Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Little Deaths” as Want to Read:
Little Deaths
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Little Deaths

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  6,590 ratings  ·  881 reviews
"A phenomenal achievement."---Jeffery Deaver

It's 1965 in a tight-knit working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, and Ruth Malone--a single mother who works long hours as a cocktail waitress--wakes to discover her two small children, Frankie Jr. and Cindy, have gone missing. Later that day, Cindy's body is found in a derelict lot a half mile from her home, strangled.
Paperback, 311 pages
Published 2017 by Picador
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Little Deaths, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Kelly Brown
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Kelly Brown Devlin knew he lied. He even took the hit for mishandling evidence for the non-existent taped confession. He just wanted to bust the guy so he went…moreDevlin knew he lied. He even took the hit for mishandling evidence for the non-existent taped confession. He just wanted to bust the guy so he went with it.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,590 ratings  ·  881 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Little Deaths
Wendy Darling
2.5 stars The first third of this book was so engrossing. A woman is accused of murdering her two children--but Ruth is not your typical mother, and she will not garner the usual sympathy, because she's always perfectly made up and she drinks in excess and she takes a lot of lovers and she's--gasp--a cocktail waitress. I was interested in this portrait of a woman who is judged so harshly by her outward appearance; for some women, careful clothes and makeup are armor used to mask what's going on ...more
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

It is 1965 in Queens, New York and Ruth Malone - single mother, cocktail waitress, and purveyor of sexual pleasures - discovers that her two small children have gone missing from her apartment. Swayed by neighborhood gossip, the discovery of letters from various men found in Ruth's apartment, and a large bag of empty liquor bottles discovered in her trash can, Sergeant Devlin immediately assumes she's
Diane S ☔
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lor
3.5 Ruth Malone wakes up one morning and finds her two young children gone, their bedroom door hooked from the outside. Did this woman, separated from her husband, get rid of her children? The detective on the case is positive she is guilty. After all there were all those liquor bottles found in her department, most of her neighbors believe she is guilty, her lack of tears is enough proof.

A young woman judged guilty because of her lifestyle, her demeanor, her attention to her own grooming, her
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is 1965 and a sweltering summer in Queens, New York. Ruth Malone is a young mother to five year old Frankie and four year old Cindy. Recently separated from her husband, also called Frankie, Ruth raises eyebrows in her neighbourhood. Unlike the other mothers, who stand around the stoops gossiping in drab housedresses, Ruth is always well put together. The clack of her heels is a familiar sound. She laughs too loudly, drinks too much and is a little too fond of male company.

Ruth is tired of
This fictional story is based on a true case, the Alice Crimmins case.
The year is 1965 and Ruth Malone finds her children missing from their bedroom. The police are convinced from the beginning that she has hurt the children, and begin to build a case against her.
This book is written in third person throughout, and the reader gets Ruth's perspective, as well as a reporter, Pete, who is assigned to cover the story.
When I first heard about this book, I was excited to read it. Then when it first
Liz Barnsley
For me, Little Deaths was a marvel of a novel. Poignant, thought provoking, beautifully written and engaging, also randomly rage inducing – I went through a spectrum of emotions reading Ruth’s story and at the end I was wrung out.

Also, warning: Will cause google mania as you look up the case that Emma Flint took her inspiration from. That is also extraordinarily fascinating. I have today purchased her recommended book on the subject.

Little Deaths starts with a tragedy – two missing children. I
Aug 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Ruth: mother of two missing children, drinker, whore.

She is not the usual picture of grief, instead composed in the day, let loose at night. Unlikeable. Gossip worthy. People think she did it, especially Detective Devlin, desperate to convict her despite the lack of evidence. But is she guilty of murder? Or guilty of failing to live up to the male standard of female behaviour in 1965 New York? She's too free, too sexual, too alien to these men unless she performs her role as mother or slut.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-arcs
All of my reviews can be found on

This book caught my eye immediately for several reasons. First, the cover is so striking in its simplicity, then the blurb is intriguing, I love that it takes place in the sixties, it’s one of my favorite eras. After I received my copy I discovered that the author was inspired by a real case and that was just the icing on the cake for me. I haven’t read a true crime novel for quite some time, but the idea of reading a book with truthful
Peter Boyle
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
This story felt very familiar to me. Maybe it's because it is the tenth work of fiction inspired by the infamous Alice Crimmins case. Or maybe it's the fact that every character was a cliché, every twist seemed telegraphed. I just felt like I'd read it all before.

