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Red Room Lounge

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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  992 ratings  ·  144 reviews
Shadow-dodging through the glamorous world of 1950s Hollywood and its seedy flip side, this debut novel is a gem of the darkest hue. It tells the story of schoolteacher Lora King, who assumes the role of amateur detective when her brother, Bill, a junior investigator with the district attorney's office, marries a young Hollywood wardrobe assistant with a murky past.Availab ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published November 16th 2011 by Editions du Masque (first published February 8th 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,483)
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Delee
I am sad. I am sad that there are only four more Megan Abbott books that I haven't read, and by the end of this year (maybe even the end of this month)- I will probably have finished them all. I am trying to space them out- reading other books by other authors in between...but lately I have been failing miserably- and as soon as I finish one- I want another NOW! Yes- I am an addict. A Megan Abbott addict...

 photo 949f9dcc-429d-46d4-9800-c2e1c3ca1e3f_zps68c0f823.jpg

Lora King- a straight-laced school teacher, and her doting brother Bill- a junior investig
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Dan Schwent
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-for
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Eve
Aug 01, 2014 Eve rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eve by: Lisa
Shelves: read-2014
The 1950s seems to be an idealized era, full of change and promise; some would say it was a simpler time. Veterans were settling down to desk jobs, marrying, and raising families of their own. Women's fashion, technology, and the entertainment world were swerving in a new direction. Everyone seemed to be generally prospering and there was relative peace. That's the world that Lora, a twenty-something school teacher, and her brother Bill live in: a serene, quiet existence in West Pasadena.

The day
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Tfitoby
I picked this up on a whim, knowing nothing about it or Megan Abbott, it sat on my shelf for a while and then I started to notice a lot of love and enthusiasm for the author on GR, intrigued I figured the time was right, the planets had aligned, I would read this book.

I started to doubt the rave reviews after about 40 pages; a lot of time was spent on listing household items being bought by one of the characters which felt like an attempt to showoff all of the research that was done by the autho
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Michelle
Jun 10, 2007 Michelle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: noir fans
Shelves: noir
Fabulous. I devoured it in the last 2 days. Megan Abbott writes like a cross between Jim Thompson, James M. Cain and Doris Day. I think I'm going to log off now and drink a gin rickey and eat a cream puff.
Josh
‘...behind that knockout face of hers, she’s more like the women they see on the job, on patrol, on a case, in the precinct house. Women with stories as long as their rap sheets, as their dangerous legs...’

Megan Abbott channels the hallowed echoes of ghosts from the golden era of pulp in her depiction of a small town school teacher and her square world turned upside down by a double dose of femme fatale.

'Die A Little' provides protagonist Lora King, a cops sister, and deer-in-the-headlights sch
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Elizabeth
This is not my typical fare, and wow, I LOVED IT!!!!
Gobbled it up!
Delicious and delectable!
This book proved to me that I can and should venture out of my comfort zone.
I read this at every possible opportunity even if it meant that I could only read two pages at a time. It called to me when I was away from it.
Will write real review this coming week.
Jessica
I'm surprised I haven't run across this author before. Literary neo-noir, lady-fied?? That's right up my dark, steam-filled alley! Yet somehow it was a real-life human who recommended it, which almost makes me wonder why I've wasted seven years on this website...

This is a little like James Ellroy's books about the dirty cop who's in love with his sister, only with a woman's touch. It's also a little like well-informed fan fiction that plays with the tropes and cliches of classic noir films: this
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Gerard Cappa

This is a great book, and I don't know how I have missed Megan Abbott until now.
'Die a Little' was first published almost ten years ago but I stopped reading at one point to check that it wasn't actually a novel from the 1950's that had maybe been re-published at this later date.

Another reviewer here on Goodreads, Michelle, nails it with perhaps the best one-liner I have seen in a review: Megan Abbott's writing is a mixture of "Jim Thompson, James M Cain and Doris Day".

Lora King is a Doris Day,
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[Redacted]
This is book that leaves me conflicted. Abbot is undeniably a talented writer. She has a way with phrasing and a compelling voice. The first half of this book just left me cold.

