay writer had done in maintaining the feeling of the book. Although the topic is obviously awful, particularly as it was based loosely on a true story (The Pamela Smart case), the book is darkly funny throughout. The entire story is told by several different characters in short chapters of first person narratives. I found
Maynard's book, using elements from the 1990 Pamela Smart murder case, is told in the form of a highly engrossing collection of first-person narratives from various characters: the accused (aspiring newscaster Suzanne Stone Maretto), her parents, the victim's parents and sister, the teenage accomplices, and a few accounts from various onlookers and acquaintances.

The psychological portraits drawn are engaging and powerful; compared to Suzanne's self-absorbed tunnel-vision of calculated retconnin
Keeps you wanting more

Purchased this book on a daily Kindle special. I didn't expect it to be written so well. Maynard chose to write in first person using all her characters. It's wonderful because you do get to know each character well by the end. of course there are a few chapters told by 'not-so-popular' characters, but these help the story line move smoothly. This is very different from most murder mysteries in that you know who plans the murder and who commits the murder. Definitely worth
JoAnn Bassett
This is an amazing look into the mind of a psychopath. And, a rather likeable psychopath (if such a thing exists), I might add. When we hear stories of crazy stuff like teachers having affairs with their teen-aged students, or kids killing their parents "for the experience of watching them die" we can't help but wonder , "What were they thinking?" Well, Joyce Maynard has nailed it. I recommend this book to all readers who enjoy a well-told tale with fascinating psychological undertones. Well don ...more
I've been on a little Joyce Maynard kick after really enjoying After Her , so I checked out my library to see which of her older stuff it had. I settled on To Die For, even though by its title, it seemed more than a bit campy.

Before I read this, I came across a review that complained it read like a made-for-TV movie. Looking only at plot line--beautiful, ambitious young reported manipulates disadvantaged teens to off her husband for her--I can see where the comparisons come from, but I really t
What a wonderful read. I had a hard time putting it down, actually. I loved how the novel was set up in testimonials, there was so much dramatic irony regarding what Suzanne would say and where the truth was with the kids. I just love novels that tell a story that already happened.

When starting the novel, you already know the basic plot: Suzanne is Pamela Smart, seducing a teenage boy and hiring him and two other teens to murder her husband. Your first impression before reading is 'how interesti
Excellent book. I hardly read fiction that is not science-fiction, but this was one book that I could not put down. I didn't know about the real life story behind it, nor the movie based on this book. Now that I know the true story, I felt a bit saddened about the entire thing, like I wished it was just a story.

Either way, it's a good read.
Francis T. Villante

the book was okay. it kept me turning the pages. a different story about a female reporter getting mixed up with three misfit teens from . the local high school to help her do a documentary on sex, drugs,and everything else that goes on in high school. then it goes wrong when she has a sexual relationship with one of them and her husband ends up murdered. it has its ups and downs but still a decent read.
Bought this on a Kindle daily special. Didn't expect it to be so good. It's written in chapters in first person by each character. As for the main characters, you feel as though you know them quite well by the end. This is a little different murder mystery. You know the about the crime before it ever happens. Suzanne, the main character is one of the most cold hearted, selfish manipulators I've had in a book. And to think this kind of story has actually happened more than once!
Jan 06, 2010 KarenLee marked it as books-i-didn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
I found I didn't enjoy the style of this book at all. I quit at page 67, after realizing it wasn't a required read! I usually finish books, but just not having a good time. The book is broken up into short interviews with the different characters; the victim, the friends, the family, the murderer, etc. But it's so broken up that it never started to flow for me. Stop, start, stop, start. If you like very short chapters, and only have short amounts of time to read, this would be perfect. The suspe ...more
I got this book because it was a deal on Kindle but it is well worth full price. Joyce Maynard tells the story in multiple voices and she does a splendid job of catching the different personalities of each. Just amazing. Now I need to read all of her other books!
This is the second book I read from Joyce Maynard. Very good book, couldn't put it down. This book is loosely based on the Pamela Smart case. The story is well written and each of the characters are written in chapters each having a personality of its own. The main character Suzanne was very defined.
true rating: 3.5 stars. Unique form of storytelling made it interesting to read. This book falls right in the middle of the "not the best thing I've read; but certainly not the worst either!" category.
Dennis O'Leary
I didn't see the movie and many of the reviews trashed this, but I thought it was entertaining. The character and her motivations seemed quite real. I read this on vacation too so it was a nice escape.
Durann Dungee
easy read

pretty predictable, kept my interest as much as it aggravated me. it's almost identical to a plot used for a lifetime movie. so read, of you're into that kinda stuff.
3.5 stars. Fast and engrossing but definitely not light (lives/homes of the teens sometimes felt darker than the main crime). I'm always strangely fascinated by narcissists.
Saw the movie years ago but this is the first time I've read the book. Much more affecting than I was expecting, especially the sections told from the perspective of the kids.
Great Book. Was not too found of the writing style at the beginning, but it grew on me. This was one of those books that brought out strong emotions for me, really disliked the Suzanne character.
It kept me engaged, fast paced with switching who was narrating. Felt like a TV show recapping a murder.
This is one of those books I can read over and over again. So glad it is available on Nook!
Janet Hiser
Not the best Joyce Maynard, but character development of a sociopath is interesting.
Angela Wood
Deliciously disturbing and funny too...the movie actually was quite good as well.
What an interesting way to write a crime novel. This was a fast-paced page turner. After I finished reading it, I watched the movie which stars Nicole Kidman in the lead role and the author played her attorney (what a treat!). Anyway I thought the movie was done well and it followed the book pretty close.
Good book, but I liked the movie better. Nicole Kidman was brilliant in it as Suzanne Maretto.
Not what I expect from Maynard. Sleazy characters, sleazy storyline.
May 12, 2014 Jane added it
Shelves: gave-up
Had to give up on this one - could not get into the writing style!
I called this book The Book of the Monologue (of Doom) as I was not entirely impressed by the development of the entire novel in the form of testimonies by each of the characters. it made the story seem longer than what it really was. It was not entirely unenjoyable, however I was only motivated to finish it by the fact I was on a long car journey. In other circumstance and I personally would have struggled to come up with the conviction to complete it. 3 stars because the characterization was o ...more
Just as great as the movie.
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Joyce Maynard first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story “An Eighteen-Year-Old Looks Back on Life” in 1973, when she was a freshman at Yale. Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose “Domestic Affairs” column appeared in more than fifty papers nationwide, a regular contributor to NPR ...more
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