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3.79  ·  Rating details ·  3,938 ratings  ·  438 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 glitterin
Paperback, 180 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by Simon Schuster (first published January 1st 2007)
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Karl Krogmann Megan Abbott has never written a boring word. Not all her novels are set against an historical background, but they're all good. Damn good. …moreMegan Abbott has never written a boring word. Not all her novels are set against an historical background, but they're all good. Damn good. (less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,938 ratings  ·  438 reviews

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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 lollipop 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
Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it

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
Joe Valdez
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-crime
Queenpin, the third novel by Megan Abbott, won a 2008 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original and a 2008 Barry Award for Best Paperback Novel a year after its publication date. "Novel" is as shady a description as some of the characters Abbott describes; I'd be a sucker for thinking more than 50,000 words are expended in this lurid tale of a nightclub bookkeeper who gets more they bargained for when swept under the wing of a cunning gangster. The novelty here is that the bookkeeper and the gangs ...more
Dan Schwent
Dec 18, 2010 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
Aug 04, 2011 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
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018

"Who is she anyhow?" I asked, that first time. "Whose wife?"
"She's no one's wife," Jerome said, shaking his head. "And she's no moll, never was, not even when she was fresh and tight as Kim Novak."
"What's she, some kind of kingpin?"

Sold as a fine example of hardboiled novel from a daring young writer, "Queenpin" is the second novel by Megan Abbott (after "Dare Me") that I expected to enjoy thoroughly yet left me underwhelmed. The premise is good – take the classical plot of a con game where
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
With Archer going noir this season, I'm eager to discover how well my Malory Archer::Queenpin comparison holds up...

Bumping because anyone out there loving You Will Know Me should get to experience Abbott going full-blown noir...
"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, t
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read somewhere that Megan Abbott during her English degree decided to do a paper on the evolution of noir. She does not only write hard boiled fiction but she is apparently an authority on it. So I could not wait to get my hands on. Queenpin, it won an Edgar for Best Paperback. Alas it doesn't justify the hype. Her love for the genre is obvious, her writing can easily pass off as being penned during the halcyon days of pulp. But it is very derivative and cliched.

The nameless hard-boiled protag
Oct 22, 2011 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
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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It didn't hit me until the very end of the book that our heroine was never even given a name. That's because she rules the narrative with her forceful, first-person account of how she went from a pencil-pushing, sweater-wearing 9-to-5er to a "queenpin." I've only read Abbott's young adult novels before this one and one of the things, okay, two of the things, that I've always liked about them are the fiercely intense, fiercely rivalrous h
Aug 15, 2012 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
Aug 01, 2011 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
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Queenpin is the story of a young woman, who remains unnamed throughout, plucked from a two-bit nightclub where she’s cooking the books for a pair of half-wits and placed under the wing of the powerful Gloria Denton, a big player in the world of organized crime. Under Gloria, our narrator develops into a student of the game by dressing the part, living the part and finding the confidence she never knew she had. However, as the old saying goes, nothing gold can stay. She falls in love with a haple ...more
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, historical
It was a soft sell, a long sell. I never knew what she had in mind until I already had such a taste I thought my tongue would never stop buzzing.

There comes a time in every girl's life when she has to finally read her last unread Megan Abbott novel. Now I'm stuck waiting for the next new one like a sucker.

Queenpin is the story of a nameless girl from a square family who climbs willingly and eagerly into a life of easy money and illicit thrills. She's helped along by the glamorous, hard-edged Glo
aPriL does feral sometimes
‘Queenpin’ is dramatic, cruel, and pure 1940’s noir. Have you seen the movies ‘Gun Crazy’ or ‘Out of the Past’? This novel has all of that movie miasma of criminal ambition and lurking betrayal - except the two main characters are women. One, fortyish Gloria Denton, is a ‘made man’ so to speak, and the other, twenty-two-year-old Murray, is her upcoming protege.

