Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder

Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder

by Ann Rule

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, September 26


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Stranger Beside Me comes a shocking true crime account of the destructive forces that drove a beautiful young mother to shoot her three young children in cold blood.

“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 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 8-year-old Christie, 7-year-old Cheryl, and 3-year-old Danny, a suspicion grew that was even more horrifying than the crime itself: Did Diane shoot her own children? Haunted by this question, a dedicated district attorney searched for the answer and uncovered a chronology of incest, psychological wounding, desperate affairs, and surrogate motherhood.

Ann Rule's gripping, powerful, and ultimately terrifying true story of passion and murder will hold you in thrall as it plumbs the unimagined depths of darkness concealed within a human being.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451166609
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/05/1988
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 12,246
Product dimensions: 4.13(w) x 6.88(h) x 1.13(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Ann Rule wrote thirty-five New York Times bestsellers. Her first bestseller was The Stranger Beside Me, about her personal relationship with infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. A former Seattle police officer, she used her firsthand expertise in all her books. For more than three decades, she was a powerful advocate for victims of violent crime. She lived near Seattle and passed away in 2015.


Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth:

October 22, 1935

Place of Birth:

Lowell, Michigan


Creative Writing Program, University of Washington

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 96 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I worked for the court during the Diane Downs trial, and was very skeptical when I learned that Ann Rule was attending the trial to write a book about it. For me, the experience of working on the trial was life-changing, shaking my cozy view of the world. I have to admit, however, that in my experience of the trial and how events unfolded, the book is amazingly accurate. It even shed some light on why Downs was driven to murdering her own children. It is utterly compelling. A mesmerizing read. Probably Rule's best book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so well written. So very interesting. Facts are very sad but true. Ann Rule really hits the spot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even though its been over 20 years since this tragic occurance, I still wonder what happened to the two surviving children. How a mother could ever look her children in the eye and point a gun and pull a trigger, is beyond reason. Ann Rule is a fantastic writer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In my second year of college we were required to purchase and read this book for a social sciences class I was enrolled in. I had never before been truly interested in 'True Crime' but from the moment that I began reading this book I couldn't put it down. That was over 7 years ago. Since that time I have read many books in this genre and have yet to be as emotionally involved as I was in this book. It's a heartbreaking story that will make you cry for the children and wonder how a woman, a mother could be so callous. By the end of the book there wasn't a fiber in my being that didn't wish the same fate upon Diane.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a excellent Book !! I am a Law Enforcement Officer, and my Crime Scene Investigation Instructor James Pex was the Lead Criminalist on this case. He did a incrediable job of reconstructing this crime scene in Court. His work ultimatly lead to the sucessful conviction of Diane Downs. If you look close at all the sketch's Diane Downs had drawn by the sketch artist, You will see the sketches look almost just like her. The Oregon State Crime Lab and Jim Pex did so much work on this case, and noone could put it into words better than Ann Rule. Her Books are the Most accurate recounts of Police investigations you could ever read. Her books just are hard to put down once you start reading them. Special Thanks to Jim Pex for putting Diane Downs where she belongs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this took in 1988 when it first came out and read it. Six months later, you couldn't buy this book anywhere; people were buying them up so quick. I had to pass my copy around to six people to read because they couldn't buy it anywhere. That says a lot for this story, which took the nation by storm. Diane Downes became a household name at that time, was on TV shows via satellite from prison, and a movie was made of this story. It is hard to say this was a good book because of the suffering of Diane's two surviving children and the death of her middle daughter, but if you like true crime and Ann Rule books, this is a must read. You'll never forget it. It's a hell of a story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I too read this book years ago. I couldn't find a copy (all book stores were sold out) so my friend allowed me to read her copy of this book. I'm so pleased to purchase a copy for my nook. This is a really good book and Ms. Rules has captured not only the emotions but the desperation that was brought out during the trial. I assure you... you'll love this book. Also, about the seller "Deans Books" I too had a problem with a purchase. I purchased a book and the book I received was by a different author with no conection to the book I selected. If you buy a book from them you really take a chance.
coalminersdaughter More than 1 year ago
This book was exceptionally well written. It delved into the mind of Diane Downs in a way that made her very easy to understand. I've often wondered how the two children who survived the tragedy inflicted on them by their mother are doing. I was so glad to hear that they had been taken in by a family who cared about them and weren't afraid of dealing with their disabilities. This book brings home the truth that some women will actually abandon or even go so far as to kill their children in order to be with a man they profess to love. I high recommend this book and any other books by Ann Rule to anyone who enjoys true crime books.
