Dear reader, life is too short for crap books.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Stocking Seams and Lipstick Traces

The Song Is You by Megan Abbott

I don't usually recommend books I haven't read yet, but based on the subject matter and the strength of Abbott's previous book, Die A Little, this seems as surefire as Clive Owen playing Philip Marlowe.

The book was inspired by the real-life disappearance of Jean Spangler, an aspiring Hollywood starlet. Her purse was discovered in Griffith Park, and in it, a note reading, "Kirk – Can’t wait any longer. Going to see Dr. Scott. It will work out best this way while mother is away…" Spangler was rumored to be linked with Kirk Douglas, and there was some suspicion that she was pregnant at the time of her disappearance. The case also included an ex-husband, a jilted lover, and gangsters, and was never solved. You can read all about it here.

If you need more convincing, check out Die A Little, a Los Angeles noir worth its weight in shell casings. Lora King is a chaste Pasadena schoolteacher who lives with her brother, Bill, a rising star in the district attorney's office. Bill falls in love with Alice Steele, a costumer at a film studio, and for a time, Lora falls a little bit in love with her, too. The women become the best of friends, hosting parties, sneaking out for drinks, and exchanging confidences. But gradually, Lora begins to catch glimpses of Alice's shady past. At first, she fears for her brother, but as Lora becomes more and more obsessed with tracking down Alice's secrets, her own life is put in jeopardy.

A dark, seamy, lurid little piece of heaven. I can't wait to read Abbott's new book, and am kicking myself for missing her reading last Saturday at The Mystery Bookstore with Charlie freakin' Huston, of all people. Grrr...

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