From the moment Ruth opens the door for the police they know for sure that she has kidnapped and killed her children. Who ultimately has killed her son and daughter does not really matter, Flint acquaints us with a chilling world of prejudice, presumptions and corruption.
In the early sixties Queens is not ready for a beautiful young woman who exudes sexuality and who is not prepared to become buddies with her neighbours. She wants more out of life than just marriage and the children she loves to death. Keeping up appearances, not showing her grief, it is used against her by women all over New York and more importantly by the police force.
Flint sets out strongly with a chilling and dark description of Ruth’s life and her surroundings. Queens accepts you if you concede to the customs, you are rejected when you want more out of life. The police force is how you know it to have been half a century ago: prejudiced, highly opinionated as far as women are concerned and corrupt. Later on in the novel Flint does not manage to maintain this darkness. By changing the focus more towards journalist Pete she could have added an extra edge. I found his change from reporter telling the tale of a wanton mother to desperately trying to find the murderer too inspired by his own feelings for Ruth. Thereby not seeing her as a person but as a stereotype of attractive wife and mother.
Little Deaths though dealing with the vicious attack on two young children is not a crime novel. Not the finding of the culprit but the process that has started the minute Ruth asked for help of the police is what counts. I liked the dark, edgy atmosphere Flint created, I felt a nosy visitor to a neighbourhood watching the women gossip and condemning the one who did not acquiesce. I would have preferred however it if Flint had spent less time on Pete more on Ruth.