Book Review of Queenpin

Author: Megan Abbott
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 410 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2

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.) spite of brilliant stylistic writing and some fine insights into the human character, it's too, too black for me.