An awesome modern-day pulp novel! The action is non-stop since this book clocks in under 200 pages. I loved the point of view coming from women and the classy dames being the ones who REALLY knew how to run things. Abbott stuffs each page with sexy-but-smart women, greasy bookies and the classic underground types and prose that makes you shiver and pull the collar up on your trenchcoat. If you love your movies and books pulpy and as dark as noir (a cup of joe that black also goes great with this book), this is for you.
With all of the awards and award nominations this book received, I had high expectations for this book. Many of them were met, but one was not. Let me explain.
The writing style is tight, spare, and brilliant. The characters are well drawn. The story is, as other reviewers have said, dark. Black. Noir. Therein lies the problem for me. I read lots of noir mysteries. Chandler, Hammett, and the modern practitioners. Some I like, some I don't.
The ones I enjoy are like Chandler, where the protagonist has values and morals. A code of honor, if you will. None of the people in this book are like that. That leaves me feeling as if I've just been for a swim in the sewer. I have the same problem with Ken Bruen's books. With Chandler--to stretch this analogy to its breaking point and beyond--I feel as if I'm watching a man who is trying to help people who are swimming in the sewer. He gets some filth on him, but he's not trying to swim along with the rest.
Also, there's a scene of violent murder in this book that is too much for me. I almost quit reading at that point. (Hmmm. Was this where I had to hold my breath and swim underwater in the sewer? Something like that.)
So...in spite of brilliant stylistic writing and some fine insights into the human character, it's too, too black for me.
Forget the pink cover. This is one tough hard-boiled novel. The story is about a young woman who's taken under the wing of a female mob boss. Abbott uses tough-guy language taken from old Chandler novels and gives it to these crime dames. A quick and exciting read. The book may be pink but the heart of it is black.
I read Megan Abbott's "The Song is You" first, and it was a revelation. I immediately requested several more of her books. "Queenpin" is not as good as "The Song is You." I did not get lost in the language or the plot. Both are bleak and unique and interesting, but "The Song is You" is better written and - perhaps because it involves more characters - more nuanced. Highly recommend Abbott, and this book is not BAD - just not her best.
A young and naive bookkeeper/accounting student is taken under the wing of Gloria Denton, a long-time mafia player who is looking for a protege. The narrator becomes Gloria's girl and trusted apprentice. Unfortunately, she falls for Vic, a losing gambler who owes money to the wrong people - people who are associated with her employer. Ultimately she must choose between Vic and Gloria.
Queenpin takes a stereotypical hard-boiled plot and turns it upside down - the women in Megan Abbott's world are ruthless, but one is ultimately brought down by a sexy loser. Abbott's writing is concise, and the story she tells is dark and violent enough to stand with her male noir counterparts.