Little Deaths by Emma Flint (RRP £7.99). Available from Bookmark in Spalding with £2 off and a further 20% discount with the voucher in this week’s Spalding Guardian (on sale January 18-24).
Inspired by a true story, Little Deaths, is compelling literary crime fiction that explores the capacity for good and evil in us all.
It’s 1965 in a tight-knit working-class neighbourhood 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, strangled.
Ten days later, Frankie Jr.’s decomposing body is found. Immediately, all fingers point to Ruth. As police investigate the murders, the detritus of Ruth’s life is exposed. The lead detective, a strict Catholic who believes women belong in the home, leaps to the obvious conclusion: facing divorce and a custody battle, Malone took her children’s lives. Pete Wonicke is a rookie tabloid reporter who finagles an assignment to cover the murders. Determined to make his name in the paper, he begins digging into the case. Pete’s interest in the story develops into an obsession with Ruth, and he comes to believe there’s something more to the woman whom prosecutors, the press, and the public have painted as a promiscuous femme fatale. Did Ruth Malone violently kill her own children, is she a victim of circumstance - or is there something more sinister at play?