Small Sacrifices by Ann Rule

Small Sacrifices by Ann Rule is in my top 10 true crime books.

I first read this when I was a teenager and have re-read a few times since. In Small Sacrifices, Rule tells the unbelievable and shocking story of Diane Downs who in 1983 claimed a “shaggy-haired stranger” shot her three kids.

Without ruining the book for those who are unaware of the case or want to read it (hint: the shaggy-haired stranger doesn’t exist), Rule takes readers right through the crime, the trial and Diane Downs’s background – “…incest, psychological damage, desperate affairs and surrogate motherhood” proclaims the back cover blurb. This story is stranger and more disturbing than fiction.

Small Sacrifices was made into a 1989 mini-series starring Farrah Fawcett as Downs. It was a gripping mini-series, just like the book and the first “true crime” television I had ever watched. I’ve been hooked ever since.

This book is Rule at her best.

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