2010 Edgar® Nominee!
2008 Barry Winner
"Writers such as James
Ellroy, Richard Price, Dennis Lehane, Donald Westlake, Walter
Mosley, Laura Lippman, James Sallis, Megan Abbott, and
George Pelecanos have managed to infuse crime novels with a
quality of writing not seen since the days of Dashiell Hammett,
Raymond Chandler, and James M. Cain. "
Read about the movie version of Die a Little in the
Los Angeles Times.
Read about the new Detroit Noir anthology in the
Bury Me Deep
Bury Me Deep
chosen as one of 2009's Top Crime Novels by
Los Angeles Times, Detroit Free Press,
Detroit News and
Barnes & Noble Review.
exquisite book, told in delicate, shimmering prose that heightens
the nightmarish quality of the story. Megan Abbott is often compared
with James Ellroy, whom she admires greatly, but her writing is far
more economical and focused, and her sensibilities are feminine to
the core. This is noir mystery writing at its very best."
—Tom and Enid Schantz, The
"Abbott's giddy prose and
dialogue zigzag from flowery to slangy, but she's always in control.
While there's no real comparison to Fitzgerald, Bury Me Deep
is reminiscent of The Great Gatsby in its uncanny scenes of
drink and drugs. They were so powerful that I had the impression I
was myself intoxicated."
—Adam Woog, The
is top-notch retro- noir. ... The
narrative of Bury Me Deep has a dreamlike quality that
mirrors the hazy existence of its protagonist. Marion often seems to
be floating through life, and Abbott captures that feeling with the
ethereal nature of her prose. . . . "
—David Montgomery, The
"Nobody combines historical
fact with bravura fiction the way Megan Abbott does. . . . All three
of Abbott's books have been nominated for an Edgar Award; she won
one for the much-praised Queenpin. She deserves another for
Bury Me Deep. And it's definitely a must-read for anyone
who wants to see one of the best crime writers around perform her
—Dick Adler, The Barnes and
"If you have never read the
work of Megan Abbott, do yourself a favor and get a copy of
Bury Me Deep right now. In this, just her fourth novel, she
has already established herself as one of the great mystery
writers working in America today and is on her way to becoming a
bestselling author. Bury Me Deep is not just a fine
mystery. It is an American novel, filled with humanity and a
thirst for justice. We are going to be enjoying the work of
Megan Abbott for decades to come."
"Bury Me Deep is a
compelling, almost hypnotic piece of work, one sure to garner Abbott
even more attention. Reminiscent of the works of Raymond Chandler
and James Ellroy, Bury Me Deep is another jewel in the crown
of one of the reigning monarchs of modern noir."
—Hank Wagner, Mystery Scene
readers already compare Megan Abbott's virtuoso fiction to the
great James M. Cain. That comparison is sure to become more
common thanks to her brilliant new novel, Bury Me Deep.
Bury Me Deep is literary fiction that happens to include
a crime. . . . [Abbott is] an author destined to be a leading
writer of her generation."
Reinka, Mystery News (five stars)
"In this novel based on the
true-life case of the 'Trunk Murderess,' Abbott turns the stuff
of sensational confession magazines into a rich meditation on
the unclouded depths of the soul."
—Carl Rosen, New York
Magazine (included in the list of "What to Read This
"Working once more (as in The Song is You,
2007) from a true crime, the infamous Brighton Trunk Murders of
1934, Edgar-winner Abbott brings the era to life, inhabiting the
'bright-eyed and twitchy-tailed' party girls in all their
enthusiasm and desperation. Her nearly stream-of-consciousness
narration is direct and powerful, straight from Marion’s addled
and passionate brain. As such, it is full of repeated phrases:
'It was like a saber lain before. It was a saber, a gauntlet,
somehow.' But for all the classic-noir simplicity, such as the
use of repetition rather than elaboration for emphasis, her
prose carries an urgency that brings hard-boiled crime fiction
kicking and screaming into the modern age. Abbott takes readers
on a wild thrill ride with an utterly believable and strangely
—Starred Kirkus Review
Bette Davis on the blower, and make it snappy," says the old
producer. "This property by Abbott is made-to-order for her. . .
. VERDICT It has to end with Kleenexes all 'round and
something for everyone: true crime, plus it's a women's story
with noir embellishments. It has tough times, drugs, and
pandemics. It screams 'today!'-only retro. Done in that
rat-a-tat delivery that Bette has a lock on, it can't miss."
