The classic thriller of Dr. Josef Mengele's nightmarish plot to restore the Third Reich....
Enter the chilling world of Ira Levin, where terror is as near as your new neighbors and where evil wears the most innocent face of all....
Harvey Mapes is a 26-year-old security guard who spends his nights in a guard shack outside a gated community in Southern California, reading detective novels....
A chilling psychological thriller that explores the menacing evil behind the glittering facades of Manhattan's skyscrapers....
In Patricia Highsmith's debut novel, we encounter Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno, passengers on the same train....
Los Angeles PI Philip Marlowe is working for the Sternwood family. Old man Sternwood, crippled and wheelchair-bound, is being given the squeeze by a blackmailer....
As Yvette listens to her neighbor's tale, she discovers a shocking connection, but doesn't know whether Mona's come to help or to harm her and her family....
On a quiet fall evening in the small, peaceful town of Mill Valley, California, Dr. Miles Bennell discovers an insidious, horrifying plot....
Joseph Armagh was 13 when he first saw America through a dirty porthole on the steerage deck of The Irish Queen. It was the early 1850s, and he was a penniless orphan....
In the summer of 1931, a cruise ship sails for Bremerhaven, Germany....
After taking a bullet for his commander-in-chief, Secret Service agent Joseph Reeder is a hero. But his outspoken criticism of the president he saved puts him at odds with the Service's apolitical nature....
This is heralded as the very first mystery novel. Collins, in his great work, created the guidelines for the genre as we know it today....
When Autumn stumbles upon the social media account of the family who adopted her infant daughter years ago, she finds herself drawn into their picture-perfect existence....
Defending a surgeon in a malpractice case, Jake Lassiter begins to suspect that his client is innocent of negligence...but guilty of murder....
The neighbors all whisper about the two sisters who live on the hill: It's Blanche Hudson who lives in that house, you know....
Famous stories of the apocalypse by the world’s best science fiction writers....
The Godfather is an extraordinary novel which has become a modern-day classic....
The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae....
I've read this book several times -- never seen either of the film adaptations -- so I knew the story well. I thought it would be fun to have someone read it to me for a change.
It was. I loved the introduction at the beginning -- told a little bit about the book when it was published in 1953, when Ira Levin was just 23 years old, about how it was received back then. That set the stage.
Suffice it to say that the audible version is a total delight, doesn't disappoint in the slightest. It's stood the test of time very well -- nothing in it is old, everything could happen just as easily today as it did back them.
Most fascinating was thinking about the mind of the author, Ira Levin-- how he could come up with this innovative plot, then move on to works like 'Deathtrap', surely one of the most pleasantly confounding plays ever produced. Then to move on to the Nazi thriller, 'The Boys from Brazil' then 'Rosemary's Baby' -- a very different genre.. After that, 'Sliver' -- also outstanding -- and 'The Stepford Wives', a classic in its own right And all this from an author who's first produced play was the comedy "No Time for Sergeants"!
I've loved every one of Levin's books for different reasons. I'm so happy the Audible made "A Kiss Before Dying" available in audio, and hope that both 'Sliver' -- which is much like 'Kiss' in many ways -- and "The Stepford Wives" will be available soon, too. Although the film version of that, starring Katherine Ross and Tine Louise, of all people, was very good, it doesn't compare to the written version. Levin's books are really are classics, all of them. I know I'll listen to "Kiss" again and again. It's just a very very good book.
34 of 35 people found this review helpful
Ira Levin is best known for his horror and thriller tales from the 1960s and '70s, including Rosemary's Baby and the Stepford Wives--both undoubted classics. This book from the 1950s should be far better known that it is, because it is the equal of his later work, but in the more standard genre of mystery. Levin is a magnificent plotter, and I guarantee you will not have foreseen some of the twists he provides here. But beyond that, he manages to make you care about all the characters, good and bad. I cannot provide much detail without giving away some of the surprises, but believe me that for a novel in the mystery/thriller vein, you could not do better than A Kiss Before Dying. In addition, this narrator, who is new to me, does a wonderful job of providing distinctive but not distracting voicing for each character. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
21 of 23 people found this review helpful
What fun to discover a classic that has not come my way before. Loved everything about this: the plot, the structure, and the narrator.
Levin's story is riveting, featuring a very believable bad guy with mind boggling self confidence and resourcefulness. The book is structured around three episodes, each one with memorable characters and building suspense, capped by surprise. And the narrator guides us well, bringing it all to life.
If I'd been reading this, I'm sure I'd have skipped ahead to find out the ending - love that that's a lot harder in Audible versions!
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
This book was originally written in 1953 and I have really started taking a liking to these old mystery novels. It is not the same as a novel written today in where the setting is in the 1950s, but an actual novel written during that timeframe thinks nothing of mentioning smoking in college classrooms, the jukebox on the table at your favorite coffee shop, or the folded handkerchief that gentleman would offer ladies who were crying. You just gotta love those little details.
This story was clever masterpiece of mystery and suspense. Our young protagonist is a gentleman determined to make it big by marrying big. He tries to find young ladies who are daughters of wealthy families to date. He woos them carefully, so if the relationship doesn’t work out, he can move on without alerting other young ladies that he is dating girls for their potential to make him rich. He thinks he has found the perfect girl in Dorothy.
