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Extended Audio Sample Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder Audiobook, by Ann Rule Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.9996336996337 out of 53.9996336996337 out of 53.9996336996337 out of 53.9996336996337 out of 53.9996336996337 out of 5 4.00 (8,190 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ann Rule Narrator: Ann Rule Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 1992 ISBN: 9780743546119
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“Somebody just shot my kids!”

Diane Downs brought her car to a halt in front of a Springfield, Oregon, hospital, her three gravely wounded children beside her. Thus begins the shocking tale of a truly unthinkable crime that shattered the tranquility of a tight-knit community.

As police searched for the “shaggy-haired stranger” Diane accused of shooting eight-year-old Christie, seven-year-old Cheryl, and three-year-old Danny in cold blood, a suspicion grew that was even more horrifying than the crime itself: did Diane shoot her own children?

A dedicated district attorney, haunted by this question, searched for the destructive forces that seemed to possess this beautiful young mother and uncovered a chronology of incest, psychological wounding, desperate affairs, and surrogate motherhood.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Vivid…A page-turner.” 

    New York Times Book Review

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Teri | 4/10/2017

    " The original book is great but the audio version leaves a lot to be desired. First, as much a I love Ann Rule, I did NOT care for her as the narrator due to the sound of her voice AND didn't realize it was abridged so audio book is too short for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kendra | 2/6/2014

    " A top notch true crime novel, Ann Rule details the story of a mother who murdered one of her children and attempted to murder her other two children. All because her boyfriend "didn't want children." It is horrifying that someone would even think about doing something such as this, let alone carrying it out. Ann Rule makes a good case against the mother and this book will keep you in your seat! Very good as far as true crime novels go, definitely worth the read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 2/6/2014

    " Couldn't put it down. An unbelievable true crime story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen Doherty | 2/5/2014

    " Very sad story about a mother shooting her kids killing one out of three. It took a while for the court system to try her but they did and I was happy when she was found guilty. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kay | 2/3/2014

    " I read this book when my children were very small and I must say that it was disturbing what some "mothers" can do. I enjoy Ann Rule's books in general and this was no exception. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dagny | 1/29/2014

    " This was a really interesting book about a true crime story, though it was disturbing to think that a mother could do that to her own children. Antisocial behavior at it's height. Well written, researched and interesting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Connie | 1/24/2014

    " Way too long and drawn out! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Duffy | 1/15/2014

    " It would be hard to rate any true crime as excellent just because of the sheer evil of crime. However Ann is so thorough in her investigations and tries to bring every horrible crime to a satisfying ending that when I need a break from fictional mysteries she is who I turn to. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eva Leger | 1/12/2014

    " I remember this one a lot- I get chills just remembering. Great book but a lot of hers aren't for someone who doesn't read true crime usually. They (not to mention the pictures) can be pretty grisly. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 1/12/2014

    " Disturbing but, then what did you expect? I wonder if Ann Rule is able to sleep at night. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katrin | 1/2/2014

    " About a selfish woman that tried to kill her kids just to get her boyfriend. She was sent to prison for life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cecelia Tencza | 1/1/2014

    " This story was so horrifying to me to read as a young adult. It had great effect on me and taught me that maternal instincts are not always instinctual. Chilling to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bunny | 12/22/2013

    " My favorite true crime writer, her books are so well researched and engrossing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kalah | 12/7/2013

    " Pure Ann Rule. Sad, but compelling story. Being a mother it was a bit more difficult to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 12/4/2013

    " true story of Diana Downs and the murder of her kids. excellent story makes u wonder what these people think that these innocent beings become so expendable and inconvenient --people like tht shouldn't have kids. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Penny Amyot | 11/16/2013

    " ann rule is the best "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lorraine | 7/17/2013

    " Desperation, incredible sorrow, well told story "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 the Hen | 6/10/2013

    " seriously disturbing stuff, all the more so because its a true story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tiffani | 2/23/2013

    " I am not done with this one yet, but so far it is really good. I like how this one reads more like a story, it's been easier for me to get into it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 12/22/2012

    " The psychological aspect of the sociopath is what intrigues me about Ann Rule's books. She has a way of analyzing the criminal mind that I find both fascinating and horrifying at the same time. I look forward to reading more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Renee | 8/28/2012

    " This debut author might turn out to be a hack, but I still enjoyed this light mystery-thriller chick read (do you really know who your husband is?) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindy Hirons | 6/8/2012

    " I read this a long time ago, but this is the book that made Ann Rule my favorite author. I am planning on reading this book again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kay Lynn | 6/2/2012

    " I enjoy reading true crime, and this captivated me! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keely Lynn MidwinterGraces | 1/25/2012

    " I'm a huge Ann Rule fan, and I suddenly found the need to reread this true story about a mom that tried every which way to avoid conviction in the murder and attempted murder of her kids. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patty | 1/4/2012

    " Unbelievable what this woman did to her kids. Or did she? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kerry | 12/28/2011

    " She is the master of true crime writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Saysayg | 9/7/2011

    " Loved it. Great true crime. Well balanced between psychological study and courtroom drama. This woman convinces me even more that there is no rehabilitating a sociopath. Google her and watch her parole hearing...she changes her story again! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jerry Westerby | 8/26/2011

    " Ann Rule has better access to criminal investigations than any other crime writer, but her terrible writing and insinuation of herself into the story ruins every book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracy | 8/17/2011

    " Hard to imagine that this is a true story...it will make you cry. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elena Muñoz-alazazi | 7/29/2011

    " I have read mostly all of Ann Rules True Crime books. There is no better author who has come close to bringing a case so alive. Small Sacrifice was my first book. I could not put the book down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dawn | 6/26/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book. I felt like I was living the entire story while reading this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 6/10/2011

    " Another great book by Ann Rule. Chilling book that reads like a great suspense novel, loved the updates at the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kimberly | 5/3/2011

    " OMG, Farrah did a great job in the movie, but Ann wrote the hell outta this book. That damn Diane was a nut, and you can read all about this crazy woman's sacrifice of her own children for the sake of some man. And there's so much more! You will not be able to put this book down! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacy | 4/14/2011

    " For book club. I actually finished this in April, but, se la vie.

    This was an interesting read and well written. Hard for me to say I liked it a lot as the subject matter was so disturbing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie | 4/2/2011

    " I Liked this book because it had content that was close to my heart. I have children and the horror that this mother put her children through is unbelievable. I continued to read because I just couldn't believe a mother would ever do such a thing, it had to be someone else. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elektra | 3/2/2011

    " One of the saddest books I ever read.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Courtnie | 2/28/2011

    " Excellent book! One of the best I've ever read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nick | 2/5/2011

    " Ann Rule expertly details the story of a sociopathic woman who shoots her children in a delusional attempt to win over one of her married boyfriends. The case is both bizarre and fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kenna | 1/21/2011

    " I couldn't put this book down. It is horrifying and interesting at the same time. Being a mother of two it is very hard to understand this woman and the reason she could have for doing this, however, I feel that she did commit this crime. "

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About the Author
Author Ann Rule

Ann Rule (1930 or 1931–2015) was a former Seattle policewoman and the author of more than two dozen New York Times bestsellers. Eight of her books have been made into movies for television, and she won the Peabody Award for her miniseries, Small Sacrifices. She also won two Anthony Awards and was nominated for an Edgar Award three times. Aside from being a writer, she was a certified instructor for police training seminars and lectured frequently to law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and forensic science organizations.