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3.25  ·  Rating details ·  282 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The fascinating novel of a passionate woman, freed of history and legend but trapped by a shocking secret, and the final uncompromising act of a murderous heart.
Paperback, 448 pages
Published May 1st 1985 by Dell (first published January 1st 1984)
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3.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  282 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Adrik Kemp
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the more memorable pulp fictions I read as a teenager and a great introduction to the legendary Lizzie Borden.
Lynn M.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it
At times it felt like the author was trying to fit his research of the era into his narrative by including every small detail, however irrelevant.

Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Sorry, but it's just my opinion...
Very disappointed to be honest. Around one third of the book was interesting, maybe a bit less than that, but the remainder was either boring, written a tad poorly, or just simply annoying. I pushed through this because it was the story of Lizzie Borden and I couldn't just quit it, but I'm just glad this wasn't a book I spent money on. I definitely am sad about this book. The last 50 pages or so was the only reason I am giving this a 2/5 and not 1/5. The story a
Jun 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone, american justice enthusiasts
Recommended to Meghan by:
I don't know if I really appreciated this book. I was told it was the best fictional work written about Lizzie Borden that's out there. What I got was a rather boring account of the trial (which in and of itself was interesting only because I knew most of it was fact). But the author throws in an entirely fictional althernating story that explains why, although not very well, Lizzie would kill her mother and father. I have nothing against lesbianism, and there have been facts that back up Lizzie ...more
Liz Moffett
Jul 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
Couldn't finish it- which is rare for me. The court room chapters were so tedious and difficult to read. I finally just skipped to the end to read the part where she killed her parents. I only paid $.25 for it at a used book sale. Sometimes you get what you pay for ;0)
Alli Saleh-Goad
DNF 50%
I kept waiting for it to pick up, but it just kept going on and on with the darn trial and Her time with Alison. And the descriptions of people and places...I just stopped caring.
Bonnie Owen
Jan 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
So this is a fictionalized story about Lizzie Borden's European vacation, and affair with an English women, leading up to the murders of her father and step-father two years later. Every other chapter has factual information about the inquest and trial that even led to Lizzie Borden being found "not guilty". I found this book utterly boring. I didn't care for the author's writing style nor his fictionalized version of Lizzie Borden. The only spark of interest this book gave me was in the last 60 ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
Very tedious.

The courtroom scenes were just dull and complicated. I appreciate that the author is trying to bring in the courtroom transcripts to keep it as real as possible, but I think there is a reason people don’t typically read courtroom transcripts. I found it repetitive and obnoxious.

The European trip storyline was an interesting theory, but I think the lesbian theory is a little weak compared to some of the others that are out there.

Meh, I finished it, but I don’t think I’d recommend
Anatola Vitri
Jun 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
Reading this book was an absolute chore. The trial portions were extremely boring and repetitious. If I had wanted to read the transcripts of the trial, I would have done so; there was no reason for Evan Hunter to put his readers through that tediousness. The only really interesting portions were the lesbian sex scenes and the part at the end detailing the actual murders. This one's going in the "donate" box.
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a combination of the trial, taken from transcripts, and a fictional story of what may have been happening in her life that led to the murders. The characters are well developed and remain true to self throughout the book. The parts about the trial get slow going, occasionally, but it is broken up with the story of her relationship with friends, family and travel in just the right places to pull the reader along.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remember it's a story

This take on the Lizzie Borden tale was a bit hard for me to get into, but I do think the main issue is my historical take of the story. While the court was written from history the other was fiction. A new take on the how and why and even who that leaves me thinking about the historical event as well as the book. Any book that makes you truly grow and think is a three star read even if I'm not sure I could say I liked it.
Dec 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Didn't like this book at all. Having read a lot about this case, this lesbian theory just didn't work for me. Don't know why the author felt the fabricated trip to Europe was necessary. At the end of the trial, the author went into what "really" happened, and it seemed like he was done writing this book and wanted to be done with it - rushing through a crazy ending. Will not recommend this one.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know....this one was well written to a great extent but speculating about her private life and why she killed her parents when you're directly quoting the trial just seemed like such an invasion of privacy. And no one is more surprised about that than I am. I still remember Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha on Bewitched) playing Lizzie Borden. That was pretty surprising too.
Kayla Tornello
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
I really liked parts of this book, but I didn't care for other parts. I enjoyed the historical detail about Lizzie Borden's trial, but the completely fictitious parts of her trip to Europe didn't mesh well with the rest of the story.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't enjoy this book at all -- I feel as if my time would have been better spent reading the actual trial transcripts.