Her POV character in this book, Lora King, is a young woman in her early 20's in 1950's Los Angeles. Lora's Brother is a tough DA investigator who has just become married to a woman with a dark past. Lora attempts to get to the bottom of some things and hilarity ensues.

I am caught between what I thought of as a dreary f
...more
Kit Fox
Good times. Had this nice domestic noir vibe to it and felt reminiscent of good ol' Mildred Pierce. The Song Is You was definitely a more polished novel, but this showed me that Megan Abbott knows how to have fun with the hardboiled genre. Word to your sultry 1950s mom and her voile nightgown, yo.
Lisa
This book was heavy on the mood. I loved the whole 1950's Hollywood noir thing. This is an undiscovered genre for me. I definitely want more.
Maddy
RATING: 3.25
First book

Lora King is a straitlaced schoolteacher who shares her home with her brother, Bill, who is a police investigator. Brother and sister are very close to one another until the time that Bill meets an erotic and beautiful wardrobe assistant named Alice Steele. He falls completely under her spell, even after they marry. In every way, she is the perfect woman--physically beautiful, magnetic personality, devoted to her husband—their life together seems almost like a fairy tale. A
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Karen
DIE A LITTLE is the first in a series of books frm 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 delive
...more
Bobbi
This is not the kind of book I like. Stuffed with details like garishly tinted photos of table spreads in turn of the century cookbooks, endless descriptions of social events and brand name objects; women's details. So believe me when I say this book is stunning, that this author could do anything and I would trail along behind her lapping up words like a hopeless puppy.

Halfway through I started to become worried that she wouldn't be able to pull it off; that the mystery or the answer or the en
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Paul Eckert
Megan Abbott's style of noir reminds me of James M. Cain and Jim Thompson. Maybe it's because good noir has a lot of similar qualities: damaged characters, double lives, intriguing suspense, treachery, betrayal, and no-bullshit prose that conveys all of these things in an artful minimalism. Abbott is all these things, but with a bit of a twist - the main character of this story goes from quiet schoolmarm to investigative sleuth in 1950's Los Angeles.

The story in a nutshell: Lora has always been
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Mike Swain
Incredibly disappointing. This book lacks any sense of time or location. It's supposed to be 1950's LA but it could easily be any other city at any other time. The characters are dull, the protagonist is pathetic. If I had a pound for every time she states she couldn't look someone in the eye then I could afford to buy a better book many times over.

The prose is very odd too. It feels stunted, almost like an early, incomplete draft at times. Sentences feel abridged. There is very little flow to t
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Constance
This book blew me away. The writing is so strong and evocative and sure of itself. The POV and the pacing are both fantastic and the women characters are multi-layered and interesting. I especially loved reading the both slow and sudden recognition of the dark messy true core of self ("The hardest thing in this world is finding out what you're capable of") and also the feeling of the intrusion of someone else appearing in your life whom you may not want in it.

Seriously, I loved this book.
Francis
Megan Abbott, she keeps writing this story. There is this girl and she is living in the shadow of another girl. The other girl, gets all the attention, sucks up the light, she is flashy, mysterious, sultry, dangerous and enticing. This girl is unsure if she wants to be like the other girl, or be with the other girl or both. I don't know, because she never tells you anything plainly, she just hints, and each hint is accompanied by a tease. The men? They flit in and out of shadows, mostly burley t ...more
Lotte
This, my darling, is the end of everything.

"Die a Little" was my second Megan Abbott book - the first one being "Dare Me" - and although this one has a very different setting (1950's LA), the key elements seem to be the same: complicated relationships between women, a heady atmosphere, prose that feels intoxicating and pleasantly disorientating. I got sucked into it from the very first page.

The main character is Lora King, a suburban high school teacher in her twenties who has always been very
...more
Tiffani
It's 1950s Los Angeles with housewives who make jello with fruit in copper molds and housewives who pop pills. There are Hollywood starlets and Hollywood fixers. There's a schoolteacher, a cop, and women with secrets.

