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Red Room Lounge

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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,781 Ratings  ·  224 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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Delee
Jan 12, 2014 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...

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Lora King- a straight-laced school teacher, and her doting brother Bill- a ju
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Kemper
Megan Abbott’s first novel is a nifty little noir set in post-war LA. School teacher Lora King is extremely close to her brother Bill who is a police detective. When Bill meets Alice Steele he falls head over heels for her, and the two are soon married. Alice shows a tireless energy and enthusiasm for life as a homemaker that would make Martha Stewart feel like a lazy slob, but Lora finds herself becoming suspicious of her new sister-in-law after getting clues indicating that she had a shady pas ...more
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
...more
Richard
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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F.R.
Nov 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a hell of a debut for Megan Abbott: a female led mystery in 1940’s Hollywood with a distinctly unreliable narrator.

There’s murder, a femme-fatale and a too trusting dope of a man. But it feels like Abbott is referencing women’s films of the 1940s, as much as she is standard noir. As if she spent many an hour watching and re-watching Joan Crawford as MILDRED PIERCE, just so she could get the perfect balance between vulnerability and steel.

The plot finds a policeman, Bill, meeting cute with a
...more
Michelle
Jun 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Tfitoby
Mar 16, 2012 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
...more
Eve
May 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  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
...more
Josh
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘...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
...more
Lisa
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jessica
Sep 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Elizabeth
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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]
May 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Shaun
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Maddy
Aug 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Gerard Cappa
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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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Karen
May 26, 2011 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
...more
Kit Fox
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jack Haringa
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bobbi
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lynda
Review to follow.
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
...more
Paul Eckert
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Mike Swain
Mar 03, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Rosana
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lee Thompson
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Megan Abbott's writing is addictive if you like the feeling of being stuck in someone else's head, in their maddening dream.
William Johnson
"There's no darker story than that, as far as she goes. It was one long suicide".

I first came upon Megan Abbott many years ago when I was looking to expand my crime/noir library and found her early novels advertised as hardboiled paperbacks you'd find at the five and dime back in the day. So successful was the advertising that I assumed Ms. Abbott was an actual author from the '40s or '50s. But I was pleased to learn that Ms. Abbott was a throwback artist, writing and presenting good, old fashio
...more
Tamara Vallejos
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
Lynn
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Megan Abbott is the Edgar®-winning author of the novels Die a Little, Queenpin, The Song Is You, Bury Me Deep, The End of Everything, Dare Me, The Fever and You Will Know Me. Her next book, Give Me Your Hand, will be published in July 2018.

Abbott is a staff writer on HBO's THE DEUCE. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Magaz
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More about Megan Abbott...
“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.” 2 likes
More quotes…