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Queenpin - Review

QUEENPIN is the third book in an impressive run from Megan Abbott. All of her books wallow in the grime riddled noir of the late forties and early fifties. Categorizing the type of book QUEENPIN is is a worth debate, but I am not interested in the pulp vs. noir discussion in the context of this review. Nor I am really interested in the historical background of this period. Historians have been particularly interested in replacing the perverse wholesomeness of the fifties with an exploration of the soulless bankruptcy of that particular generation. I think these are all things that can be inferred consciously or unconsciously from Ms. Abbott's work, but I don't read crime fiction for the sociological exploration of American Society.

What I do read Crime Fiction for is the very thing that Ms. Abbott has accomplished here; another simply plotted but fantastically written piece of fiction. Small admission. What draws me to these books is not the cracking Noir speak, the authentic L.A. setting, or yes the spot-on sociological exploration of American Society. It's the women. Crime Fiction is a sausage-fest, and probably always will be. Ms. Abbott and the women she writes highlights the importance of the female character in Crime Fiction by showing us how unimportant gender is in fiction. The truths of a story, real or written, often have very little to do with being a man or woman, but being a fallible human being.

Ok? So great. Here is the one problem. Of three books so far QUEENPIN is third best. Let me put to rest your concerns right now. DIE A LITTLE and THE SONG IS YOU are great books. QUEENPIN is just 'merely' very good. Where QUEENPIN falls down is on the character motivation of our lead. She wants more. Says it several times. And I get it. I do. The desire to ascend above our current lot in life by any means necessary is one I can understand. But her saying it, and me believing it are to different things. In this case I wanted more. I need to believe her struggle. I needed to glimpse the characters motivation.

This aside, the Megan Abbott cannon is something amazing. Read her now, and you can say that you read her before she became a superstar.


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