Lunn, Library Journal
"Abbott is a retro
original, and her reimagining of the true story of Winnie Ruth
Judd, the Trunk Murderess, is a frothy mix of character, plot,
and period detail. As good-girl Marion finds what she is really
capable of, her psychological portrait is as carefully imagined
as the nightmarish world that lurks beneath the community’s
caring façade. . . . [Y]ou’ll want to bury yourself in Bury Me Deep."
"Edgar-winner Abbott explores gender inequality and its
sometimes tragic results in her well-crafted fourth crime novel,
inspired by the true story of Winnie Ruth Judd (aka the Trunk
"Megan Abbott has written
three novels. All were nominated for Edgar Awards and the third,
Queenpin, won. Haven't heard of her? Read this terrific
novel and find out why you should have."
Cannon, The Toronto Globe and Mail
characters, delectable plotting, a unique story and a steamy yet
gossamer setting. . . . A stunning work of fiction, it is
Abbott's love for her central character that makes Bury Me
Deep so accessible and so far away at the same time. Imagine
Hammett wrote Daisy Buchanan and not Fitzgerald. And you are
Gatsby . . . so close and yet so far away. This is Bury Me
—Ruth Jordan, Crimespree
"Bury Me Deep is an
incredible period piece and a stunning noir novel that examines
a moment of history we all thought we knew from a different and
fascinating perspective. Abbott's pitch perfect storytelling
pulls the reader into a dark and unsettling world, and her clear
love of her source material combined with deep research shines
through, resulting in a novel that is immersive, addictive and
—Russel D. McLean, Crime
"The twists and turns of
the plot are as clever and unexpected as anything Raymond
Chandler dreamed up. And when I came to the end, closed the last
page and glanced at the alarm clock which read 4:00 a.m.,
Marion’s story seemed completely inevitable and true. The works
of Paul Bowles came to mind. I can offer no greater praise than
—Jonathan Woods, 3:AM
"Once again, Abbott has
crafted an unforgettable story of characters who must suddenly
deal with the darkness that overcomes their lives. And Bury
Me Deep joins her other books as instant classics of
contemporary noir fiction."
August BookSense Notable Pick
"Noir’s reigning crown princess delivers a royally entertaining
rumination on toxic female friendships set in the harsh neon
underbelly of early-1960s Las Vegas. The tale of an avaricious
assistant to a Virginia Hill–style Mob courier unfolds so
cinematically it’s difficult not to picture it onscreen—perhaps
pitched as The Grifters meets Casino, with Sharon
Stone and Scarlett Johansson under the leering direction of
—Frank Sennett, Booklist
"Faster than a blue-haired octogenarian losing her retirement
money on the Vegas slots and as calloused as a gravedigger's
hands, Queenpin is pure pulp noir; a gloriously brutal
and seductive story that—like the dysfunctional relationship
between the novel's young female protagonist and her grifter
lover— roughs you up a little and not only makes you like it but
leaves you wanting more."
—Paul Goat Allen,
"Edgar-finalist Abbott delivers a sharp, slender, hardboiled
tale of a protégé’s schooling by a notorious,
been-there-done-that moll. . . . Abbott is pitch-perfect
throughout: Gloria Denton, still turning heads in her 40s, is as
hard a moll as any, and the kid is a beautiful combination of
foil and tool as she strives to emulate her role model. The
collision, violent and inevitable, rips away the facade of glitz
and glamour, and leaves their low-end edifice starkly exposed."
"If Megan Abbott writes half a dozen more books as good as her
first three (Die a Little and The Song Is You are
period-piece perfection), she will claim the throne as the
finest prose stylist in crime fiction since Raymond Chandler.
This novella, a distinctly distaff homage to the lurid glories
of 1950s paperbacks, is a splendidly simple but extravagantly
sensual noir coming-of-age story about a young woman's dangerous
apprenticeship to a female gangster. Imagine Hayley Mills
possessed by Jim Thompson."
—Eddie Muller, San
"Acts of stunning brutality, all retold in the narrator's
hipster voice, reveal the ugliness behind the glitz as a little
girl grows up. Abbott produces another stunning, hardboiled
"A new star is rising in the midnight sky of noir fiction, and
her name is Megan Abbott. With Queenpin Abbott has
established herself solidly in the tradition of her influences:
James Ellroy, James M. Cain and Raymond Chandler. If Cain boiled
down Ellroy’s complicated mixture of people, places and themes,
dashed in his trademark cynicism and moral ambiguity, and
filtered the brew with Chandler’s masterful use of slang and
dialogue, the result might have the flavor of Abbott’s fiction."
