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Queenpin

by
3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,902 Ratings  ·  261 Reviews
By the author of Dare Me and The End of Everything

A young woman hired to keep the books at a down-at-the-heels nightclub is taken under the wing of the infamous Gloria Denton, a mob luminary who reigned during the Golden Era of Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano. Notoriously cunning and ruthless, Gloria shows her eager young protégée the ropes, ushering her into a glittering
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Paperback, 180 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2007)
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Reader Q&A

The Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell HammettThe Long Goodbye by Raymond ChandlerFarewell, My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerThe Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Best Hardboiled PI & Noir
83rd out of 522 books — 633 voters
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg LarssonAnd Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Best Literary Mysteries
403rd out of 1,048 books — 2,295 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
Feb 08, 2012 karen rated it really liked it
grrrl-noir!

megan freaking abbott - i knew i wanted to read you for a reason! and before you ask - noooo this is most definitely not YA, despite my vow to only read YA until the paper is due. but greg borrowed this from the library, and i really wanted to read it, so i borrowed it from him and here we are. do not give this to a teenage girl. it would be disastrous.

this book is old school noir written with a contemporary sensibility: all the trappings are there in the lingo and the characters' cos
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Delee

4.5

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Fan-frigging-tastic!

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When the unnamed narrator- a young woman in her 20's- first sees Gloria Denton, her initial impression is...

I want the legs

...but really- she wants just about everything Gloria has, and lucky for her- Gloria is willing to teach the little lollypop everything she knows.

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Gloria Denton is a legend. She knows everybody who is anybody in the Las Vegas world of organised crime, and while making her rounds- Gloria spots our young protagonist working at The TEE HEE bar and betting
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Dan Schwent
Jun 16, 2011 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
A young woman working as an accountant at a nightclub is taken under the wing of Gloria Denton, a cunning and ruthless mob woman. While Gloria teaches her the ropes, she falls in love with a gambler named Vic. Vic's heavily in debt and has a plan: rip off Gloria Denton!

Megan Abbott knows how to noir it up with the best of them. Queenpin is a twisting tale with a lot of double dealing. The nameless protagonist goes from being an accountant to a runner and beyond. Once the attempt to rip Gloria of
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Kemper
Jul 12, 2012 Kemper rated it really liked it
This is the second book I’ve read by Megan Abbott, and she can go ahead and sign me up as member of her fan club.

Set back in the good old days when people still smoked and took a shot a rye every twenty minutes, the unnamed narrator is a young woman who is keeping the books for a small time shady night club. After she helps the owners do some creative Enron-style accounting, she comes to the attention of Gloria Denton.

Gloria is an aging but gorgeous woman who helps manage the rackets in town, an
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Greg
Nov 06, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it
This has been one of the stand-outs in my recent foray into crime fiction. There is nothing necessarily about it this book that really stands out, it's just so smoothly executed that it was a pleasure to read. There was nothing cringe inducing here, the dialogue was stylized enough to hark back to the hard-boiled / noir of the 40's / 50's without falling into parody or made to feel strained. Even though I've read a slew of crime novels lately, and had read some before this past month I still don ...more
Mara
Aug 18, 2014 Mara rated it really liked it
"She knew how to end things. She knew how to make it so you'd never forget. Never shake the sight of her in full dark bloom. She was an artist."
That's you, Megan Abbott — that "she" you're describing is you in all of your manipulative, terrible, chill-inducing, wonderful glory.

There aren't so many characters out there like the one's you'll meet in this book. Abbott's Queenpin isn't what she is in spite of being a woman, nor did she sleep her way to the top — nobody gets where she is
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F.R.
Mar 19, 2015 F.R. rated it really liked it
Megan Abbott’s thing is 1950’s noirs with a female twist, and this is the best one I’ve read so far. A young woman is taken under the wing of an older, experienced dame and taught the ropes in making pick-ups from casinos and operating smoothly in a tough world. Within weeks she’s addicted to the seedy thrills and the danger of it all, and absolutely worships her mentor, but then she meets the wrong man...

Abbott’s fiddling with the gender of the form really pays dividends in this novel. We’re of
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Robert
May 02, 2014 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: robert-s-reads
QUEENPIN was my first introduction to Megan Abbott, based on a Kemper review of said author, not said novel, but it certainly won’t be my last. The voice carried me like a tumbleweed in the middle of New Mexico. It sang like a blue canary in the middle of spring. It had heart, promise…Well, you get the idea.

The unnamed narrator proved every bit as powerful as she did mysterious. She jumped up on stage, fully exposed, front and center, with hardly a stitch on her, and proceeded to take on all com
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Judith
Dec 28, 2009 Judith rated it it was amazing


Once again, i met up with Ms Abbott...and was TKOd right out of the box....but it didn't hurt, not one bit. The narrative tension...the period detail..the cold-as-ice women and wastrel men...the broken bones...the blood..the mayhem...the "heat"....are all here in spades. Three times lucky, i guess.