The author isn't a bad writer at all -- I just felt the flow of the story was inconsistent. I didn't get into it as I would have liked to.

I hope it works out for someone else though!
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I've always had a fascination with Lizzie Borden's story. Then years ago after discovering the infamous 'axe' woman was my son't 7th cousin, I couldn't wait for a trip to visit her home in Fall River, MA. So far I've made 2 trips there, a visit to the cemetery, by Maplecroft and into the local museum. I bought this book years ago but it has been collecting dust on my bookshelf until pulling it out recently.

The author has a fictional account of a trip Lizzie made to Europe in 1890. He alternates
Feb 03, 2012 marked it as future-reading
Shelves: i-own
Excellent fictionalization of the story of Lizzie Borden and the Falls River killings. Based upon research, contains one explanation of the events. Shows a psychological basis for the events. True to his reputation, Evan Hunter (better known by his pseudonym Ed McBain) has produced a very readable and satisfying book.
Oct 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
Excellent fictionalization of the story of Lizzie Borden and the Falls River killings. Based upon research, contains one explanation of the events. Shows a psychological basis for the events. True to his reputation, Evan Hunter (better known by his pseudonym Ed McBain) has produced a very readable and satisfying book.
Helen Azar
Nov 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of Ed McBain/Evan Hunter, so when I came across this gem, it was right after I visited the Lizzie Borden house/museum in Fall River, MA and was hungry for more. I couldn't wait to read it. And I was not disappointed! Hunter's version of the Lizzie Borden story is chilling and is a page turner. I believe the book was out of print for a while but is now easier to get. If you like true crime mysteries, this one is for you!
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
I don't know why I read things like this, especially from 2 to 4 in the morning, because I became so scared I could not move, and lay there for hours until it became light out. Something about the whole Borden murders terrifies me deeply. In fact, I become scared just driving through Fall River. Anyhow the book was not very good.
Rob Cohen
Oct 21, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I just can't finish this one. I think 365 pages is plenty. If you don't have me wanting to read more by that point, then I have given it the old college try and I am permitted to dump the book and move on to something else. Just completely boring. No rhyme or reason to it, no drama, no suspense. Nothing remotely intriguing. It's amazing I got this far into the book...
Lino Gomez
Jan 17, 2014 rated it liked it
this is a horrifying story of Lizzie Borden. she murdered her step father and mother brutally with an axe. this book describes her killing them. this is a thriller and a horrifying story of a murderer.
Bruce Marr
Jan 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Evan Hunter combines actual trial testimony from the Lizzie Borden murder trial in the late 1800s with an imagined earlier trip by Lizzie to Europe, to weave an "alternative" history explaining the axe murders. Worth the trip!
I accidentally deleted my old review ... so new review coming at ... some point.
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biograhpy
A real thriller for Lizzie Borden Fans. I found it based less on facts and more on wishful fiction.
Cindy Smith
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This was a very interesting, fictional version of the famous crime.
Lori Nemitz
Apr 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Read between January & June 1986.

Original notes on book from 1986: Interesting conclusion as to what happened.
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
I am not sure if it was this copy or another of the same name, but it had an axe as a "L" and think it was more horror than story!
Sher Mccabe-finlayson
rated it it was amazing
May 03, 2015
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Better known by his pseudonym Ed McBain.

Born Salvatore Albert Lombino, he legally adopted the name Evan Hunter in 1952. While successful and well known as Evan Hunter, he was even better known as Ed McBain, a name he used for most of his crime fiction, beginning in 1956.
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