—Timothy J. Lockhart,
Dig Megan Abbott's Queenpin, so chock-full of tough talk
and high-stakes thrills that it hums. In an unnamed city and
uncertain period, an ambitious young dame (I use the word
advisedly) falls in with an aging but formidable underworld
figure, with satisfyingly twisted results.
—Adam Woog, The Seattle
"In the sly and stylish Queenpin, Megan Abbott gives a
feminine spin to hard- boiled crime, crafting a tale of grifters
and their marks."
—Sandra Kent, Boston
"This book screams summer sizzle. Abbott is a good writer with a
gift for careening into character development even as revs up
—John Mark Eberhart,
Kansas City Star
"[I]t’s the gorgeous descriptive qualities of the narrator’s
world view that pull the reader firmly into her lair. Abbott is
perhaps the eminent hardboiled writer today, and she might be
the logical heir apparent to Hammett and Chandler."
Lincoln Journal Star
"Abbott’s fascinating exploration of the narrator’s psyche keeps
the pages turning, and there’s a savage inevitability here, a
magnet pull towards destruction. . . . Abbott’s wonderfully
amoral ending does not disappoint, and those of us who love noir
fiction recognize that Abbott is an exciting new voice for this
—Guy Savage, Mostly
"Megan Abbott was born in the wrong time, since she writes like
she was a compatriot of the Chandlers and Hammetts of the world.
With Queenpin, her third novel, she shows no sign of
slowing down in style or substance."
"Abbott dishes up in her third novel stiletto heels, pointed,
deadly, and good over small distances, leaving readers looking
for more. This is All About Eve pulped to a
fare-thee-well à la Jim Thomson."
—Bob Lunn, Library
Journal, starred review
"A stunning achievement. With Queenpin, her third superb
book, Megan Abbott proves beyond all doubt she is the new Queen
Bruen, author of Priest and American Skin
"Subtle, seductive, stunningly violent, this perfectly executed
hardboiled tale of complex relationships between grifters is a
Guthrie, author of Hard Man (2007) and Kiss Her
"Classy, daring, and alluringly amoral, Abbott's portrayal of
a woman desperate for the 'good life' illuminates the deep
motives of a femme fatale, as she chooses tough over soft
and pleasure within pain in order to satisfy her thrill-seeking
personality in an era when opportunities are scarce. A slick,
murderous adventure with passion enough to draw any reader
Hendricks, author of Cruel Poetry and Miami Purity
"Megan Abbott's Queenpin is one of the best noir
novels I've read in years. I felt like I was reading a great
Gold Medal novel, from the heyday of crime fiction, yet with an
entirely fresh spin. It reminded me of the best work of Cain and
Chandler. I didn't read Queenpin, I devoured it."
Starr, author of The Follower
Included as one of four summer page-turners by Melony Vance of
Latitude 33 bookstore in Laguna Beach, CA.
Orange County Register
Included as one of three summer picks by Bonnie Hearn Hill,
author of Off the Record.
—Don Mayhew, The Fresno
The Song Is
Telegraph: Song Is You chosen a 2009 Crime Book of the
"One can only assume that Megan
Abbott’s house is haunted by the ghost of Raymond Chandler, who is
whispering the secrets of his prose style to her. The Song
Is You (Pocket Books, £6.99), which has fictional
characters caught up in the real-life disappearance of the Hollywood
starlet Jean Spangler in 1949, goes beyond homage and pastiche to
become an original work of art."
"This sensationally good novel proposes a solution to a
real-life mystery: the disappearance in 1949 of a bit-part
actress called Jean Spangler. . . . The prose is ersatz Chandler
but Megan Abbott handles it brilliantly, leaving us in no doubt
that Hollywood was more hell-on-earth than dream factory."
—Jake Kerridge, The
". . . even better [than Die a Little] . . . with a
spellbinding retro-milieu. Abbott has a real flair for the era's
lingo and style, which she renders with a breathless sensual
—Eddie Muller, San
Read Eddie Muller, noir titan, on The Song Is You in the
San Francisco Chronicle.
"Megan Abbott continues to be my absolute favorite new author,
and her second novel, The Song Is You, is even better
than her first—super-sexy, superbly written, richly atmospheric,
and with an ending you'll never see coming!"
