DIE A LITTLE - Megan Abbott

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

DIE A LITTLE is the first in a series of books from Megan Abbott flagged somewhat unhelpfully as "modern noir".  I'm not at all sure what that should imply in terms of expectation, but whatever caused it, something didn't really work about this book for me.

Leaving aside the fact that the cover is absolutely wonderful and the title is glorious, the style very atmospheric and the build up interesting (woman with a "past" who marries a cop, cop's sister smells a rat, digs), something about the delivery of this story simply flat out didn't hold my interest.  I suspect part of this is because the "sister" whose viewpoint is paramount, didn't seem to fit with the noir stylings.  For a while I wondered if the "bad girl" telling the story, might have helped, but ultimately I think the problem was partially the complete lack of suspense.  Noir can be predictable to my mind, but it shouldn't be flat.  It shouldn't drone on leaving a feeling of impatience for the damn thing to get to the point.

I suspect part of the problem really was that the focus on the sister's viewpoint isn't supported by her being a character that you can get involved with.  It wasn't too long before I was forced into thinking I'd be on side of the bad girl wife, regardless of the question.


School teacher Lora King finds her quiet surburban life disrupted when her brother Bill, a junior investigator with the District Attorney's office, meets a woman by chance and quickly marries her.  His new wife is Alice Steele, a beautiful and charming Hollywood wardrobe assistant, and although everyone else is entranced by her, Lora becomes suspicious of the inconsistencies in the stories from Alice's past.

Review DIE A LITTLE - Megan Abbott
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