Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Where to begin, Queenpin is brilliant, crafty, slippery, sweet, splendid, soft, buttery, sharp, icy, fun, shivery, sordid, and fantastic! Bravo Ms. Abbott, this book rocks!
Queenpin follows the story of a young woman from a stint cooking the books at a small time bar to her “promotion” as the assistant of an infamous female mob boss, Gloria Denton. After becoming Ms. Denton’s “girl” our protagonist, whose name is never mentioned in the entire book, adapts nicely to her new lifestyle of cash pick-ups and nights at casinos followed by 3 AM steaks at Googie’s. That is until she meets Vic Riordan, a losing gambler with a winning smile. She falls hard for Vic but keeps her relationship a secret from her boss. When Vic inevitably asks her to help pull off a scam to get him out of debt she considers a Judas move that puts her job and life in jeopardy, unless she can con the one woman who taught her how to con the world.
Queenpin is classic noir in its best form, twisted and dark with a sense of humor and an even better sense of style. This book is worth reading just for the descriptions and dialogue. I mean, does it get better than this, “Play it nice and easy, I told myself. Bing Crosby on a hammock,” or “The things I did for you in there, when we were all alone, didn’t they show you I didn’t need to be played like a country girl in petticoats waiting for your traveling show?” or “ You look like you slept with your face mashed into a carpet.” Just perfect. Megan Abbott has an expert sense of timing and rhythm and creates vivid pictures of the people, places, and events she describes.
This book is a great weekend read, it’s short, hard to put down, and loaded with great plot twists. The three main characters are expertly drawn and complex; it’s impossible to know who is scamming who and to predict who will make the next move. And as mentioned before, stylistically this one you don’t want to miss, Ms. Abbott writes like smooth jazz on cocaine. Rich.
Posted by Ana Dziengel at 10:37 PM