cover image Queenpin


Megan Abbott, . . Simon & Schuster, $13 (180pp) ISBN 978-1-4165-3428-0

Edgar-finalist Abbott (Die a Little) delivers a sharp, slender, hardboiled tale of a protégé’s schooling by a notorious, been-there-done-that moll. The first time the unnamed 22-year-old female narrator lays eyes on Gloria Denton, her first thought is “I want the legs.” The setting is the Club Tee Hee, an indeterminate Las Vegas–L.A. nowhere where “the kid” is doing the mobbed-up books, and Gloria comes in every few weeks to count “Jerome’s vig.” The kid absorbs very entertaining lessons in how to dress, move, behave, and how to pick up, transport and distribute payoffs and winnings—until she falls for sweet-talking gambler Vic Riordan. Abbott is pitch-perfect throughout: Gloria Denton, still turning heads in her 40s, is as hard a moll as any, and the kid is a beautiful combination of foil and tool as she strives to emulate her role model. The collision, violent and inevitable, rips away the facade of glitz and glamour, and leaves their low-end edifice starkly exposed. (June)