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Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder Mass Market Paperback – Nov 18 1999


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reissue edition (Nov. 18 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451166604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451166609
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.9 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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gency room doctor; his assessment of patient's needs is deft. In his late thirties, married, and the father of young children, he had worked full-time in the ER for eight years. Read the first page
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One of Ann Rule's best .So well written. A horrible story, but Rule handled it gently and even that monster of a mother was portrayed as a human being with some good qualities. (Well she was a good worker and baked cakes for her co-workers)
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By Leigh TOP 500 REVIEWER on Nov. 27 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I had never even heard of Diane Downs or her children and this crime. I decided to try reading a true crime book and see if I enjoyed it and every one seems to agree Ann Rule is the best. So I picked this book up and I can honestly say I feel that my life has been changed. I don't know what it is about this story that grabbed me, that kept me reading until late into the night. Not only was it shocking, a mother shooting her three children, killing one and critically injuring the other two, all to get a man. But then to watch and listen to Diane throughout the book. I immediately thought of Jodi Arias as I read her words, the "verbal vomit" as one of the investigators on the case dubbed it. And Jodi and Diane are similar, both constantly changed their stories, Jodi wasn't there, then masked ninja's did it, the final one was that the she shot him in self defense even though he had 29 stab wounds at the time. Diane said it was a bushy haired stranger she never met, then it was someone she knew, then it was a plot by her ex husband. Both women adore the spotlight and having others look at them and most importantly both were madly in love with the sound of their own voices and never shut up, basically digging themselves into trouble. Having no idea about this case beforehand I didn't judge Diane and thought I would give her a chance she was abused as a child, but so are other people and they don't kill. But when excerpts of her diary were revealed in the book there was one statement she made that changed my mind and made me realize that she is guilty. In a letter written to her lover she said "I think I love my kids more than I love you." what kind of mother says a thing like that?Read more ›
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well, if you like poking around the mind of a serial killer -- in this case, a mother who murdered/attempted to murder her 3 children -- then this is the book for you. having said this, however, i must acknowledge that "small sacrifices" is much more than a sensationalist account . for one thing, it is a compelling story of how forensic science helped to catch and convict a killer. for another, it is an inspiring account of how one man -- in this case, the prosecuting attorney -- not only persevered against strong odds to win a conviction, but -- and this i found practicially unbelievable -- afterwards adopted the 2 survivng children of the perpetrator, despite the fact that each child was seriously damaged by his/her experience. but there's no question that the "star": of the show is the mother herself whose story is as chilling as it is absorbing. for those of us who think of ourselves as "normal," it's always intiguing , as well as chilling, to venture into the mind of a psychopath. but having said all this, i must add than ann rule manages to tell the story in a thoughtful, sensitive way, avoiding the pitfalls of "tabloid journalism." in short, though i wouldn't necessarily recommend that you take this book on a carribean vacation, if what joseph conrad calls "the fascination of the abomination" is your "thing," then you'll probably want to read "small sacrifices".
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By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 3 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
E. Diane Downs was truly a sociopath. Bitter over an unhappy past with a cruel and controlling father, Diane literally jumped into marriage with the unsuspecting Stephen Downs in 1972. That union produced two daughters and a son.
Daughter Cheryl Lynn, born in 1976 was Diane's scapegoat. Photographs of the girl reveal a somber, unsmiling face and quotes attributed to Cheryl Lynn point out a very sad life with the demented Diane.
Diane was truly demented. She burned down the family trailer with the idea of raising insurance money. She wanted to start a surrogate mother clinic and has a daughter for a couple. (That lucky little girl need never have to worry about having contact with Diane)! Her lack of ability to bond with the newborn and being able to just let her be taken by others underscored her lack of ability to love or feel bonded to anybody.
Her son and daughters knew that all too well. In May of 1983, Diane shot the three children in her car. Cheryl Lynn died, Christie was partially paralyzed and son Daniel remains paralyzed from the waist down. Diane played "Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran, a song that appeared to describe her accurately. When Diane and her children are rushed to the hospital, she claims a shaggy haired stranger (a classic cliche) shot them all, herself included. (Diane had a superficial arm wound).
Her behavior during and after the shootings is disgusting, to say the least. She has an affair. A daugther is born of this union and fortunately, the child was raised by a family who refused to have any contact with Diane who was on trial at the time of the baby's birth. Over the years, I have prayed for all of her surviving children and hoped that they would have good lives.
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