Written and read by Ann Rule
An Audible audiobook production
Approx. 3.5 hour run-time
Audiobooks are an old friend of mine. Camping with my family as a kid often involved twelve-hour drives across Texas to the Chihuahua Desert; books on tape were how my mother kept everyone entertained and content.
So to audiobooks I turned for my drive down to Washington, D.C., over this past Fourth-of-July weekend. For my choice of book in particular, I turned to one recommended to me by a beloved high school teacher, Mrs. G.
It was in Mrs. G’s AP English class my junior year that we read In Cold Blood, the granddaddy of true crime and my first serious exposure to the written genre. A year ago, when this blog was just starting out, I visited my alma mater and consulted Mrs. G for books to review.
I am very pleased to have finally gotten to Small Sacrifices. It is fitting that this book was recommended to me by a teacher, for the late, great Ann Rule’s reading voice took me back to afternoon story time in elementary school. Just with a far, far darker topic.
This, like some of my favorite books in the mystery and true crime genres, is more a “whydunit” than a “whodunit.” It is the story of a female psychopath (who are, I have to agree with Ms. Rule, not profiled extensively enough in the genre or acknowledged in popular imagination) and how she came to be past the point of empathy. To her, children are “fungible” currency to purchase love.
To write anymore would be to give away the best of Rule’s probing psychological analysis. Her prose is easy on the ears when read aloud: detailed without being overwhelming, descriptive without dragging, incisive without losing feeling.
I never liked the song “Hungry Like the Wolf.” Now I am sure I will never listen to it again.
5/5 stars: excellent book of true-crime, brought to life by the author
3/5 ‘fraidy cats: The murder and abuse of children is described unsparingly. Not even driving through the Hudson River Valley on a sunny day could dim that sense of evil.
3/5 ick-factor: See above