Scottoline, author of Dirty Blonde and Devil's
"A chilling second novel from Edgar-nominated Abbott spins the
conventions of noir fiction into something fast, fierce and
fresh . . . a whiz-bang adventure through Tinseltown's
underbelly. With abundant style and a tight convincing story,
Abbott provides a retro thrill ride. . . . Cain and Chandler are
evoked in the rough-and-tumble period language . . . but Abbott
has her own voice, avoiding the genre's macho conventions, to
evoke the young women who live 'in a gasp of tension.'"
"Sex, drugs and glamour, it's like a 242-page US Weekly
from the '40s."
"The book leaves no doubt
that Abbott is an artful practitioner of fem noir. This one will
heat up a winter night at International Falls."
—Jay Waggoner, Deadly
"I thought I was an ace student when it came to Hollywood
Babylon-type stories, but [with The Song Is You] Megan
leaves me in the dust. Leaves me in the dust, throws her Lucky
in my face and grinds it out with a dainty twist of her
Lippman, author of To the Power of Three and Every
"From its absolutely gorgeous, period-perfect cover to its
evocative portrait of the 1940s Hollywood studio system in
action, Megan Abbott's new novel is a sensual feast."
—Dick Adler, Chicago
"Few novels break your heart, and even fewer mystery ones. This
one broke me heart ... in smithereens. Such a wrenching poetic
noir vision of loss and regret I've rarely encountered. Written
in a style of such conversational élan, you nearly miss the
absolute artistry. Superb evocation of the era and the legendary
characters live and breathe in glorious dark reality. Megan
Abbott is the song and a song of such yearning, such granite
tenderness. . . . This is the most poignant novel you'll ever
Bruen, author of The Dramatist and The Guards
Die a Little
Read about the movie version of Die a Little in the
Los Angeles Times.
"[Abbott's Die a Little] gives us the true dark heart of
the city in sharply contrasted blacks and whites, dense with
heartache. . . . In these tasty noir stylings, you can almost
smell the smoke and hear the clinking of ice cubes."
"Astonishingly, Die A
Little was Megan Abbott's first novel. The shock is that a
debutante should have managed such a difficult genre so
perfectly. She writes pure American noir, circa 1950. Many
authors have imitated the style, with some success, but you
always knew that it was a copy. Abbott feels original. . . .
Controlled writing, beautifully paced, wonderful LA atmosphere."
—Marcel Berlins, The
Times of London (UK)
"James Ellroy meets Nancy Drew in a wonderfully atmospheric tale
of ugly secrets in 1950s LA. . . . The period detail is
authentic and the dialogue spot on. Best of all, classic
American noir recast from a woman's viewpoint means that the
female characters really come alive—about time, too."
—Laura Wilson, The
"Finally, here is a modern
noir that perfectly depicts Raymond Chandler’s 1950s L.A. in all
its seamy, sexy corruption…. Megan Abbott's Die a Little
mixes a potent cocktail of jealousy, obsession and danger."
—Lisa Scottoline, author of
"Inhabiting the same geographical space as James Ellroy, but
considerably leaner in scope and style, Abbott’s novels, rather
than exercises in nostalgia or pastiche, are modernist in their
exploration of the genre and the era, particularly when it comes
to its sexual politics. These days noir fiction doesn't get any
more interesting than this."
—Woody Haut, SHOTS
"Megan Abbott's Die a Little is an original paperback,
and after the fashion of hard-boiled, punchy, 1950s crime
fiction, it is the real deal. It's deliciously retro but,
crucially (and originally) by a female author and with a female
lead, celebrating and subverting the pulp genre at the same
time. If you're an admirer of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett
or James Ellroy, this is for you. . . . It's been a while since
I've come across something written with such panache and style,
that is so evocative of the time and place it's set; full of
shadows, dark alleys, seamy LA streets, guns and murder, Die
a Little is terrifically cool, dark and dynamic, and is
crime literature at its best."
—Vic Buckner, Crime Time
"A hugely impressive debut novel that borrows from the cool of
Raymond Chandler, the Hollywood noir of Ellroy's Black Dahlia
and the excitement of a rollercoaster."
—Iain Wear, The Book Bag
"Megan Abbott's debut has the hardness, the sharpness and the
lustre of a well-cut diamond. . . . The moral—about the heart of
darkness within all of us—may be bleak, but Abbott conveys it in
an elegant and effortless style all the more exceptional in a
—Damien Seaman, SHOTS
"Die a Little sets the bar high for everything that
follows this year. This one is already at the top of my list for
best of the year."
