Queenpin
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Queenpin

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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,217 ratings  ·  201 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 protege the ropes, ushering her into a glittering d...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2007)
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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 Noir
63rd out of 497 books — 513 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 LarssonThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Best Literary Mysteries
276th out of 580 books — 1,443 voters


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Community Reviews

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karen
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...more
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...more
Dan Schwent
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...more
Killer Rabbit
Hard Core Chick Noir
I wasn't going to write a review because this story hit too close to my ancestral universe. But that decision has been chapping my brain, so I'm gonna come (mostly) clean...

Gloria Denton reminds me of my Gma, who was the daughter of a Prohibition bootlegger. So I totally loved that character. (Looking back, I laugh that my Gma bought her grandkids a play roulette wheel. At the time, I dopily thought it was a neat tool that was intended to teach us probability theory.)

Back to...more
Kemper
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...more
Greg
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
"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 jus...more
Robert
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...more
F.R.
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...more
Steve
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
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...more
Judith


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...more
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
[Redacted]
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
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
Andy
Sep 10, 2008 Andy rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
Amy
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
Bobbi
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.
Greg Bates
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
Johnny
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.
K
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...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
Amanda Birdwell
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...more
Elle!
A bunch of old time jargon compacted into a novel...And not the good kind either...

Quotes from Queenpin that I wanted to burn:


"She knew everybody and everybody knew her and she plucked me out of that two-bit hootchy-kootch and put me on a big stage, footlights up my dress (p.6)

""I wanted to take it in, her whole set up. The half moon manicured nails, pale green suit and hat, the pearl-ring brooch. Class. No gun moll, she. (p.7)

"Sure, I left feeling like I'd won something big, slid out from some
...more
Alecia
This is the third Megan Abbott book I've read, and all I can say is...keep 'em coming. Her period noir novels have a hard-boiled narration by a woman in a world usually populated by men. Women are usually the peripheral characters, but not in these books. Here the women are the stars of this down and dirty show, and the men are peripheral. The dialogue is snappy and the "broads" are tough. The young woman who is narrating this story is taken under the wing of Gloria Denton, a former showgirl (wi...more
Helen
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.
Rebecca Martin
Megan Abbott does steamy, complicated female undercurrents better than anyone else I've read with the single exception of Sarah Waters. It's hard to call Queenpin "neo-noir" because this is old-fashioned NOIR, it's not "neo" anything unless we want to call it that because she's concentrating on the twisty, dark relationships among women rather than men. Hmm, it's interesting to consider who exactly is the femme fatale in this novel. For readers who like their noir, this is it. I read this book i...more
Christopher
Hard-boiled/noir fiction featuring women's perspectives. Very solid story-telling keeps you guessing about how things will turn out, and I find it hard to say much without giving it away. There aren't any mind-blowing twists, though--just human relationships being pulled taut, making you wonder if, when, and how they'll break. Thematically, there's plenty to think about too.
Jake
A pretty solid little slice of noir, with good characters and good dialogue. Gives the reader exactly what they expect, no more no less. I've been putting off reading more Meg Abbott for a while now. Starting to realize that's a big mistake. When I get back into a noir/hard-boiled phase, she'll be high on my list.
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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...more
More about Megan Abbott...
Dare Me The Fever The End of Everything Die a Little Bury Me Deep

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“You have to decide who you are, little girl, she told me once. Once you know that, everyone else will too.” 8 likes
“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.” 6 likes
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