Ruth Malone is a struggling cocktail waitress in 1960s Queens, recently estranged from her husband Frank. One sweltering July night, her two children go missing from their beds. And when their battered bodies are found a few days later,
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: motley-list-13
A difficult read in terms of the subject matter. The murder of two young children isn't always going to be an uplifting read. However, when the matter is treated with care and an original eye a fictional account can helps us see our humanity and the frailties of life.
Ruth Malone is struggling in her relationship with the children's father so lives as a single mother, working long hours as a cocktail waitress to meet the needs of the household. Ruth is a woman first and therefore in her
I read this in one stretch, which I think was the best way for me to read it, not because I couldn't put it down, but because I could easily have lost interest if I hadn't committed to consuming it in a single gulp.

A much-hyped debut for 2017, Little Deaths opens on a woman in prison, and then tells us how she got there. Ruth Malone is a cocktail waitress who lives with her young children, Frankie and Cindy. One day, Ruth goes to check on her kids and discovers they are not in their bedroom;
Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
You read this and all of my reviews at Lit.Wit.Wine.Dine

I was so excited to begin this this book. I knew that it was based on a true story story but it was one I was unfamiliar with. I made the conscious decision not to do any research on the case prior to reading this fictionalized version.

As you can probably tell from my rating, I had several problems with the book. The first is that it was really quite boring. It just dragged on until the very last chapters. There were several points at which
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ☮Karen by: Diane S ☔
Shelves: read-in-2016
The story is a heartbreaking one. A single mother of two wakes up to find her kids are gone and no clue what happened to them, that is until both turn up dead at different times. Ruth has had so many men in her life and has been drinking so much, it's possible she can't think clearly and can't trust anyone. She is thought guilty based on her attractive appearance, her aloofness to other housewives, her occupation as a cocktail waitress, her reputation for bringing men home. Poor example of a ...more
Britta Böhler
Maybe may expectations were wrong, but the story never really convinced me. Bits and pieces were good, especially those about how we perceive others, but - for me - the book lacked suspense (and at times, a good editor...).
Purple Country Girl (Sandy)

I won a copy of Little Deaths in a Goodreads Giveaway.

In the summer of 1965, Ruth Malone’s two young children disappear from her apartment in Queens. Ruth and her husband, Frank, are separated and in the middle of a nasty custody battle for the children, Cindy and Frank, Jr. The police, a rather chauvinistic and narrow-minded lot, almost immediately suspect Ruth has either stashed the children somewhere to get back at her husband - or worse, she has killed them. Their suspicions increase when
Slow-burning thriller set in QUEENS, New York

Lists of up-coming books to watch our for in 2017 have been buzzing about Little Deaths, so I was keen to see if the book lives up to the hype. It does, it is a fascinating debut.

The setting for this novel is Queens, New York in the mid 1960s. It is July, hot and sweltering, the locals are edgy. The murder of two young children, Frankie Junior and Cindy, stirs the community into a frenzy.

Ruth – mother to the two murdered children – has separated from
Lukas Anthony
Skin deep.

Let the jumble of thoughts commence;

I had high expectations when it came to Emma Flint's debut Little Death's. The story about a mother being a suspect in her children's murders is obviously rife with dramatic potential, and I feel in the hands of a different author this could have been great. What it should have been was a character study focusing on the mother's emotions and state of mind, yet the author falls into the trappings of making it a mystery, complete with a big reveal
Roman Clodia
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although this has the backbone of a familiar crime plot (the murder of two young children), Flint isn't so much interested in the mystery of whodunnit as in the way in which the police 'know' that it's Ruth, the young mother, who's guilty simply because she drinks, has separated from her husband and has other lovers. The ingrained misogyny and cultural stereotypes of the 'bad' woman are what's really on trial here - sadly views which haven't completely dispersed since the 1965 setting of the ...more
Kate O'Leary
Feb 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has spoilers and inappropriate language.

Little Deaths was absolutely fucking terrible. From the start, you're supposed to care about these characters so let me break them down for you. Ruth, the mother, who is painted as a disinterested woman who spends more time on her appearance than giving a shit about her dead kids. I think the writer is trying to make it out so the readers and the other characters 'just don't understand' her grieving process, but to me she actually seriously
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little Deaths
Emma Flint

What it's all about...

Ruth is separated from her husband, Frank. She has two little children...Cindy and Frankie. One morning Ruth wakes up and they are gone. She becomes the main suspect for their disappearance.

Why I wanted to read it...

This book is loosely based on an actual crime that took place in Queens in the sixties. Ruth is different...perhaps a bit loose, a bit wanton and a bit openly sexual. The police choose her as the perpetrator almost immediately.