The women with secrets in Die a Little are Lora and Alice. Alice comes into Lora's life when she literally crashes into Bill, Lora's brother. In short order Bill and Alice are married. Lora is a schoolteacher and Bill is a junior investigator for the district attorney's office. Ali
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Lynn
I love femme fatale fiction and Megan Abbott is my new favorite author. She's got such a perfect handle on the dialog and style I enjoy. I'm excited that I've only just discovered her.....she really looks too prim to write noir (well I look too timid to read it, so we're even). This story's full of cops, gangsters, Hollywood types and B-girls. I love a story where it's tough to figure characters' motives. I enjoyed this one even more than Queenpin....and this was her debut.
Joanna
Megan Abbott is on the fast track of becoming my favorite author. She really knows how to create the atmosphere of Hollywood in the 50s. I liked this book even more than The Song is You - maybe because the main character was a woman maybe because she was new to the darker side of Los Angeles and I felt as I was discovering it with her.
I am already regretting that there are only two more noir books of Abbott I haven't read.
Roy
Another neo-noir from Megan Abbott. This is her first novel, and I think it shows a little. Lora King--schoolteacher, spinster, faithful sister to on-the-rise DA Assistant, Bill--doesn't quite trust Bill's new wife, Alice. Lora thinks that Alice seems just a little too hard, too mysterious, and knows people who are just a little too far from the right side of the tracks. And yet... there's intrigue there, too. Alice knows people who Lora couldn't dream of. People who live fast, dangerous lives. ...more
Chris
This little gem was published in 2005, but was written as if published in something like 1945. Die a Little, by Megan Abbott, is a retro-hardboiled mystery told from the perspective of a schoolteacher who finds herself unintentionally developing into an amateur private detective--partly to help save her brother, but mainly because she discovers how much she loves piecing together a puzzle. The puzzle, in this case, is her brother's wife. And, in typical noir fashion, the protagonist has no clue ...more
N W James
The sister of an LA cop gets involved in a murder case. Think traditional noir from the point of view of the dame.

_________________SPOILERS AHOY!___________________________

I really liked how Alice's backstory unfolded throughout the course of the novel. Seeing how her backstory sets her up for us to suspect her as the killer added a lot of tension to the story. I also really like how as I was reading about Lora's story, the traditional noir tale was taking place behind the scenes with most of th
...more
Karen Vorbeck Williams
"Die a Little" is Megan Abbott's first novel. Now I want to read more of her work. She "borrowed" the voices/ambiance of film noir and did it to perfection. Set in the underbelly of 1950s Hollywood, Abbott's characters are real--almost too real--and flawed. Lora, who tells the story, is all too human as she comes face to face with the "devil," her sister-in-law, Alice. Not since "East of Eden" have I come across a more fascinatingly evil female character. The book starts out slowly--too slowly, ...more
JanB
A terrific debut noir novel (2005)! Set in the 1950's, Lora, a schoolteacher, lives with her brother Bill, a rising star in the DA's office. Orphaned years earlier, their relationship is especially close, and each would go to great lengths to protect one another.

Their orderly life is disrupted when Bill meets glamorous Alice and after a whirlwind romance, they marry. Alice busies herself becoming the perfect 1950s housewife with a flurry of cooking, decorating, and neighborhood parties, even goi
...more
F.R.
A noir tale with an unusual perspective, the detective is the sister-in-law of the femme fatale. It’s well written and has a number of good lines, but as much as I liked it this is one of those stories which relies on the major characters not sharing things you think they’d share – or asking questions you’d think they’d really ask.
Yves Fey
Darkness twisting under the Souther Californian brightness. Deception, betrayal, illusion and disillusion. The style is poetic with a touch of the surreal. I love that the two main characters are both women, both brilliantly drawn. Megan Abbott made me an instant fan with this book, which is now one of my all time favorite noirs.
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Megan Abbott is the Edgar® award-winning author of the novels The End of Everything Queenpin, The Song Is You, Die a Little, Bury Me Deep and her latest, Dare Me (July 2012).

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Believer, Los Angeles Review of Books, Detroit Noir, Best Crime and Mystery Stories of the Year, Storyglossia, Queens Noir and The Spee
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More about Megan Abbott...
Dare Me The Fever The End of Everything Queenpin Bury Me Deep

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“Here he is, the man who knows things and who should want to help me. But it is so hard to bring up things with any weight at all to a man like this. A man like this doesn’t have real conversations.” 3 likes
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