We never know Murray’s first name because all of the characters continually call her “baby”, “sugar cake”, “muffin“, “kid”, or “honey”.
May 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, noir
Megan Abbott is my favorite contemporary writer. She writes these entertaining, twisty, slightly noiry novels, and they're good. She writes about gymnasts and cheerleaders and witches and she understands the jungle adolescence is, and how it can be murder in more than one way.

Queenpin was her breakthrough book, and it's different. It's straight noir without a teenager in sight. It's a good time but I honestly don't feel like it stands out as much as her later work does. Abbott's got the language
Jan 08, 2011 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
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
Dec 21, 2009 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
RJ - Slayer of Trolls
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edgar-award
Like a saucy female version of Goodfellas (with less narcotics), Queenpin hits all the major pulp-noir conventions. Abbott spins a tale that's so deliciously trashy you'll want to read it all in one sitting. Sure, it's got some pacing issues, and of course at times it reads like she's trying to use every slang word or phrase from the 50s, but it's so much fun you just won't care. ...more
I took one look at the scantily clothed female on the front cover and nearly returned this book to the library posthaste. The last thing I wanted to spend my Christmas break doing was reading some sexualized story of lust and greed. And you know how these types of books go. The noir genre does not describe women in appropriate terms.
But that wasn't the case here.
This was a crazy, crisp, violent, language-filled feminist thrill ride and I astonished myself by devouring it in one sitting.
Apr 09, 2012 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
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-noir, read-2019

My favorite thing about this book was the language. I never grew tired of the way the author turns a phrase. Loved that the two main characters were female. Can't wait to read more by this author.
Left Coast Justin
Three stars means it was written with average skill for this genre. Not bad, well worth finishing, but I'm unlikely to remember it in a year or seek out more from this author.

The twist on this noir adventure is that the two leads were both women who are tough enough to hold their own through the sleazier parts of Vegas. At least, I think it's Vegas, but the author deliberately removes any clues as to timing and location, and indeed the narrator's name is never revealed. At one point they took a
Kudos, Queenpin re-read, for being the only thing besides Sarah Kendzior's twitter feed to hold my anxious interest during the escalation of our national nightmare. While a fascist buffoon without a mandate stocks his cabinet with Nazi nightmares, each more despotic & xenophobic than the last, it is a relief at least to be able to count on Megan Abbott's crisp, slick noir schtick. She is & always will be the best.

"That wasn't why I wanted him back there, by the jockey quarters. But once I was th
Sep 10, 2008 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
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read some of Megan Abbott's stuff before and really liked it. And then I read QUEENPIN and thought, "Oh my God, this gal can really do noir. She's like a female Raymond Chandler." This is one of those books I hated life for intruding and forcing me to put down. I savored every hard-boiled word, every tough and muscular description, rooting for the long odds of a happy ending. I can't wait to read more Megan Abbott, especially in the vein. ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I find a new writer I like, I keep reading.
Finished Megan Abbott's "The Song is You" and picked up the next one.

Abbott creates wonderful characters; the un-named main character narrator and her mentor Gloria Denton are wonderful together.
May 16, 2016 added it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Two sharp, claws-out, vicious ladies working the seedy grounds of Somewhere, America, moving products and making bank. It all goes south with a raw deal, and from there, it's a race to see which lady comes out on top.

This noir read was fast and far less about the plot (like all of the moving stuff doesn't ever get developed because IT DOESN'T MATTER) and far more about two raw, teeth-baring, brazen women striking deals. I loved the twist at the end so very much. I loved the way these were no exc
Ed [Redacted]
Jul 22, 2012 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
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Pulp Fiction: February 2018 - Queenpin 42 49 Mar 12, 2018 07:04AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #12 Queenpin by Megan Abbott 1 4 Jan 23, 2016 12:10PM  

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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, You Will Know Me and Give Me Your Hand.

Abbott is co-showrunner, writer and executive producer of DARE ME, the TV show adapated from her novel. She was also a staff writer on HBO's THE DEUCE. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, th

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