A crash course in Grifting 101, under the tutelage of the legendary Gloria Denton, leaves our wide-eyed heroine bewitched, bothered, and bewildered...and craving the ever-elusive MORE. Things go seriou
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Steve
Jan 11, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it
Very well done noir set in the fifties, with an unnamed bad girl learning the criminal ropes under the tutelage of Gloria Denton, the "Queenpin." To be honest, other than making some deliveries to various shady places, I was never all that sure just what the younger woman was doing. But that's entirely secondary, since what's good about this novel is its razor sharp dialogue, a great cast of noirish characters, and its period atmosphere. So good in fact that earlier on I was considering giving t ...more
Tfitoby
Apr 10, 2012 Tfitoby rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-as-night
Two books in to Megan Abbott territory and I think I'm in love. Her stuff feels comfortable, like an old friend is chatting away non-stop but instead of boyfriends and work and kids this friend is casually telling you about the guy she killed or how the Grande Dame of organised crime in your town has taken her under her wing, pulling no punches along the way in terms of explicit description of severed arteries and rough sex.

How can you not love that?

As I said after Die a Little recently, I could
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Richard Vialet
It's always exciting discovering a new author, whose work I can't wait to dive into more. It's great reading a pulp noir novel from a woman's perspective (with a man as the "femme fatale" no less! ha!) and written with the same tough talk of some of the hard-boiled classics. In the book, a young, bright-eyed club bookkeeper finds herself living the good life after she becomes the protégé of an aging but still glamorous (and still ruthless) mob queen. She might lose everything after breaking the ...more
Andy
Sep 10, 2008 Andy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: "Sexy Beast" fans
Shelves: pulp-fiction
Damn, what a book. If Megan Abbott isn't the hottest noir author alive then nobody is. A fried old mafia cougar takes on some wet-nosed club girl and teaches her the ropes of grifting. The little chippie's an eager student in crime until she falls for a low-life gambler.

Sample line: "One night, he ripped my $350 faille day suit from collar to skirt in one long tear. Fuck me, I was in love."

The hag blows her cool by hacking him to death with a letter opener. Double cross upon double cross unfolds
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Ed [Redacted]
Jul 24, 2012 Ed [Redacted] rated it really liked it
Jesus this book was pretty freaking good in the end. Once again I was soooooo bored in the beginning of this book as Abbott once again took her sweet time getting the story going. But when the story got going? Ho Lee Shit can she write. I wish on a stack of wish-bibles or whatever that she would get to the goddamned point early on in a book so that I could just groove on the awesomeness that is Megan Abbott. When she gets a head of steam she is about the best thing going in retro noir fiction. I ...more
Travis
Nov 16, 2009 Travis rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
I don't know if reading, briefly, the reviews of others helps or hurts my review. One thing I found that I didn't like was dismissing Megan Abbott, the author, or labeling her because she is a woman. Yes she is female and yes she is crime writer. She isn't good because she is a woman and she isn't good for a woman and she doesn't write woman crime. She is a good writer that can pull experiences and ideas based around being a woman, a human, and creative. What I liked most about Queenpin and Mega ...more
Amy
May 16, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: boozy-reviews
Wow. Folks, I've got a little gem for you here. Megan Abbott has written a perfectly dark, delightful hard-boiled noir novel with the female perspective that was so often missing from noir fiction of the era. It's one of those short but utterly transporting books that you'll want to read all in one go--in fact, it would be perfect for a train trip, an afternoon at the beach, or--don't we wish we had more of these moments in our lives--some night when the power goes out just after dinner and ther ...more
Book Riot Community
You may have read some of Megan Abbott’s recent books- she’s made waves with books about teenage girls gone bad like The Fever and Dare Me. But before she wrote these, she wrote old-school pulpy novels, including Queenpin. This is definitely not an homage to noir, this is noir going at full tilt. It’s set in the same time period as most noir, the ’40s and ’50s, and it’s a journey deep into the underworld of organized crime. But Queenpin qualifies as neo-noir because Abbott makes this a female-ce ...more
Bobbi
Sep 22, 2013 Bobbi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-detective
Tightly written, spare but vivid, raw and gritty and still glittering and oh-so shiny. Not a word or action out of place or wasted. This book is a beautiful, dark thing to be coveted, passed around, and declared a classic.
Alan Chen
Jan 01, 2015 Alan Chen rated it really liked it
This novel is pulp at its best. While the story is not new, except perhaps with female leads, it is fast moving with quick hard-boiled one liners. Story takes place in the 40s. Protagonist is working as a bookkeeper when she gets selected to be the protege of Gloria Detton a legendary mafioso in the numbers racket. Her head for numbers allows her to be perfect for placing bets, making odds, and collecting vig. Everything goes well until she falls for someone she shouldn't. While this book is not ...more
William Johnson
A role-reversal noir thriller in which women are the forefront. The name of the book, plus the very pulpy cover, might betray this as a trashy story but it is anything but. It is showing noir from the female perspective and, thanks to a male-dominated genre in which we focus on how its 'just like the guy stuff, but with chicks', it is simply just a fact, not the selling point (nor should it be). The main characters are women … this should be normal, not surprising yet, it still kind of is. I cha ...more
Greg Bates
Sep 14, 2013 Greg Bates rated it really liked it
Megan Abbott wasn't on my radar before, but I'm certainly searching out the rest of her bibliography now - like the nameless protagonist of Queenpin, I want more. Her female-fronted approach puts the reader right in the smoky, gin-soaked nucleus of noir without the requisite misogyny and flat characters, and gives her the ability to write absolutely smoking hot sex from the female perspective with nary a 'heaving bosom' or 'turgid member' (romance novelists with your well-word notebooks of chees ...more
bookczuk
Raymond Chandler, move over. There's a new girl in town. Megan Abbott's Queenpin dives into that shadowy underbelly of society where the gamblers and thugs live to bring us the story of a young club-girl (unnamed) who finds herself being groomed for greatness by the Queenpin herself in a mafia riddled strip. Here, the women are the central focus, and the men more peripheral. But make no mistake, the novel is both gritty and sharp, with violence and sexual tension thrown in. And what happens when ...more
Jean
Dec 15, 2014 Jean rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
The perfect noir. Very smart and very unpleasant.
Álvaro Arbonés
Existe en el noir cierta facilidad congénita para construir personajes que trasciendan las formas clásicas. Con una profundidad psicológica más acuciada que el grueso de otros géneros considerados más nobles, quienes habitan en los mundos de la novela negra suelen acabar, mal que bien, siendo carne de psicólogo; su representación del comportamiento humano en circunstancias extremas, durante siglos, ha servido para que la comunidad científica estudie, desde el papel, lo que no ha podido o sabido ...more
Helen
Jul 08, 2014 Helen rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is a little noir gem, a short (180 pages) visit to the world of 1950s mobsters. First person account of a Catholic good girl who does the books for a shady nightclub and gets recruited as a bag woman, delivering cash, jewels, betting slips, etc. Lots about the allure of riches and excitement and about her relationships with her female mentor and her gambler boyfriend. A grisly murder and plenty of suspense add spice. The writing style conveys that hardboiled aura.
Johnny
Feb 04, 2011 Johnny rated it really liked it
While most people will immediately recognize Megan Abbott for her prose, which is everything that everyone says, beautiful, rhythmic and all her own, it is the story that holds it together. The not-so-simple relationship of two women and their navigation through the underworld.

