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A Kiss Before Dying Audiobook

A Kiss Before Dying

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Publisher's Summary

A Kiss Before Dying not only debuted the talent of best-selling novelist Ira Levin to rave reviews, it also set a new standard in the art of mystery and suspense. Now a modern classic, as gripping in its tautly plotted action as it is penetrating in its exploration of a criminal mind, it tells the shocking tale of a young man who will stop at nothing--not even murder--to get where he wants to go. For he has dreams; plans. He also has charm, good looks, sex appeal, intelligence. And he has a problem. Her name is Dorothy; she loves him, and she's pregnant. The solution may demand desperate measures. But, then, he looks like the kind of guy who could get away with murder. Compellingly, step by determined step, the novel follows this young man in his execution of one plan he had neither dreamed nor foreseen. Nor does he foresee how inexorably he will be enmeshed in the consequences of his own extreme deed.

©1953 Ira Levin (P)2011 AudioGO

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (738 )
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  •  
    karen 03-27-13
    karen 03-27-13
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    "Nothing like a classic....."

    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
  •  
    Gwynne O'Reagan 09-08-12
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    "Fantastic Mystery/Thriller!"

    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
  •  
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 07-10-14
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 07-10-14

    Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

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    "Lip smacking good"

    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
  •  
    Squeak Alaska 05-06-12
    Squeak Alaska 05-06-12 Member Since 2009

    The Dragon Mother

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    "A Clever Masterpiece of Mystery and Suspense."

    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
  •  
    Byron 08-08-13
    Byron 08-08-13
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    "The classical psychological suspense"

    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
  •  
    Pam K. Thomas arkadelphia, arkansas United States 02-25-13
    Pam K. Thomas arkadelphia, arkansas United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Early Ira Levin still stands the test of time!"
    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
  •  
    Sharon Schaumburg, Il, United States 10-24-12
    Sharon Schaumburg, Il, United States 10-24-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Great book!"

    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
  •  
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 02-02-16
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 02-02-16 Member Since 2015

    I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)

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    "Ummm... You know it's a classic, right?"

    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
  •  
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 04-01-15
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 04-01-15 Member Since 2016

    Rob Thomas

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don’t get between a narcissist/psycho & his goals"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Donovan 05-27-14
    S. Donovan 05-27-14
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    "Really wonderful!"
    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.

    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

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