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Die a Little

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3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,352 Ratings  ·  180 Reviews
FEMME FATALES

OBSESSIVE LOVE

DOUBLE CROSSES

How does a respectable young woman fall into Los Angeles' hard-boiled underworld?

Shadow-dodging through the glamorous world of 1950s Hollywood and its seedy flip side, Megan Abbott's debut, Die a Little, is a gem of the darkest hue. This ingenious twist on a classic noir tale tells the story of Lora King, a schoolteacher, and

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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 22nd 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published February 8th 2005)
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Delee
Aug 02, 2015 Delee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Delee by: Lisa
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
Jan 20, 2013 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
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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Richard Vialet
Almost from the start, Lora King, a Pasadena schoolteacher, thinks that something fishy is going on with her mysterious new sister-in-law. In an effort to protect her pussy-whipped brother, she begins to investigate his wife's secrets, and she finds herself uncovering a world of sex, drugs, and murder.

Given how much I enjoyed the three other books I've read by Megan Abbott, I was surprised with how disappointed I was with this one, her debut novel. I really wanted to like it more than I did, bu
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Eve
Aug 01, 2014 Eve rated it liked it
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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Michelle
Jun 10, 2007 Michelle rated it it was amazing
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.
Tfitoby
Apr 04, 2012 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
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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Josh
Aug 19, 2012 Josh rated it it was amazing
‘...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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Lisa
Sep 19, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
I just loved this 1950's hollywood noir thriller.
The short, fluid paragraphs capture the intensity of the story through Lora our main character whose sheltered life with her brother as companion is being threatened by his new wife Alice an enigmatic character with a shady past.
Lora is simply unable to ignore her instinct that Alice is not playing straight and risks everything to enter a world she doesn't understand to uncover the truth.
Elizabeth
May 04, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
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.
Ed [Redacted]
Jun 12, 2012 Ed [Redacted] rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
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
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Jessica
Sep 13, 2014 Jessica rated it liked it
Recommended to Jessica by: Benjy
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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Shaun
Jan 21, 2016 Shaun rated it really liked it
4.5

There is something about Abbott's writing that I find strongly appealing, and it goes beyond her ability to recreate the perfect 40s/50s crime noir-esque feeling.

This is the third novel I've read by her, the second crime noir, and so far my favorite.

Reading this for me was like reading Shirley Jackson or even Flannery O'Connor. Though stylistically different, all three women had the ability to explore the darker side of human nature in a way that leaves you rooting for the bad guys, or rath
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Gerard Cappa
Mar 08, 2014 Gerard Cappa rated it it was amazing

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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Maddy
Jul 26, 2013 Maddy rated it liked it
Shelves: 2005-reads
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
May 26, 2011 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, usa
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
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Jack Haringa
Feb 10, 2016 Jack Haringa rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
In Megan Abbott's first novel the narrator says, "There is a string I am pulling together, a string of question marks so long they are beginning to clatter against each other, and loudly." It takes the author a good quarter of the book to offer us more than a strand of gossamer to tug on so that we can start to see the noir unraveling hinted at from the start. By halfway through the novel, though, Lora King's world--under the influence of her new sister-in-law--is coming apart with increasing sp ...more
Kit Fox
Jan 14, 2008 Kit Fox rated it really liked it
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
Apr 29, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
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.
Bobbi
Oct 08, 2013 Bobbi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-detective
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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Lynda
Sep 26, 2015 Lynda rated it really liked it
Review to follow.
Paul Eckert
Jul 04, 2011 Paul Eckert rated it really liked it
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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Rosana
Oct 11, 2015 Rosana rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, kindle, female-noir
I just finished reading this, my first Megan Abbott, and it is still running through my veins. I love the thrill of a great book, and this delivered all. It is pulp with literary quality, entertaining with an old 1950’s detective paperback vibe. It fits into this “female noir” category that I am still trying to define for myself, but that I think it is my new love in fiction genre.
Mike Swain
Mar 03, 2014 Mike Swain rated it did not like it
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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Lee Thompson
Feb 25, 2015 Lee Thompson rated it really liked it
Megan Abbott's writing is addictive if you like the feeling of being stuck in someone else's head, in their maddening dream.
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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Tamara Vallejos
Oct 29, 2014 Tamara Vallejos rated it it was ok
Eh. I appreciate what the author was trying to do, because it's something I'd like to try and do someday: capturing that vintage noir feeling somehow. But it just felt like an imitation all along, and a shallow one (press quotes have harped about how this is a very vintage L.A. crime book, but there's zero L.A. about it except for the dropping of the right restaurant names. And it's set in the 1950s but you only know because you're told early on. There's no real sense of place here). And the sty ...more
Constance
Aug 25, 2012 Constance rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 14, 2014 Francis rated it it was amazing
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
Maria Kramer
This book has everything I should love about a book - a film-noir style mystery with femmes fatales aplenty and shadowy motives on all sides. I love Megan Abbott's short stories. I was excited about reading this book. I wanted to like it. Why didn't I like it, dangit?!

It could be because I read this as an audiobook, and the reader's voice - flat, crisp and older-sounding than the protagonist was meant to be - did the story no favors. Also, the audio format meant I couldn't skip over the tedious
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Lotte
May 15, 2016 Lotte rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1
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
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Megan Abbott is the Edgar-winning author of the novels Queenpin, The Song Is You, Die a Little, Bury Me Deep, The End of Everything, Dare Me, and her latest, The Fever, which was chosen as one of the Best Books of the Year by Amazon, National Public Radio, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times.

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, the Los An
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More about Megan Abbott...

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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
“She wasn't just a B-girl, she was carrying the whole ugly world in her eyes.” 0 likes
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