©1953 Ira Levin (P)2011 AudioGO
This is no work of genius, contrary to the critical/biographical introduction lauding Ira Levin.
The intro prepares the reader for great things which, for me, were not delivered.
Many novels start strong, because the author expends his all at the start. The back and forth story grows convoluted and vague and the characters do not really develop, rather, they become more superficial and unconvincing: it is difficult to empathize with anyone; a good writer draws the reader into the emotions and motives of all the characters.
As the book progresses, Levin's straight-forward style degenerates into purple prose and drags on tediously toward a makeshift and anti-climatic end. A Kiss Before Dying is a story that doesn't know where it's going.
A real classic in the noir genre is is James M. Cain's Double Indemnity, a superb tale of the criminal impulse infecting ordinary people. Levin's "Kiss" just doesn't make the grade.
Cunning sociopathic murderer
Yes...I could not put it down. It is a very tightly woven, detailed murder mystery with a huge surprise that took me completely by surprise, so much so that I had to stop reading and work through what I had just read to figure out what had happened. The vocabulary is wonderful and specifically descriptive. I will read it again.
This is the first Hantman performance for me, but my next selection will be a performance by him. His voice is perfect. He performs female voices every bit as well as he does male voices. His pacing is perfect. His voice is a pleasure to hear.
Set, and written, in the 1950's, it was a welcome return to the days of my adolescence. I really enjoyed that aspect of it.
How it doesn't stop at one.
How he manage to go after all of them.
Till the end.
Nice story, hated the end.
If you like suspense thrillers you must read this. It is my favourite Ira Levin book, beautifully structured with great language and characters.
I have never had such a shock after a 'reveal' and rarely been as captivated by a story.
The narration is great too. Highly recommended.
A 50s mystery about the troubles of a college guy and the women he becomes involved with. Held my interest in the beginning, but became predictible towards the end. Writing style and prose seemed "dated."
I would rate this book 6 stars if I could. My wife got angry at me for sneaking short listens while she was around rather than give her my attention. Great mystery.
Considering it was written in 1954, it feels very modern. The character development is excellent, and you feel like it all makes sense. Very suspenseful. If you listen while driving, you might get a speeding ticket like me!
Too bad that the films that were made of this book were not good. It would be a great movie if you stick to the text!
A Kiss Before Dying is a terrifically well-written mystery story. It held my interest from start to finish. I agree with the positive reviews in Audible. I highly recommend it.
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