Lindsie More than 1 year ago
Ann Rule is by far the BEST true crime writer that I have come by. "Small Sacrifices" tells the horrifying story of a mother who will do anything, even shoot her 3 children in cold blood for the love of 1 man. This novel details the journey of Diane Downs life, and what possesed her to viciously kill and wound her 3 children on a dark night in the middle of nowehere. This is a MUST READ for all fans of the true crime genre, and Ann Rule. It is a page turner from beginning to end. Pick up this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book years ago and it started me reading all of Ann Rule's books. I could not put this book down. This book also taught me about the personality disorders and had me doing more research. My mother and daughter read the book and loved it. I highly recommend this book.
QueenieDeb More than 1 year ago
This is a book I read many years ago but wanted to read it again. I couldn't put it down. Ann Rule has a way of writing that keeps you so engrossed in the book you can't wait to get to each new chapter. While reading it dawned on me that a lot of things about Diane Downs are similar to the Casey Anthony case. She was just all about her. She shot her 3 children. One died, the other two were left with problems for life. She Had a crazy story like Casey too. It was the shaggy haired stranger.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As always, Ann has captured the true character of her subject. I could not put this book down, like most of her true crime books. However, this book filled my heart with sadness to think that a mother could do such a horrible thing to the children she should have protected with her own life!
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the start of this book i was hooked.. i couldnt put it down. Its so disturbing how a mother could shoot her 3 kids.. in cold blood. I loved the book so much i didnt want it to end! I cried for the kids,,,Hated the mother... Admired the detectives and was truely touched by the novel. I dont usually enjoy reading unless its a really good book, and all i can say is that if your looking for a good long book read Small Sacrifices.
fudgie More than 1 year ago
This is a very interesting and compelling book, well written, as usual, by Ann Rule. She gives the facts about this horrific crime and makes it difficult to put down. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is by far the most well written book, i love the way Ann Rule told this awful story about a monster who called herself a mother .. my heart goes to these children to have your own mother treat you the way Diane did and then shoot these innocent lil angels .. Diane deserves everything she got and God please never let her out of prison.. thank you everyone involved to bring this monster in including her own daughter, i was in tears when i read about this little girl up on the stand at her mothers trial, the emotions she must of felt, so brave....this is a must read....Bn
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was my first True Crime book, I read it when I was 14 and never forgot it. Since then, I have read so many, this remained my fave. I was thrilled to see it in NOOK so I re-read it right away. 24 years later, it's just as good and well-written in my adult opinion and Ann Rule is still my favorite TC writer. I was also pleasantly surprised to find the photos. More NOOK books, please.
BibleLove More than 1 year ago
This is the first time I read Small Sacrifices. Debated on whether or not I should read this one because it had small children involved but it was really good. Ann Rule is an exceptional true crime write. I felt so many emotions while reading this but. Truly a must read.
Goldens4Me More than 1 year ago
This is only my second book that I have read by Ann Rule and I am hooked! Ann Rule did a great job in following the life of Diane Downs and what drove her to shoot her three kids in cold blood. It was a fast moving book. I couldn't put it down. Ann Rule was very detailed and in depth. I don't think she left a piece of information unturned. I definitely recommend this book and this author. I look forward to reading even more from her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book. Hard to put down. Felt so sorry for those children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of Ann Rule for years. This book reveals how a heartless, unfeeling, probably borderline personallity, can do what she did to her children and lie, lie, lie about it
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is sad that we are interested and fascinated by such a horrible story, but Anne Rule is the best at her craft. Her writing is superb and this book will start your habit of reading everything by her that you can get your hands on!
Anonymous 10 months ago
Great read! Packed with facts!
whirled on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Small Sacrifices is a gripping and suspenseful read, even for those familiar with the case of convicted child killer Diane Downs, who shot her three young children to secure the love of a married man. Bestselling true crime author Ann Rule dissects the actions and character of all the main players in the shooting tragedy, exploring in forensic detail the possible motives of Downs, a diagnosed narcissistic sociopath. A chilling and fascinating book.
autarkia79 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was fascinating! This is the first book by Ann Rule that I've ever read. Diane Downs was such an interesting case study. If you like reading about female pathological liars and sociopaths, this is your book. I couldn't put it down. It's written in a style that makes you feel like you're right there as this case is unfolding. I like that the author tried to make you spend a little time in Downs' head and get a little of what her background was, and what led up to her shooting her children.
bribre01 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fascinating and creepy, but it got a bit tedious and repetitive.