All is going well until Dorothy turns up pregnant. Then he sees all of his carefully laid plans start to go down the drain. He can’t just dump her, that wouldn’t look good. He can’t marry her because her father would disown her because of the unplanned pregnancy. Then he wouldn’t get any money and they would have to live in poverty. But if she were to suffer an ‘accident’ then he would be off the hook and could continue dating again.
Now it seems like he has gotten away with the perfect crime … or has he? One of Dorothy’s sisters gets involved and starts asking questions and he begins to feel threatened by her discoveries. If she finds out too much, he might go to jail and never get rich. Maybe she should have an ‘accident’ too before she discovers too much.
Overall this was a great little mystery / suspense story. Even though you know who killed Dorothy there were many, many more twists and turns in this book. Enough to keep you going full speed ahead until you see the light. It was a very satisfying read.
The Narration Review
This audiobook was narrated by Hauro Hantman. He has a nice, clear, and soft spoken voice. He was very easy to listen to and he had a calming effect. Definitely a voice you can listen to while relaxing. There were a few times in the story where the juke box was playing and instead of just reading the lyrics, Hauro sang the tunes. I discovered that Hauro has a very pleasant singing voice, too!
17 of 20 people found this review helpful
A KISS BEFORE DYING is an Edgar Award Winning classic mystery that, arguably, was the beginning of the modern psychological mystery thriller. This is a classic tale of murder for money, but it's the brazenness of the criminal that becomes the shocker.
Young handsome college student meets beautiful young coed. They plan to marry, but for all the wrong reasons. Our handsome hero is anything but the hero. We get to experience all of his thinking as he plans out his wonderful life that just need lots of money to be complete. Coming from a very poor background, what better way to use his brains and good looks, than to find the perfect rich wife. Only when complications arise, maybe she needs to dye. Maybe this happens one too many times!!
The build up of the plot through the killer's mind is done beautifully in this book. His "out there" reasoning is followed through from beginning to end in a book that constantly makes the reader want to warn the characters of impending danger throughout the story. Suspense is built to a tingling point more than once in this masterful psychological suspense. Many of Ira Levin's books were made into movies, but the book never reads like a movie script. Must read for anyone thinking of writing psychological suspense.
12 of 15 people found this review helpful
I don’t usually read crime or suspense novels, but I read this one because of its author’s reputation and the reputation of the novel itself. I’m glad I did. Nothing impresses me more than when an author can really surprise you. And Ira Levin really delivers in this suspense classic. That’s all I’ll say about surprises.
One of the reasons I usually don’t enjoy suspense novels is because they are, obviously, designed to make you tense. And, if you can’t keep reading, say because you have to go to work, then you remain in suspense. This book did keep me in suspense, but it was a fun ride, so no regrets.
I recommend this book, especially if you are a crime/suspense fan and would like to read an early example of top notch suspense writing.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to A Kiss Before Dying again? Why?
Probably not. I generally like to move on to something else.
What did you like best about this story?
This book was written in the 1950's and is still so relevant today.the main character is a true sociopath. He could step into any current novel. At the time this was written it must have been a very shocking story, somewhat like the great Patricia Highsmith.
Have you listened to any of Mauro Hantman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
He's very good!
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
No, it didn't make me laugh or cry but it was very suspenseful.
Any additional comments?
I enjoyed this book. I'm an Ira Levin fan,but had never read this book. I believe he was only in his twenty's when he wrote this. I would love it if you would produce The Stepford Wives,one of Ira's best.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
I don't want to spoil anything but I have to say that my mouth literally dropped open at a certain point in the story. I ran over and rewound my ipod just to make sure I heard what I thought I heard. Excellent example of a classic mystery.
11 of 14 people found this review helpful
I don't know what people expect when they read classic novels... Car chases and stuff blowing up and the main character having graphic sex and swearing every 2nd sentence? This is a classic, and has none of those things. What it does have, though, is suspense, tension, to the point writing, and a horrible key character. Pretty much exactly what you'd look for in a noir crime suspense novel.
It is written in 3 "sections", which makes sense once you realize what the main character is up to. Section 2 is definitely the most suspenseful and I found section 3 went on a bit too long - really, I didn't need a long description of the view of a smelter, followed by a walkthrough description of how a smelter worked, and so on... I guess the reason for all this detail comes clear at the end, but I don't think it was as much of a surprise ending as the author intended (which makes all this build up to an ending you expect a bit.... well... long winded).
The narration is very good and there is no sex, swearing or gore.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
I had never read this prior to listening to it and I was enthralled! This is so well written and such an exciting book! This book had my attention every moment and I enjoyed every minute. What a totally scary bad guy! The scariest part is that this kind of person could really exist. There is nothing more scary than a normal looking and sounding person who is really a horrible sociopath!! It didn't matter that it is set in the early 1950s. The story could just as easily be today. <br/><br/>It was a really great book! It's no wonder Ira Levin went on to be such a success!
4 of 5 people found this review helpful