A Kiss Before Dying (Pegasus Crime) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Here's your chance to fix this situation! "A Kiss before Dying" is now back in print, in a nice trade paperback, for the first time since the early 90s (when a mass-market paperback was briefly available to tie-in with the forgotten movie adaptation starring Sean Young and Matt Dillon). First published in 1953 when Levin was only twenty-three, "A Kiss before Dying" is one of the most remarkable suspense novels ever penned and a masterpiece of literary noir. The greatest suspense writer of all time, Cornell Woolrich, highly influenced Levin, and this book seems like an overt homage to many of Woolrich's devices. It's the only suspense novel I know of that honestly compares with the master.
To tell much about the plot would ruin the shocks and surprises awaiting you in these pages. Levin hurls out plot twists that genuinely jolt the reader and turn the whole story upside down in moments (King referred to one of the twists as "a real screeching bombsell" of a surprise). The story begins at a large college, where Dorothy Kingship, daughter of a wealthy industrialist, has learned that she is pregnant. Her boyfriend, a handsome, dashing, but callous, calculating, and completely amoral young man is unhappy with the news; he hoped to marry into the rich family as his quick ticket to success, and the uptight Leo Kingship will certainly disinherit his daughter when he finds out about the pregnancy.Read more ›
The novel is written in Levin's signature detached prose, which works perfectly for this noir-influenced, Hitchcock-like story - we find ourselves inside the heads of multiple characters, providing motive and believability to a plotline that comes dangerously close to being a potboiler. There's plenty of suspense and tension, the characters are likable and identifiable, and the twist (yes, there's a twist) is actually surprising (at least for readers who haven't seen one of the film versions of the novel!). Best of all, everything comes together satisfactorily in the end - and endings are the most difficult for books like this one.
Highly recommended - the 1956 movie version (with Robert Wagner and Joanne Woodward) isn't bad, either; it's just not as good as the book. It was an easy read on Kindle - if you like it, try Levin's other novels (`This Perfect Day,' `Rosemary's Baby,' `The Stepford Wives,' or `Boys from Brazil').
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Superb first novel. A must read for mystery fans,although it is not a mystery in the usual since.Published 1 day ago by Martin Reck
Rather dated since it was written in '60s. Fast read. Suspenseful, not scary. Author has reader wondering who killer is for part of story. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Bootsie
First published in 1953 by an author then aged 24, this book has all the ingredients for Stephen King, much later, to call him the Swiss watchmaker among thriller writers: perfect... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Alfred J. Kwak
Fantastic early Ira Levin. He was a master of the creepy noir. He's mostly known for writing "Rosemary's Baby", "The Stepford Wives", and "The Boys From... Read morePublished 3 months ago by latrussell
A KIDS BEFORE DYING is so smooth, so seamless, that I'm just sick about the fact that someone who was just twenty-three years old at the time could write something so accomplished.Published 6 months ago by Jim Thomsen
Great book, but what should we expect from such a terrific author as Ira Levin.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is Levin’s first novel, published at the age of only 23, comparably a child when held up to the emotional maturity of most males of the same age today. Read morePublished 10 months ago by C. Middleton
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