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A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion: A Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 14, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"A gripping, entertaining novel." -Los Angeles Times

“Ron Hansen has written a mordantly funny, vividly compelling and irresistibly readable chronicle of the Twenties." —Joyce Carol Oates

About the Author

Ron Hansen is the author of eight novels and three short story collections. He graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, and went on to the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where he studied with John Irving. He is now Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., Professor in Arts and Humanities at Santa Clara University in northern California.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (June 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451617550
  • ASIN: B006W3YSWA
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,300,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
What begins with the heedless passion of an extra-marital affair becomes a heinous murder and finally ghostly scenes of execution in New York's electric chair, an account that moves through the reckless fantasies of clandestine trysts, romance mired in a wife's growing resentment that she isn't free to be with her lover. In 1925, Ruth Snyder is considered a "man's woman", a blonde, blue-eyed beauty with a curvaceous figure who revels in the flattery of men. Ruth's marriage to Albert Snyder has come to a point of accommodation, Albert a respected graphic artist who loves opera, card parties with neighbors and working on home projects. Ruth loves the night life, the appreciative glances of men, bored senseless by her mate. In an era when divorce is difficult, the Snyder's remain married for their daughter, Ruth enjoying nights out "with the girls", Albert anesthetizing his discontent with alcohol.

When unhappily married corset salesman Judd Gray meets the enchanting Ruth at an alcohol-enhanced luncheon, the attraction is immediate. An extra-martial encounter afterwards becomes the first of many. As the passion heats up, murder becomes a regular topic of conversation, Ruth adamant that she cannot go on, dazzling her lover with exotic bedroom skills. Increasing amounts of booze quell Judd's conscience, the inevitable confrontation building to an unbearable pitch... and a night of murder. Alcohol is indeed a major player in the unfolding tragedy, Prohibition and heady financial times ushering in a celebratory atmosphere where the public frequently flaunts the law, the spirits flowing, legal or not.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By My2Cents VINE VOICE on June 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Based on a true story from the late 1920s. Ruth Snyder was a blond, blue-eyed beauty when she married her husband Albert in 1915. Everywhere she went heads turned. Albert was thirteen years older than Ruth, and together the couple had one daughter. They lived in Queens Village, New York.

Albert was often demeaning to his wife, sometimes drinking too much, and when he had free time, he chose to spend it doing things that he alone enjoyed. Initially, Ruth tried to please her husband, but it wasn't long before, she grew tired of being ignored by her husband. Flirtatious, and aware of the effect her beauty had on men, she got pleasure seeing their reaction to her teasing ways. Judd Gray was one of these men.

Ruth met Judd Gray, a corset salesman in a diner, and the two hit it off. Ruth was ripe for a little excitement in her life, and it wasn't long before the two began a torrid love affair. Judd, like Albert had a drinking problem. He was also unhappy in his own marriage. He finds Ruth totally irresistible. Once Ruth is sure she has Judd under her spell, she begins to plot a way to kill her husband, and the execution of that plan includes Judd. Judd admits, later that he felt, " hypnotized and helplessly dominated by her. "

This novel was addictive. It begins with a bumbled crime scene, and investigation. Along the way the reader learns of Ruth and Arthur's passionless marriage, and more about their life together, followed by the intimate details of Ruth and Judd....A.K.A. "lover boy " and their intense, reckless affair.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 13, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ron Hansen is a brilliant writer. He has taken a story from the twenties of love, lust and murder and helped us to forget the facts and become involved in the story. 'The Postman Rings Twice' is a film that is often talked about as one of the best films of the noir era. This novel takes it from the noir into the tough, hardboiled murder mystery.

Ruth and Judd, as they will become known to all, were lovers, and both of them were married, to other people. Judd was so transfixed with Ruth that he would do anything for her, much to his regret. The story opens with Ruth's nine year old daughter, Lorraine, finding her mother tied up with rope and writhing in he hallway outside her bedroom. She started to untie her mother, but Ruth told her to run across the street and get the neighbor. The neighbors came, Lorraine's father's body was found in the bedroom, and when Ruth was told he was dead, she yelled, "Oh, my darling, Albert". Lorraine thought this was strange since her father had never been a darling to anyone. As the story proceeds we find the story of Ruth and Judd and Lorraine and Albert. Ruth, was hard pressed to really act except to protray her sexy self, and this was appreciated by the police and all who came in contact. However, it gave her away, and no one was a fool. It was not too soon that the story came tumbling out, but not as it was known to Judd.

This is such a well written and human story. Everyone knows the back story, but told in this genre, with such fierceness, the people in the story come to life. I never liked Ruth or Judd, but I came to understand a little of their lives. Lorraine was left at times to fend for herself while Ruth and Judd had their assignations, and this came to the fore at the murder trial.
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