I picked up a copy of Ira Levin’s A Kiss Before Dying for next to nothing in a recent Amazon Kindle sale. It was a member of an on-line book club who gave me the tip-off, and I’m really pleased that I acted on it. Ira Levin’s novels are probably overshadowed by the successful film versions of his work, such as The Boys From Brazil, The Stepford Wives and Rosemary’s Baby — A Kiss Before Dying has itself been turned into a film twice — so it was rather ironic that I soon formed the conclusion that A Kiss Before Dying came across, to me it seemed, almost like reading a Hitchcock film.
Possibly a little old fashioned, and without any of the gore and explicitness that seem par for the course these days, nevertheless it allows the story-telling and plot to carry the day. Something that one or two modern day crime writers and publishers might do well to take note of.
A small, perfectly formed, masterpiece of suspense.
Read on for a full review…