Book Riot Community
It’s 1965, and Ruth Malone is a single mother in Queens, working as a cocktail waitress to support herself and her young son and daughter. But when her children go missing in the night, the police do not focus their investigation on who took the kids but on Ruth herself. Ruth’s pleas for the cops to find who took her children go largely ignored as the detectives instead ask the pretty redhead about her boyfriends and her late-night drinking, because the police think Ruth did it for attention. ...more
Carol Jean
Interesting, but...I don't know. It raised so many questions in my mind that I actually went on to read about the actual case. For instance, this woman got out a LOT. In reality, she had a live-in housekeeper, which resolved so many issues raised by the fictional account!
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was good. Had me going until the end.
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I didn't DNF this, but I did skim through the second half til the end because no matter how much I wanted to, I just couldn't get into reading it. Which is kind of sad, because this was one of my most anticipated releases for 2017 and I was so sure I'd love it.

What kept me from losing myself in the book was that the story itself was actually kind of boring. I don't mean to say that the notion of young children going missing/being murdered is boring; I just mean that a story with such subject
Linda Lipko
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hold on to every page as you read this sad story based on a true- life case of a woman named Alice Crimmins, who lived in a New York Queens neighborhood. She is a woman whose two children disappear mysteriously on an incredibly hot, hot summer evening. She had locked them in the bedroom, as she usually did. How then, did they disappear. She knows she did not murder her four year old daughter and her five year old son. Who got in the apartment, and how did they know she was walking the dog?

Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I finished this book a week or so ago and have been mulling over what to say about it because it is a difficult story to like and yet it's really interesting in terms of people's expectations and prejudices. This is not a traditional crime novel even though all the hallmarks are there - it is much more concerned with the public perceptions of Ruth and not what 'really' happened.

Set in the summer of 1965 in New York, Ruth Malone is the mother of two children but also a woman who is seperated from
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
based on a true life crime in 1960's america. located in mid 1960's new york 2 children frankie jr and cindy go missing but are found murdered and all the gossip is that the mother Ruth has done it, as she is an alcoholic, dates many men.
the novel itself to me is a page turner as it progresses from the disappearance to the court case but had to admit the sting in the tail was unexpected at the end.
Luanne Ollivier
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little Deaths is Emma Flint's latest novel.

Flint professes that "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."

Those interests are put to good use in Little Deaths. The novel is a fascinating blend of literary mystery, character study and social commentary.

Set in 1960's blue collar New York. Ruth Malone is a
Teresa O'Halloran
Ruth Malone is a beautiful young mother to two angelic children, Frankie and Cindy. Ruth is separated from her husband Frank with whom she is in the middle of a bitter custody battle over their children. Waking up one morning to find both her children missing Ruth frantically rings Frank who contacts the police, and a search begins.

Pete Wonicke is a young tabloid reporter who becomes fascinated with the story of the missing children, and even more fascinated by Ruth herself. He is hypnotized by
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-crime-2017
Little Deaths is one of those books that will make you rant a bit at the world and hold you enthralled from the first page!

This could easily be about 2017, about prejudice and discrimination. The book is actually set in 1965 Queens, New York; a working class neighbourhood. Ruth Malone is imprisoned for the murder of her two young children. Her children went missing from her appartment and were later found strangled. Is she guilty? Is she innocent? What happened to them?

Malone is a truly
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
La Crosse Public ...: Little Deaths 1 4 Jan 23, 2019 09:34AM  
Forsyth County Pu...: October 2017 - LIttle Deaths 2 6 Nov 16, 2017 01:53PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please update book cover 2 32 Oct 03, 2017 11:21PM  
Bailey's/Orange W...: May 2017 Little Deaths 18 31 Jul 12, 2017 01:55AM  
Around the Year i...: Little Deaths, by Emma Flint 3 17 Jun 07, 2017 05:09AM  
Play Book Tag: Little Deaths by Emma Flint- 2 Stars 3 15 May 20, 2017 09:32AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Perfect Nanny
  • See What I Have Done
  • The Child (Kate Waters, #2)
  • More Women Than Men
  • Platform Seven
  • An Unwanted Guest
  • The Turn of the Key
  • Good Me, Bad Me
  • All the Beautiful Lies
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime Annoying Younger Brothers (Annoying Younger Brothers Revision Series)
  • Everything You Want Me to Be
  • Give Me Your Hand
  • The Chain
  • La Cuisine de Jean-Philippe : ses 100 meilleures recettes véganes
  • The Roanoke Girls
  • The Professor and the Parson: A Story of Desire, Deceit and Defrocking
  • The Last Photograph
  • Bring Me Back
See similar books…
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“but when tragedy strikes, there’s a tendency to assume that someone is different. Special. That there’s something about them that makes them the kind of person bad things happen to. Because the alternative—that bad things can happen to anyone, at any time—is unthinkable. He” 1 likes
“You testified, in court, that you gave the interview tapes to Devlin.” 0 likes
More quotes…