Die a Little by Megan Abbott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When her brother's new wife seems too good to be true, Lora King starts poking around in her sister-in-law, Alice Steele's past, uncovering ugly things lurking beneath Hollywood's glitzy surface. Can she protect her brother before getting ensnared in the same web as Alice?
I've arrived at Die a Little, Megan Abbott's debut novel, after weaving a serpentine course through her other noir books. It sure doesn't read like a first novel. All the things I love about her later novel are there, fully-formed or very nearly so.
Die a Little is the tale of a sister trying to protect the only family she has. Her sister-in-law seemed a little dark around the edges from the start but things started sliding downhill once her friend Lois showed up. Once Lora hooked up with Standish and found the address book, things really started getting grim.
Lora's journeying through the Hollywood underbelly of disposable party girls, pimps, and drugs, was a little stomach-turning. The ending surprised me but I guess it shouldn't have, given that this is a noir book. It almost felt like a Jim Thompson book at times.
If I had to complain about something, it would be that Lora's brother Bill wasn't very developed as a character, but since Lora's investigation of Alice was the focus of the story, it didn't matter all that much.
Megan Abbott was in fine form in her debut novel, which is at least as good as her later ones like The Song is You. Four easy stars.
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