Queenpin by Megan Abbott (2007)
Goodreads Summary: A young woman hired to keep the books at a down-at-the-heels nightclub is taken under the wing of the infamous Gloria Denton, a mob luminary who reigned during the Golden Era of Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano. Notoriously cunning and ruthless, Gloria shows her eager young protege the ropes, ushering her into a glittering demimonde of late-night casinos, racetracks, betting parlors, inside heists, and big, big money. Suddenly, the world is at her feet—as long as she doesn’t take any chances, like falling for the wrong guy. As the roulette wheel turns, both mentor and protege scramble to stay one step ahead of their bosses and each other.
I picked this book up because I’ve been wanting to read a noir style novel for some time now. I was also drawn to it because the main characters are female which seems to be rare in this genre.
Abbott’s writing is excellent and quickly pulls you into the story and the world. As you read the concise language and wording makes you feel of that era. I found myself hearing the characters in voices similar to 1940s black & white noir films. The way they spoke was perfect without being too exaggerated or phony.
The main character is a young woman who is drawn to this shadowy world and can’t resist its allure. She is taken under the wing of Gloria Denton and is a fast learner. But then she meets a man who even she knows is trouble but she’s helpless to resist him. Although she’s clever, she can’t seem to untangle herself and it’s like watching a car crash in slow motion because you know it won’t end well.
Still the reading experience was amazing and I really enjoyed having a glimpse into that world. Abbott does such a great job of creating the atmosphere and showing all the characters without revealing too much. I can’t wait to read more books like this and pretty much anything else Abbott has written.
What noir books have you read? Do you enjoy this genre? What do you like or dislike about it? Can you recommend some great authors other than Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler?
Find out more about author Megan Abbott on her website or follow her on Twitter.
Other noir books by Megan Abbott include Bury Me Deep, Die a Little, and The Song is You. Which one should I read next? I can’t decide!