Monday, November 10, 2008

Read: "Queenpin" by Megan Abbott

Read: Queenpin by Megan Abbott, 2007, 9781416534280.

Good but not enough action for me. Not the guts, gore, and guns I usually gravitate to. Abbott expanded a story she had in Damn Near Dead. Knowing that the book was based off a short story I kept thinking it was going on too long.

Main character - whose know I cannot remember or find when looking - works as a bookkeeper in a small casino. She is noticed by Gloria Denton who works for the big-time gangsters behind most everything in the region. Gloria is an ice queen with perfect legs and a poker face made of concrete. Gloria offers [no name] a job as a courier and bagman for the horse tracks, casinos, and other illicit activities.

Over time [no name] gains the confidence and respect of Gloria. Gloria's practiced detachment and coolness just barely betrays her fondness and concern for [no name] and only [no name], who spends so much time with Gloria, can see it.

[no name] falls for a degenerate gambler and allows him to take [no name]'s pick-up from the horse track. [no name] knows better but is itchy for degenerate gambler and eager to break free of Gloria. [no name] both admires and hates Gloria's abilities and her betrayal of Gloria is a chance to mentally break free even though she knows the fake robbery is a bad, bad idea.

Gloria finds out about degenerate gambler and his heavy handed sex with [no name] that leaves bruises. Gloria connects the dots and when she takes [no name] with her to confront Degenerate Gambler Gloria kills him. Degenerate Gmabler is buried by local hood Mackey's hoods. Later Gloria and [no name] rebury Degenerate to break the hold Mackey may have over them.

[no name] breaks down from the stress of the murder, burying her bloody boyfriend, fear of mobsters, fear of cops, fear of Gloria using her as a patsy, etc. [no name] spills to the cops and when cops confront Gloria, Gloria stabs herself right in the carotid artery and dies.

[no name] splits town in fear of someone finding out she was a snitch. [no name] takes bookkeeping job in other town. Months later Mackey shows up and offers [no name] a job to be a new Gloria in that town.

EDIT: This was a older style pulp novel in several ways. The one thing that sticks out is the pacing and style. This moves slower than most of the stuff I have read and seems to match the writing from 50 years ago more than modern pulp-stylists. The female lead is a switch from what I usually read and Abbott has her following the cultural mores of the time which was neat.

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