Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I was sent recently Megan Abbott's first two novels, and although they were not my usual reading matter Karen of Euro Crime thought I might enjoy them. Possibly because the front covers have on them pictures of women, and the back cover blurb mentions "seamy, sexy corruption".
I read Die A Little as a bit of light relief while I was entangled with a blockbuster, and thought that it was a well written atmospheric thriller. The female first person point of view narrative was a little bit difficult to get used to, but Megan Abbott tells a good story taking the reader back to Chandler's 1950s Los Angeles.

Schoolteacher Lora King is worried when her brother Bill, a junior investigator with the District Attorney's office marries Alice Steele, a beautiful Hollywood wardrobe assistant with a mysterious past. Lora begins to investigate but complications ensue when she is introduced to handsome debonair Mike Standish, an old friend of Alice.

He knows the right restaurants to be at and the right times to beat them, he knows the drinks to order, the maitre d's to grease.........
And it always helps that he is from Connecticut and went to Columbia [and nearly graduated] and has the sheen of class and breeding everyone he works for lacks.

This novel made me think of the television series Mad Men in its meticulous recreation of a period in the quite recent past.
It is a book about obsession and corruption set in an interesting time as the child like city of Los Angeles grows into adulthood.


Blogger Maxine Clarke said...

I received this book in the gift bag at CrimeFest and nearly put it on the swap table but Karen (aka Euro Crime) persuaded me not to. Now I have read your review, I'm glad I kept it - now all I have to do is find the time to read it!

1:13 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Maxine, I hope you enjoy it. The cover and the blurbs on the cover of the next book The Song is for You look very promising, but I have about a hundred books to read before I get to that.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Megan Abbott does a wonderful job of recapturing the menace that the old hard-boiled stories must once have had. She does this while presenting a convincing picture of the story's time and without seeming voguish or revisionist in the least. She's also a scholar of noir and hard-boiled film and fiction and altogether one of the more impressive people I've come across since I started this crime-fiction thing.

And Patti Abbott, of Patti's Forgotten Books, is her proud mother.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

12:36 AM  

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