Saturday, 3 November 2012

Thoughts on reading Ira Levin's 'A Kiss Before Dying'

A Kiss Before DyingA Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great thriller. I discovered A Kiss Before Dying by accident. It was on sale for 99p in Kindle format. I had been having a break from reading crime novels. I had got bored with so many of the mediocre crime novels that are being published at the moment; police procedurals that vied with each other as to who could produce the most dysfunctional detective or describe the most sadistic of murders most gruesomely, all the while bewildering me with constant changes of point of view, head-hopping like a louse on speed.
Oh what a joy to read this 1950s classic. A crime thriller which concentrated my attention and got me into the mind of a killer and his victims. The whole novel is brilliantly structured, plot wise. I had my expectations totally subverted just over half way through.
My greatest surprise of all, however, was the discovery that Ira Levin was only 23 years old when he wrote this novel. The man was clearly a genius at telling a story and telling it well.
I'm very glad I had never seen either of the adaptations of this novel into film. This is a novel where the impact is very much in the way events pan out. It is also not a story which could have been set today. Facebook and Google would have both rendered the plot unworkable!

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Lucy said...

Better be good! I've just bought it on your recommendation. I too rebelled against the way crime novels were getting gruesome - so I guess our tastes may coincide.

Yvonne Johnston said...

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.