—Thomas McNulty, Mystery
"Megan Abbott's spectacular first novel Die a Little is
the kind of book that should make devotees of Cain and Chandler
fall down and beg for mercy."
"Abbott, author of a nonfiction study of hard-boiled literature
and film, crafts a stylish, sensuous tale with picture-perfect
"If you like your thrillers
– and your femmes fatale – dark, you'll love this noir
recreation of '50s LA with its sharp suits and sharper dialogue,
which was deservedly shortlisted for an Edgar in the States."
"This cracking novel is as enjoyable as a racy ramble through
the mean streets of LA with Philip Marlowe."
". . . a tale that smolders like the night's last, forgotten
"Few psychological thrillers, by writers of either sex, offer
such material, sensual, delicious catalogs of food, clothing,
hairstyles, and especially kitchenware. In Abbott's hands,
casserole dishes, folding chairs, and a 'Cornwall Thermo Tray
with gold finish and wooden handles for serving hot artichoke
hors d'oeuvres and tuna squares' have never seemed so sexy."
Soloski, The Village Voice
"Here's a real treat for fans of the likes of Raymond Chandler,
a new writer exploring the darker side of 1950s L.A. . . .
Abbott's writing perfectly evokes the era, Hollywood and the
contrast between clean-cut all-American citizens and the
post-war underworld. She maintains the Chandleresque mood, while
the truth about her characters remains elusive to the end. A
very stylish debut indeed."
—The Bolton Evening News
"Abbott has fashioned a noir thriller that may remind readers of
James M. Cain's brooding melodramas. She need not fear the
comparison. Her story, rendered in a captivatingly off-beat
style, crackles with suspense, and her portrait of L.A. in the
1950s, a seductive mixture of sleaze and sophistication, rings
Wade, San Diego Union-Tribune
"Die a Little is a first novel, but you'll assume Megan
Abbott is a seasoned vet. Her book is that good—reminiscent of
the hard-edged naturalism of James M. Cain. . . . The year 2005
is still new, but Abbott is already Rookie of the Year."
—Les Roberts, Cleveland
"[O]ld-school noir at its finest, but with a nifty gender switch
that gives the story extra oomph. . . . Die a Little
packs a mean little punch. And, like the best work in this
genre, it lingers long after the last page."
Lazarus, San Francisco Chronicle
"Sexy, suspenseful, and effortlessly evocative of Hollywood's
sleazy underbelly, [Die a Little] delivers all the smoky
atmospherics a good noir should."
"Die a Little takes us back to more innocent days, in
which a smear of lipstick on a bed sheet still has the power to
shock, men in sharkskin warn you that, honest, you don't know
what you're getting yourself into, and a femme fatale with a
mouth 'like one gorgeous scar across her face' dabbles in the
darkest treachery without spilling her drink or smudging her
"A chilling tale of how quickly the line between good and bad
blurs. . . . Die A Little is too smart to tell simple
stories. Instead, Abbott layers in subtext and menace, murder
and blackmail to demonstrate [her main character's] descent into
blackness, and her secret welcoming of this shady world that
engulfs her. . . . Abbott's debut is a welcome treat."
Weinman, Baltimore Sun
"Written in the style of the hard-boiled detective genre, Abbott
gives her noir a big shot of estrogen. . . . like an L.A.
Confidential told from a distinctly feminine point-of-view.
But in Abbott’s noir not all sexually active women are femme
fatales, and the innocent aren’t always all that innocent after
—Sarah Vance, Bookslut
January Magazine--Pierce's Pick of the Week
Good Housekeeping "Good Reads" pick November 2005
Pen, First Novel Pick. "Oh boy, a stylish and sensuous trawl
through 1954 Hollywood where the studio glamour . . . overlay
its seedy flip-side. Spin was the name of the game. Abbott has a
great voice for the story of two orphans: a devoted
schoolteacher sister of a stalwart junior investigator with the
DA. Lora is suspicious of Bill's new bride. Is pretty, fluffy
seamstress Alice a good girl and good for Bill? Or is she a
femme fatale from the studio costume department masquerading as
a perfect housewife?"
Bookstore (NYC). "If James M. Cain were writing episodes of
Desperate Housewives, he would have written this noir
tale of a brother and sister who become involved with shady
characters in 1950s Los Angeles."