The story has the feel of an old Gold Medal paperback, but the telling elevates it beyond that.

Well-paced and original, a very fun read.
Erin (Paperbackstash) *Proud Book Hoarder*
Didnt care much for the first half but enjoyed the second part more. The character wasn't that likeable and I couldn't really relate to anyone in the book, so little emotional investment. An odd story.
Liz
Mar 25, 2015 Liz rated it really liked it
My first noir. What a fun read! A first person narrator who reveals and conceals within a setting boiling with crime and big talk. A young accountant is hand picked by Queenpin Gloria Denton to run errands for her in her web of "pickups" and "drop offs". The protege tells this tale of her rise out of innocence in a world where being hard and quick thinking pays off--or does it? For me, alliance with the narrator was primarily built through her smart, slanted descriptions of people and places. Fo ...more
K
Jul 12, 2014 K rated it really liked it
Well, there I was at the beach, trying to read Christopher Hitchens but feeling like I really needed a break from taxing my brain. I guess I had anticipated that feeling, because this book had just come through for me at the library and I had made sure it was in my beach bag.

Okay, let's get past the cover (good thing my kids aren't home), which I felt was unnecessarily lurid. This book was actually a decent read, although it was a departure from my comfort zone in a lot of ways. And the content
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Amanda Birdwell
Dec 06, 2009 Amanda Birdwell rated it it was ok
Man, I just... don't know. I felt like I was reading this as some sort of self-conscious exercise in irony. That, or that I was preparing for an interview with Diablo Cody.

I understand that I occupy this space that makes it kind of impossible for me to be hip: anxiety-prone, A-type, born-again, childless, married, un-ambitious homebody. And nobody will ever think that I am cool again. I get that. It's fine. But it has left me singularly impatient with the whole High Fidelity doctrine that what
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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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“Because she was solid gold, fourteen-carat, barely burnished despite twenty years of hard molling. But beneath it, I knew, beneath that gold and stardust, she was all grit and sharp teeth gnashing, head twisting, talons out, tearing flesh. She was all open mouth, tunneling into an awful nothing.” 10 likes
“You have to decide who you are, little girl, she told me once. Once you know that, everyone else will too.” 9 likes
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